Easter is New Zealand’s longest weekend – four full days when Kiwis are free to do whatever we want. If you’re anything like us, you’ll be out on the water catching fish, relaxing and exploring the country’s most beautiful coastal locations.
To get you thinking we’ve put together three perfect long weekend trips including some of our favourite locations near Auckland.
RUGGED BEAUTY AND FISHING AT GREAT BARRIER
Great Barrier is a remote island about 100 km from Auckland Harbour that’s known for its stunning white sand beaches and excellent fishing. It takes about four to five hours to get here from central Auckland so knock off work early on Thursday to make sure you can arrive before the sun sets. The water along the way can get rough but capable GRP boats like the Rayglass 3500 and Legend Range will make the trip easy and comfortable.
When you arrive, head straight to Fitzroy Harbour to anchor for the night. Located midway along the island’s sheltered western side, this spot is sheltered and calm in almost any weather and the water is reasonably deep with a muddy bottom that’s ideal for anchoring. If you’re brave enough to get in the water, swimming to the white sand beach at the base of the harbour is a great way to wake up on a Friday morning.
Not keen on swimming? Pull up your anchor and experience the fishing on the island’s eastern side. Tryphena, Whangapapara Harbour and Port Abercrombie are all great places to start, with beautiful scenery, sheltered waters and abundant sea life – you’re almost guaranteed to pull up a boatload of snapper.
WHITE SAND BEACHES AND SUNSHINE AT COROMANDEL
If you’re after white sand beaches, postcard-perfect vistas and warm waters, head south to the Coromandel Peninsula after some time exploring Great Barrier. This sea between the island and the peninsula can be rough so only attempt this if the weather is fine.
Squadron Bay in Te Kouma Harbour is one of the most popular overnight anchorages in the area, as it’s sheltered in most weather. The shore side of Whanganui harbour is another great option, with some of the area’s best fishing and most pristine beaches.
INTREPID ADVENTURE AT THE MERCURY ISLANDS
After some R & R around the Coromandel, get off the beaten track and explore the Mercury Islands – a collection of seven small volcanic land masses east of Optio Bay. This little cluster of islands is part of one of the most pristine nature reserves in the country and has been pest-free since 2014 so landing your boat ashore is prohibited. However, you can go ashore in a tender to check out the beaches and bush walks on the largest island – Great Mercury Island – just be sure to check for signs of pests before heading in.
If you’re keen to reel in something big, drop a line and a soft bait on the east side of Great Mercury or Red Island, both of which are known for great fishing. Bring your dive gear and try diving in the sheltered coves of Huruhi Harbour and Bumper Cove which are often packed with fat scallops, perfect for frying up fresh for dinner on your Rayglass’s onboard barbeque.
Another great spot to check out is Never Fail Rock, a pinnacle that’s known as a great diving spot that often hosts schools of kahawai, blue mao mao and the occasional kingfish.
Where are you planning to explore this long weekend? Comment below and let us know or drop into the Rayglass showroom in Mt Wellington any time to talk boating.