Takapuna on Auckland’s North Shore has all the benefits of city life, says Stuff, but you’ll never be far from nature. Takapuna Beach, overlooking Rangitoto Island, is one of the most popular beaches in Auckland, while the eruption of the Lake Pupuke volcano 150,000 years ago saw lava flow through a forest of small trees, fossilising them. The tree trunks remain today, the biggest of which is an impressive 1.6m in diameter. Explore the fossil forest while walking the coastal walkway between the northern end of Takapuna Beach and Milford.