Two roads lead to an enjoyable day at the beach for family and friends

Just over an hour's drive from downtown Auckland, Port Waikato is a small coastal town with a population of about 300 people.

It is also where the 425km Waikato River ends its journey to the sea after snaking its way from the slopes of Mt Ruapehu through Lake Taupo and on to Hamilton, powering several hydro-electric power stations.

At Port Waikato, Sunset Beach is a wonderful place to enjoy sand, surf and mesmerising sunsets.

If you want a picnic near the port, check out Maraetai Bay. It has beautiful views and facilities including picnic tables, bins and public toilets.


Keen anglers will find plenty of fishing spots around the surrounding areas.

Two routes will take you out of Auckland and on your way.

Leaving from Hobson St, follow it until you reach the Southern Motorway.

Or you can go up Queen St, across Karangahape Rd and into Upper Queen St.

Turn right into Ian McKinnon Drive at the lights and follow it on to Dominion Rd.

Follow Dominion Rd till you reach State Highway 20 which will take you to the Southern Motorway.

Whichever route you take, you then follow State Highway 1 out of Auckland.

After passing the Drury and Pukekohe turn-offs and the Bombay Hills, take exit 476 and turn right on to Helenslee Rd.

When you reach the Pokeno Cemetery, bear right on to Munro Rd then take another right on to Pokeno Rd.

Pokeno Rd becomes Whangarata Rd; follow this to River Rd, then turn left.

Port Waikato has a population of about 300, and is just over an hour's drive from central Auckland.
Port Waikato has a population of about 300, and is just over an hour's drive from central Auckland.

This will be your first chance to see the Waikato River.

After following River Rd, crossing over the Waikato in the process, turn right on to Tuakau Bridge-Port Waikato Rd.

The final leg before Port Waikato runs through high country before running alongside the Waikato.

Follow this for 34km until you reach Port Waikato.

After your day out, follow the route back the way you came.