For all those Aucklanders looking for things to do, or traveller’s with time on their hands, there’s plenty here at the Auckland Airport so bring the kids and I’ll see you at my local soon.
Here is my list for top 20 things to see and do at the Auckland Airport / Mangere area in no particular order. Being a mother, these are also great for the family.
1. Villa Maria Concert or Lunch
118 Montgomerie Rd, Mangere
Villa Maria Cafe and Cellar is open most days for lunch. They offer wine tasting and delicious platters which you just have to try. They offer a sandpit and climbing wall for kids to enjoy while you enjoy your meal outdoors. There is also a pond on the grounds and plenty of grass area and vineyards to view. The also cater for weddings and special events.
Just to add to that fantastic description they also do a few concerts a year. We enjoyed the Sol3 Mio concert with our little one while she expended all her energy on the grounds.
2. Strawberry Farm
127 Kirkbride Rd, Mangere
Best enjoyed during the Summer months it’s located at 127 Kirkbride Rd, Mangere just up the road from the nearby Airport Hotels. They are very busy in the summer months so car parking can be an issue however the queues to get ice-cream and desserts are quick due to having about 5 ice cream maker lines going all at once. Amazing ice cream and fresh vegetables to enjoy. I’ve compared this to another farm closer to the Airport and I definitely prefer this one. There are also a number of tables for you to sit and enjoy your fresh dessert.
3. Ambury Farm
43 Ambury Rd, Mangere
Please note Aucklanders, Ambury Farm Day is not the only time you can enjoy this amazing place. Open from 8-9pm in summer and 8-7pm in winter this park is a great place to take kids, have a bbq and the best thing is – it’s free! Unlike ButterFly Creek (which is great for other reasons) you can see farm animals up close without paying. As long as you lock the gates behind you to ensure the animals don’t leave the grounds; you are free to soak in a farm atmosphere within minutes of the city.
It offers camp grounds, picnic tables, pram access and drinking water.
4. Manukau Live Steamers – Train for Kids & Parents
Robertson Road, Mangere. In Centre Park
I have no doubt that people come from all over Auckland to enjoy these steam train rides operating every Sunday at 11am (weather permitting). We’ve been a few times and it is a blast, even for parents. They run two tracks on miniature trains. Be sure to tuck your feet in; and on one track in particular for tall parents to duck before the tunnel.
A great way to start the day, tickets are only $2 per ride. There are no EFTPOS facilities on site so be sure to bring cash.
5. The District Walkway and Sculpture Trail
Behind Butterfly Creek and Rocket Ropes
Opened by Len Brown in September 2013 this is an amazing walkway located behind Butterfly Creek. If you park at either the Countdown or anywhere down to Dunkin Donuts you can access this treasure. I’ve been a couple of times now being a local and can say it’s definitely under used; or maybe not that many people know about it. There are the odd joggers but the hidden artwork at this place is similar to what you’d see at Waiheke, except swap the sea views for plane spotting every 10mins or so. Great for kids, cyclists and a good run/walk. The pond is right by the farm area and you can see most of the action at Rocket Ropes from here.
Download this Art Trail map below for more info. Unfortunately it’s hard to find more about this place online.
6. JK Golf – 24 hour Driving Range
Nixon Road, Auckland Airport.
So I went to this one recently when I had about 2 hours to space, and to be fair this was such a great option. It’s about $11 per adult which includes a driver (golf club) and about half a bucket of balls. It took me about 40mins to complete, and there was plenty of parking on site.
7. Waterfront walk at Mangere Bridge
Kiwi Esplande, Mangere Bridge
One of the more well-known spots this walk is about 4km long and has a playground (two now) and a couple of boat clubs along the way. It overlooks the Manukau Harbour and starts near the Mangere Bridge town centre ending up at the end of Ambury Farm. Plenty of joggers, walkers and parents walk along this road and for good reason. If you haven’t been here, make the effort, it’s worth it.
8. Oruarangi Road Walkway, Mangere
Oruarangi Road, Mangere / Airport Oaks
While we’re in the topic of walks, you have to see this one. Ok, so it’s not as peaceful as the Mangere Bridge walk with more trucks driving through to the local industrial area it runs alongside the water looking out to Puketutu Island and the mouth of the harbour.
Roughly 2km in length it frequents cyclists, walkers and the odd traveller should they even venture out this way. It ends near a carpark and jetty and if you’re a really keen explorer it continues on to a rocky path out down the water.
9. Formula E – Indoor Go Karting
36 Ascot Road, Mangere
That’s right, Go Karting – bet you wouldn’t think that was out here! Still something I am yet to discover but it looks like a fantastic place to go. It boasts the ONLY place in New Zealand to drive a new generation, state of the art, Italian Designed indoor race cart. Perfect for birthdays, hens nights, stag do, fundraiser or other event. Food options available. For more info: https://www.formulae.co.nz/
10. Cafe Culture Mangere Bridge
Coronation Road, Mangere Bridge.
