Natural New Zealand, just a short ride from the city

Auckland West is known for its thriving vineyards and tempestuous black sand beaches set amid the rocky Waitakere Ranges. Surfers can catch some of the country’s best breaks at beautiful Piha and Muriwai, where the waves roll in along the sweeping black volcanic sands, while nature lovers can bask in the sunlight at the base of a rushing waterfall, or during the summer, watch the comings and goings at Muriwai's rare mainland gannet colony.

Bush excursions and outdoor adventure

Walkers are spoilt for choice with a huge network of walking trails in the Waitakere Ranges. Talk to an expert at the Arataki Visitor Centre for recommendations on track conditions, weather or tides. You’ll be treated to stunning native bush, towering trees and superb coastal views. 

For fun that suits the whole family, book ahead and pack a picnic for a ride on the Rainforest Express or the Waitakere Tramline, two narrow-gauge railways that ply the hillsides in the Waitakere Ranges. Both journeys run through spectacular natural bush, taking you through tunnels, overbridges and viaducts, with a chance to see glow worms and cave wetas, as well as some great views.

If you're seeking a fast-paced adventure, try a quad bike safari in the bush or on the beach. For two-wheel enthusiasts, the trails near Riverhead are popular with mountain bikers and trail motor bike riders. For a real off-road adventure, take to the skies and throw yourself out of a perfectly good airplane, skydiving with a view of Auckland's Sky Tower in the distance.

Wine touring and leisure activities

Croatian immigrants began growing grapes in this area in the early 1900s. That tradition has now grown into an established industry around Kumeu and the Waimauku Valley, and there are some fine wines and fresh orchard produce to enjoy. Whether you are on a wine tour or driving yourself, don't miss the chance to taste some of Auckland West's award-winning wines.

Venture a little ways north to historic Helensville, with its antique stores and village charm. Enjoy horse riding or walking in the peaceful farmland near town, or head to nearby Parakai for a soak in hot thermal pools. Other activities in Auckland West include golfing, museums and dining at unique seasonal cafes.