NZ Lifestyle Magazine Group
should be considered one of the best city beaches in the world. The stretch of golden sand is about 1km long and slopes gently into the ocean. Sheltered from giant swells, its tidal waters warm quickly in the summer. It is also only 10 minutes from the CBD and, while the water doesn't boast much surf, its sprawling playground and various attractions, including a fun park, are a hit with most travelers. When it is blustery, it has some of the best kitesurfing in the country and when it is calm, the best paddleboarding. The nearby Raglan Roast coffee shop (Shop 5, 623 Rocks Road. On Facebook) doubles as a place to get the latest gear, as well as huge lattes to help kickstart the kite-surfers. Walk in looking for a $4 coffee and walk out with a $2000 stand-up paddleboard. If it is too hot for lazing in the sun, try the nearby Natureland Wildlife Trust — the city's mini-zoo — home to meerkats, monkeys, llamas and alpacas, among others (natureland.co.nz). Further down the road are facilities offering go-karting, roller skating, and a park with trampolines and a hydro-slide. On the weekends, there is also a model train transporting families on short rides around the area for a gold-coin fee.