Stretching out into the Pacific both to the north and to the east, this sprawling region encompasses unspoiled landscapes flanked by some of New Zealand’s finest coastal scenery. Aucklanders flock to the local beaches to enjoy the sun, surf and sand, and to relax into the region’s laid-back lifestyle.
During the spring much of the bush is set ablaze with the vivid red bloom of the native pohutukawa trees, which, set against the rich green of the forest, the deep blue of the ocean and the endless golden sands, provide a spectacle of colour.
The communities here are as colourful as their landscapes, and many retain a very strong Maori culture: there are some fantastic examples of Maori carvings, marae and intricately decorated churches dotted along the main roads.
Vineyards and local life
This is a richly fertile region, producing vast quantities of New Zealand’s fruit and encompassing its oldest wine-growing industry, which now enjoys international acclaim. Townships vary from lively holiday resorts to the sleepy remnants of gold-mining settlements and impressive Spanish Mission and art deco creations.
There is plenty here to entertain the mind, as well as ample opportunity to relax and soak up some of the many hours of sun this region enjoys.