The New Zealand capital’s most multi-cultural region, South Auckland is also diverse in its range of activities. Check out the botanic gardens and theme parks of Manukau, the great beaches of Waiuku, and the rugged coastline and historic lighthouse of the Awhitu Peninsula. South Auckland is also home to the Auckland Airport, which is handy for those one-night stopovers. Not too far from Auckland’s CBD, but with plenty of the natural beauty that puts NZ on the map – AND the map of Middle Earth – South Auckland is a best-of-all-worlds destination.
Manukau is the heart of South Auckland, and home to the world’s largest Polynesian community. If you’re looking for activities for the whole family, you’ll find them here. Rainbow’s End is New Zealand’s number one theme park, so take the kids (or release your own inner child) with a spin on the dodgem cars or the corkscrew coaster. Have a picnic among 64,000 hectares and more than 8,000 plant species – not to mention some very artistic sculptures – in the Auckland Botanic Gardens. And make sure you visit Otara Market, NZ’s biggest street market, to wander colourful stores for delicious local food.
Waiuku is a historical town with an added bonus: a totally unique beach. Karioitahi Beach is a black sand beach with rugged clifftops and a whole host of activities. Feeling adventurous? The wild wind makes it a popular spot for paragliding off the top of the cliffs and along the dramatic coastline. You can also surf, fish or horse ride! The town itself has attractive buildings from the olden days restored into quaint cafes and shops, as well as cool attractions like Waiuku Museum, which has both permanent and temporary displays of traditional Maori artifacts. You can also visit the Glenbrook Vintage Railway and choo-choo-choose to take a ride on a vintage steam train, or do some satisfying bushwalking in the 1500-hectare Waiuku Forest.
If you don’t mind a little travel, the Awhitu Peninsula is well worth a visit. An hour from downtown Auckland, it has a glorious boardwalk over coastal clifftops to Manukua Heads Lighthouse, one of the only lighthouses in NZ that you can venture inside. If a good view and a glass of wine is your thing, visit one of the clifftop vineyards and get your beverage with ocean views.
Our Auckland Airport hotels are great if you’re only dropping in. Plus you can visit Butterfly Creek, just three minutes from the airport. With such a gentle name, you probably wouldn’t expect this place to contain crocodiles. But it does! Giant saltwater ones, in fact. But it also has butterflies (of course), monkeys and more than 30 life-sized animatronic dinosaurs. And hey, since you’re so close to the airport, don’t forget about your flight to Auckland! Book your South Auckland accommodation with us for a mixed bag of activities sure to make you smile.
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