One of the great things about the ques of traffic heading north at this time of year is that Auckland empties out - relatively speaking. We usually take the opportunity to be tourists for the day and today made a trip to the Auckland Botanic Gardens. Just off the southern motorway and free to enter, I'd highly recommend them. Some large Rose Apple, Cheramoya, Raisin Tree and Inga Bean trees plus a sculpture trail during January.
Also had a delicious late lunch at "The Butchers Son" restaurant in Herne Bay - all plant based and tasty tasty tasty.