Pack up your togs, towel and picnic rug and head out on SH16.
Gather some picnic items on your way, gourmet goods, cheeses, bread, cured meats, delicatessen items and produce from Boric Food Market [A]; wine from one of the areas top vinyards Soljans, Kumeu River, Coopers Creek, The Hunting Lodge, or Westbrook Winery; artisan bread and fabulous pastries from Gourmet Gannet in Huapai [C]; or fantastic pies, baked on site The Pie Shop in Kumeu [B] or The Food Vault in Huapai [C].
Now you have a choice. Head out to Muriwai Beach Regional Park  on the west coast, or to sheltered Shelly Beach [D] on the Kaipara Habour.
The turn off to Muriwai at Waimauku. The Regional Park has picnic spots under the trees off the beach. After lunch, you can walk up to the Gannet Colony or along the back sand beach.
If you decide to visit Shelly Beach, head up State Highway 16 to the roundabout before Helensville, turn left and then keep going until you see the turnoff to Shelly Beach [B] on the right. Work up an appetite with a beach walk or swim before your picnic with a view of the mighty Kaipara harbour. Laze as long as the day takes you, time goes slow in these parts (approx 35 minutes from Huapai).
Meander back through to the Coatesville-Riverhead highway to Riverhead  for a craft beer tasting paddle at Hallertau Brewery & Biergarten [E]. Smaller samplers of all their current brews will help you decide which one you fancy as you settle in for some serious relaxation (around 40 mins from Shelly Beach).
Head out for an action-packed morning and unleash your inner monkey at award-winning Woodhill Tree Adventures.  (approx 45 mins from central Auckland).
Head through the Historic Township of Helensville,  maybe drop into the Te Awaroa Cafe for a coffee and snack before heading north through Kaukapakapa.
The perfect relaxation after this drive is to the east side of the Kaipara Coast Highway between Kaukapakapa and the Makarau River to Omeru Scenic Reserve  At the reserve there’s a series of three waterfalls: Waitangi Falls, Omeru Falls and Waitangi Stream Cascade where you can cool down with a serene swim in a gorgeous green environment.
As you head back along State Highway 16 a five-minute detour to Parakai takes you to Auckland’s only thermal springs where you can relax your muscles at either Palm Springs or Parakai Springs  pools.
On the way home, a short trip east from Waimauku takes you to The Hunting Lodge [A] for an early dinner. There’s casual dining at the Lawn Bar, enjoying the evening sun with a local wine, or maybe a glass of beer from Helensville based Liberty Brewing. If you’re after a more formal dining experience there is the a la carte restaurant with dishes featuring local produce created by award-winning Executive Chef Des Harris.