Head to Mangawhai
Mangawhai Heads is one of our favourite beaches - the best blend of sand and rocks, surf and estuary, the grooviest toilet block ever and even a handy food/coffee cart. Pack a picnic and catch some waves. Keen hikers could time a low tide beach walk (head towards Waipu Cove), a killer clamber up the steps to join the DoC walkway back to the surf club. Stunning views, nikau and bush, you'll feel like a legend when you're done. Saturday there's a country-style school fair, and the farmers' market in Mangawhai proper.
Details: Visit the website here.
Avast me hearties
Forget the America's Cup plastic rocket ships on steroids, and go see what real sailing ships looked like at Auckland Waterfront. The Tall Ships Festival hosts seven old-time multi-masted beauties that you can climb aboard (Queens and Princes wharves).
There's a brass band navy parade (Saturday, 10am, Wynyard Quarter to The Cloud) and thrilling gun salute when the ships leave town (Monday, 1pm, Orakei Wharf, Tamaki Drive). Head to the Cloud for a nautical carnival, or more goodies at the Voyager Maritime Museum.
Sunday road trip
The smart people avoid the traffic jams heading back into town on Monday - so find your favourites Saturday and Sunday. Make this the weekend you explore the lesser known beach parks around the region. We like to head north, past the long weekend crowds of Long Bay or Wenderholm to the lesser known DoC park of Mahurangi West (turn off about 6km past Wenderholm). There are simple facilities and car access to Otarawao Bay (Sullivan's Bay) or low tide walks to smaller bays. South east, go past Clevedon (farmer's markets on Sunday) to Tapapakanga or the more tidal beaches out that way of Kawakawa Bay and Orere Point are great for kids and kayak). Gentle, and pretty, with plenty of great fish and chip shops, what better way to say "hello summer" - even if the pohutukawa aren't in flower yet.
Details: For more info about regional parks visit the Auckland Council website.
Check out this weekend's Weather Watch:
Find out the best bits from Life & Style this week in the video below: