One hour from: Auckland

<preform>Tinkling ivories, crashing waves, visit volcanoes, rainforests and surf-pounded beaches where you can re-enact scenes from <i>The Piano</i>.</p></preform>
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The Independent Travel

Devonport

This attractive 19th-century seaside suburb offers a great city escape, thanks to the scenic ferry ride connecting it with the centre. Climb either of the two volcanic cones, Mount Victoria or North Head, former Maori settlements, for panoramic views of the city and Hauraki Gulf. After browsing art galleries, lunch by the water.

Devonport

This attractive 19th-century seaside suburb offers a great city escape, thanks to the scenic ferry ride connecting it with the centre. Climb either of the two volcanic cones, Mount Victoria or North Head, former Maori settlements, for panoramic views of the city and Hauraki Gulf. After browsing art galleries, lunch by the water.

By car: take the SH1 through Takapuna and follow signs; journey time approx 30 mins. By ferry: every half hour from Auckland Ferry Building; journey time approx 15 mins.

The Waitakere Ranges and West Coast

Take in the bush and rainforest of the Waitakere Ranges and the rugged west coast. With more than 130 bush walks to choose from, the Ranges are the perfect place for mountain biking or walking. The West Coast surf beaches of Whatipu, Karekare (scenes from Jane Campion's The Piano were filmed here), Piha, Bethels and Muriwai are unforgettable for their soulful beachscapes, backed by bush. Karekare is also a favourite haunt of surfers.

By car: take SH1, followed by the SH16; journey time approx 1 hour.

West Coast Vineyards

Make a day of discovering Auckland's leading wine-growing precincts and sample the grape at big-name vineyards such as Nobilo, Selak and Babich. Many have restaurants serving sumptuous fare to accompany their key varietals of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Pick up a Winemakers of Auckland map from the Auckland Visitor Centre and plan your route.

By car: take the SH16 and follow signs for Henderson; journey time approx 40 minutes. By train: take the Tranz Metro from downtown to Henderson; journey time approx 30 mins.

Hauraki Gulf Islands

Beyond Waitemata Harbour, the stunning Hauraki Gulf is home to the America's Cup racing course and a multitude of islands. Each is distinctly different and worth a day or two's visit.See the many endangered birds, including kiwis and the rare takahe, on Tiritir Matangi.

By ferry: frequent services from Auckland Ferry Building; journey times from approx 30 mins.

Waiwera Thermal Resort

On the beautiful Hibiscus Coast, the Waiwera Thermal Resort, with its 26 outdoor and indoor naturally heated mineral water pools, offers something for everyone, young and old. Children have fun on the whirling rides and waterslides. Adults unwind in the luxury spa and indulge in a little massage.By car: Follow the SH1 north to Waiwera; journey time approx 40 mins.

Bridge the World (0870 444 1716; www.bridgetheworld.com) offers a week in Auckland from £717 per person, based on two sharing, including return flights and seven nights' room-only accommodation at the Hyatt Regency. Budget Rent A Car (0064 4802 4548; www.budget.co.nz) offers car hire from £126 for a week, or £30 for any three-day weekend. Tourism New Zealand (09069 101010, calls charged at £1 a minute; www.purenz.com).

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