Auckland is consistently ranked in the top 10 most liveable cities in the world, and for good reason; it is a melting pot of cultures that thrive in an urban environment built astride a dormant volcanic field, hemmed in by two harbours, basking in a sunny climate, and fuelled by the outstanding food and world class wine that abounds. Less than two hours drive from the heart of Auckland is the Coromandel peninsula, the perfect antithesis to the city, and a place where Kiwis in the know head to get away from it all.

Auckland’s setting is irresistible. Framed in all directions by vastly different landscapes it provides the perfect base to explore. To the west the Waitakere Ranges stand sentinel over the city and the mighty black sand surf beaches of the Tasman Sea allow surfers to test their mettle; to the east is the gentle lapping of the Hauraki Gulf, strewn with beautiful islands. Day trips to climb the latest addition to the volcanic vista, Rangitoto Island or sup sensational wine on Waiheke Island are favourite past times with locals and not to be missed. And once you’ve finished exploring you can settle into the rhythm of an inner city suburb to while away the time at a quirky café, local restaurant, or find yourself lost in thought at one of the many art galleries or hidden markets that make up the tapestry of life in Auckland.

It’s hard to overstate the beauty on offer on the Coromandel peninsula; and it almost seems unfair that Mother Nature has provided the locals not only with a world-class city but an outdoor playground to escape to. With over 400km of pristine beaches there is something for everyone, and once you have had your fill of the beach why not take in a walk through the rugged interior, draped in lush native rainforest; explore rustic, unspoiled towns or hop on a fishing charter to try your luck? Whatever you make your Coromandel to be it will provide memories that will linger long into the sunset.