Itinerary 1

First stop Huapai. Start the day with a delicious brunch at Meus Cafe.

After brunch blow the cobwebs out at the Gannet Colony in Muriwai wander down the hill to the jet black sands of Muriwai beach for a relaxed wander.

Following this, pop back into Waimauku and head out to The Hunting Lodge. Settle in for a glass of wine and a long lunch and while away an hour or two in either of these relaxing settings (around 5 minutes from Waimauku) .

After lunch, head up to Helensville. There's a couple of Heritage trails of historical buildings such as the courthouse and an Edwardian cottage, get details at the Helensville Museum just as you drive into the town. This can be walked or driven depending on your level of fitness (approx 15 minutes from Kumeu).

Your feet will need a rest after all that pottering and there is a particularly wonderful option as you drive back towards the city stopping off at Riverhead. The highly-awarded Landing Restaurant at The Riverhead. This historic venue is the actual building that the early pioneers passed through when they first arrived to the area by steamer, before roads or railway. Pop in for a glass of wine and platter or more while enjoying the stunning views from their large decks, shaded by 100 year old oak trees.

Itinerary 2

Just 40 minutes out of the central city, on the eastern side of the Kaipara Harbour are some true hidden gems. If you drive up SH16 past Kaukaupakaupa you'll come to a sign which says Omeru Scenic Reserve. Park your car near the sign and walk down to a series of streams and small but very picturesque waterfalls. It's a magical spot and makes for a lovely walk (take decent shoes).

Once you've had a good walk around, grab a coffee at Kaipara Coast Sculpture Gardens before you embark on the 1 km trail of 60 sculptures by New Zealand artists. You can even pick up some plants at the nursery if your garden is in need.

All of this is bound to make you hungry so drive back towards the city, stopping at the highly awarded Tasting Shed restaurant in Kumeu and pass a leisurely afternoon with some innovative and utterly delicious food (approx 25 minutes from Kaipara Coast Sculpture Garden).

Wind your way back home, gathering everything you need for a lovely dinner at your place. Boric Food Market is like an enormous Farro Fresh or Nosh in the countryside and you'll love their produce and gourmet cheese and cured meats. Pick up some wine from Coopers CreekKumeu River or Soljans (would be rude not to do a tasting on the way).