With a rental car for the weekend, Jasmine and I decided to go northwest and check out Helensville and the South Head. It is very surprising how quickly it turns into countryside outside of Auckland and it is nice to have a car so that we can get into the countryside occasionally. We made three stops: Helensville, Shelly Beach, and Te Rau Puriri. Helensvile is a small town with a couple of cafes and is worth a little walk around just to soak in the pastoralness.
Shelly Beach was a quite pleasant peninsula with a bit of a little walk by the beach and a small Bach community. On the plus side, we also got to go to a tasty cafe right on the beach for lunch, so there is always that.
And, finally, Te Rau Puriri was a delightful walk in the country side. It poured down on us while we walked around a very green (and slippery) hill side while surrounded by sheep and in view of the ocean. So about as NZed as I can get.