Off the beaten Auckland path: 5 things to seek out

A short drive out of Auckland will take you into lush forest - what surprises await?

When you arrive to begin your studies in Auckland, you'll doubtless have some sort of an idea of what to see and do. The Sky Tower, Rangitoto island and  Auckland Domain all feature highly in most travel guides, but once you have explored these iconic features of the city's landscape, what have you to see next?

The good news is that Auckland is a place full of hidden wonders, and you don't have to venture very far to find them. When taking a break from your studies and at a loose end in the city, why not head out to one of these five hidden treats?

Rotoroa Island

No, we're not talking about the awesome geothermal city that's a few hours drive from Auckland (thought that place is pretty cool and definitely worth a visit) – aside from the slight change in spelling, Rotoroa Island is a former rehabilitation retreat that has opened its doors to the public for the first time in over a century. What's there now? Aside from an exhibition centre and museum designed to tell the fixating story of the island's past, there is also a chapel, school and jail. Be sure to pack a picnic to enjoy on one of the island's four shimmering beaches. It's just a short ferry ride from central Auckland.  

Rotoroa Island is a former rehabilitation retreat that has opened its doors to the public for the first time in over a century.

Kaitoke Hot Springs

Even though being a student in Auckland is a fantastic experience, we know that keeping on top of your studies can get a little stressful from time to time. What better way to unwind than by taking a dip in the waters of Kaitoke Hot Springs? By taking a ferry to nearby Great Barrier Island, you can enjoy a scenic walk through the native forest, one that is alive with wildlife. When you reach the pools themselves, step right in and let the naturally heated waters unravel the knots – bliss. 

A photo posted by Rowena Stevenson (@cakeweasel) on

Lake Wainamu

The black sand beauty of Lake Wainamu remains largely untouched by Aucklanders, but we can't really fathom why. After all, it's just a short drive west out of the city centre, and is surrounded by hectare upon hectare of beautiful native bush. The lake itself is just a fantastic place to hang out with a few friends, so bring along a picnic and relax along Wainamu's peaceful, lapping shore. Swimming is also popular in the lake, so don't forget your togs. One little word of warning – that black sand can get a bit toasty in the summer, so remember to bring your jandals if you don't want to burn your feet!   

Chancery Square

What is Chancery Square all about? Well, it's a chance (see what we did there?) to take a break from the buzzing streets of Auckland and lose yourself in a delightful shopping Mecca without the usual attendant crowds. Chancery Square has the the feel of a traditional English market town, with cobbled paths winding their way into rustic chic, boutique shops. Start your day with a wonderful deconstructed latte from the range of specialist coffee shops, before embarking on a little retail therapy in this superb hidden corner of the city.

Eden Garden takes the form of fantastically kept sanctuary that's home to a broad range of plants and shrubs.

Eden Garden

Another awesome place to take a little time out from the day-to-day of your studies, Eden Garden – fittingly found on Mount Eden itself – takes the form of a fantastically kept sanctuary that's home to a broad range of plants and shrubs. Birds twitter and flutter among the branches, and there are even natural rock waterfalls cascading down the mountain's slopes. A fine excursion to take, found in the heart of the city, Eden Garden is a great way to spend a lazy Sunday afternoon.

To find out more about studying in Auckland with AIS, be sure to contact our friendly team for an informal chat.