Features Ruby Red, Thai food, fruit smoothes and Coronation Cafe for fantastic meals on a budget.
11. Strata Lounge
Auckland International Airport
Now this one requires that you’re :
– Flying out the international airport (or in transit for a while)
– Can check in your bags hours before your flight (Air New Zealand does this)
– Wanting to just chill out and relax
Then this is perfect for you. This lounge is incredibly good value for money. I took my daughter here and combined we paid $75 which meant we could both have dinner, we could both chill out with our laptops/computer with free wifi for 3 hours!! AND the food was amazing – so much to choose from. I have never felt more relaxed before a flight before.
There are even showers available and lounges that allow you to put your feet up as you people watch below. You need to book this 24hours in advance or turn up at the door hoping that it’s not booked up. I’ll definitely do this one again.
12. Otuataua Historic Stonefields
56 Ihumatao Quarry Road
According to the Auckland Council website this is apparently one of the few volcanic areas in Auckland where you can see large-scale stonework and earthwork remains and show people once lived and worked. The view from various points here is amazing, overlooking Puketutu Island the the mouth of the Manukau Harbour it’s definitely one to see. There are various walkways which you will share with cyclists and the odd pedestrians or cyclist which is great because not that many people know about this place. There are information spots that explain Auckland’s previous sewage dilemma that killed off a lot of crustaceans and shellfish and where improvements have been made to remedy it.
For the most part you’ll be walking overgrown grassland and sidestepping gorse (but not much) so bring some walking shoes, sunblock and a hat and come out to the Airport to enjoy this hidden gem. Roughly 25mins from Central Auckland.
This land is under development threat. Please take a look at this video below to find out more.
13. Auckland Airport Lookout
Puhinui Road, Mangere
Located just minutes from the Auckland Airport this spot is a set of three carparks. 2 layered on the left side of the road and 1 on the right. Very popular with the locals and ideal for aviation enthusiasts. It can get very busy and is a great way to pass time if you’re waiting for a flight to come in. Planes leave almost every 10mins so you’ll always get a show no matter what the time.
2 Leonard Isitt Drive, Auckland Airport. (near the Countdown, under the Ibis hotel)
Ok so my photos of this place definitely don’t do it justice, but this place excellent. If you’re ever heading to the airport and want some real food and a great atmosphere then this is your place. They have a mouth watering menu from pulled pork tacos to freshly made beef burgers and salads. The kids menu is just as good with options that are actually nutritious (no nuggets here). The kids pizza comes with carrot and cucumber sticks.
We head here on a regular basis and although they serve a variety of local beers and ciders; we always tend to go back to the ever popular ‘Ginger fusion’. You must try it.
Friendly service, good food and great atmosphere.
15. Puketutu Island
Island Road, off Greenwood Road.
This regional park is currently under development will apparently be larger than Cornwall Park! Although you can’t drive past a certain point on the island you can drive across taking in the great scenery and view from the carpark on the other side. This island also hosts the occasion dance party which I’ve heard is amazing. They also cater for weddings.
16. Greenwood Road Dog park, Airport Oaks
17. Cycle track around foreshore.
Starting at Island Road and ends around the StoneFields area.
Cyclists often frequent the Airport Oaks area. We hear them in the morning racing down the road before getting their flat whites at the local cafes. This cycle track is just perfect for that crowd; and if you’re not into it simply walk this track. It’s a lengthy distance so be prepared. Starting at the Waste water centre on Island Road it runs through along Oruarangi and back again. Better suited for strollers with big/thicker wheels.
18. Butterfly Creek
Tom Pearce Dr, Airport Oaks.
This very well known spot features a butterfly house of course, farm animals, crocodiles, Rocket Ropes and the more recent Dinosaur Kingdom. It offers a cafe and baby changing facilties. It’s largely sheltered so it’s great if you’re wanting to stay out of the sun.
19. Adventure Island Mini Golf
Tom Pearce Dr, Airport Oaks (next to the Z station)
I love this place and yes I took my toddler here along with a 10 year old. It’s right next door to Butterfly Creek and 5mins from the Airport so perfect if you have a couple of hours on your hands. All the holes are pirate themed and surrounds a large pond. Be sure to take you’re sun block as there is little shelter here.
20. Mangere Mountain
This is a roughly 15min walk to the top from the bottom carpark. It’s popular with locals who use it a bootcamp course – and so it should be; the crater is quite steep! It looks out over Ambury farm and out around to One Tree Hill.
And that’s it! If you’ve been to some of these places let me know what you think below and feel free to share any other great spots within the Auckland Airport area.