When most people come to Auckland they tend to stay around the city itself and do a city tour, choosing some traditional tourist places to visit like One Tree Hill, Mt Eden, the Auckland Skytower and the fantastic Auckland Museum. Don't get me wrong, all these places are well worth a visit but there are lots of places around the outskirts of Auckland that have fabulous views and they're really worth visiting too.
In the west of Auckland, you can find a region called the Waitakere Ranges, which is a wonderful area to explore. Last Saturday, I went hiking in Whatipu which is found in the Waitakere Ranges Regional Park. It takes about 45 minutes to drive to Whatipu from Auckland city centre. Waitakere is one of the two largest native forest areas in the Auckland Region. The area is renowned for its natural beauty, a place where you can walk in the rainforest accompanied by the songs of New Zealands native birds.
The Waitakere Ranges Regional Park includes more than 16,000 hectares of native rainforest and coastline. There are 250km of walking and tramping tracks to choose from that give you the chance to see some pretty amazing scenery... from waterfalls, to beaches, to farms and some 'rocky outcrops'. Waitakere is named after a rock which is located in the small bay in the north of the river that flows out from Bethells Beach.
The different walking and tramping tracks vary in length from just 30 minutes up to 3 hours. Each track has something different to offer, so do a bit of research about what you want to see before you head off.
The track where I did hiking is around the Whatipu area which takes almost 3 hours. It was a really nice day for hiking too. The whole track is near the sea so the view is really beautiful. I have not done a lot of hiking before, so I was a bit scared about whether I could complete it.
In total I climbed two hills. It was quite hard to climb since there is no road, you need to find a good way to go and some of the paths are covered by tree roots and sand. But when I reached the top of the first hill and saw how fabulous the view is, I found it is really worth trying hard.
When I stood on the top of the hill, I saw extremely green water surrounded by green plants. and it was amazing how blue the sky was.
After 3 hours hiking, which is a good work out, we had a well earned picnic on the grass and had a rest. Afterwards, we went to the beach close by. The sand here is black and shining like there are diamonds in it.
Imagine you stand on the black sand beach and it is shining under the sunshine, how wonderful this feeling is. Chill out on the beach, feel the wind blow on your face gently, hear the waves pat the beach rhythmically...
I want to stay here forever!