January – April, 2013
If you’re heading to Auckland on the main highway, you’ll come across a toll area about 30 miles north of the city. You can opt to stay on the new section of main highway and pay the toll, or you can turn off and take the older route, the Hibiscus Coast Highway.
The Hibiscus Coast Highway is the old coastal road, running along miles of beach and through the pretty town of Orewa before turning inland at the Whangaparaoa Peninsula to rejoin the freeway.
As we headed south, I caught my first look at the Hibiscus Coast from the Waiwera Hill Scenic Reserve overlook and was surprised how much it reminds me of the South Bay near Los Angeles. The beaches stretch along the coast much like the beaches from Torrance to Santa Monica, and at the end is the Whangaparaoa Peninsula, so similar to the Palos Verdes Peninsula where I grew up. Even the town of Orewa looks a lot like the Riviera Village (next to Torrance Beach).
This isn’t as fast as the toll road, but it’s definitely worth taking the time to slow down and enjoy this area. –Cyndi