Manukau (meaning ‘wading birds’ or ‘only birds’), is rich in cultural heritage and represents the heartland of the area; with its coastal escapes and rural surrounding areas. In the main center sits Rainbow’s End, New Zealand’s premium fun theme park. For an exciting, thrilling and sometimes scary ride try out Powersurge, The Invader, Corkscrew Coaster, Fearfall, Scorpion Karts, Family Karts, and the ever exciting Pirate Ship. Other more family friendly rides are the Bumper Boats, The Enchanted Forest Log Flume, Dodgems, Gold Rush, Motion Master, Mini Golf, and Cinema 180o. Castleland caters to the littlies in your family, with its exciting Dragon Coaster, Bouncy Castle and more.
Or come visit the extensive gardens found in the lush volcanic soils of neighboring suburbs Mangere and Manurewa which holds Auckland’s Botanic Garden. The Botanic Gardens is established on 65 hectares of land. There 10,000 plants are grown for the pleasure, research, and preservation of their species for the pleasure of its many visitors. Totara Park in Manurewa is over 216 hectares of walks, tracks, mountain biking, horse-riding, picnic areas, tennis, swimming in the outside pool and an adventure playground for the littlies. Once at Mangere Mountain, where volcanic cones and craters abound, you will find the guided walks fascinating and will take you only 1.5 hours to explore the area. Visit the Education Centre while there and try out the Hands on Workshops. Butterfly Creek is a must when you’re only 1 minute from the Auckland International Airport. Over 750 tropical butterflies fly free in the Butterfly House, Buttermilk Farm with its petting zoo, Scar and Goldie the resident giant saltwater crocodiles, hop aboard the Red Admiral Express, Rocket Ropes will let you fly through the air, or climb to higher heights. Stop into Howick’s Historical Village and witness the local residents residing and working in a living museum dated back to 1850. Be charmed by the early period lifestyle set amongst the rustic and tranquil surroundings.
Papakura has easy access to the Hunua Ranges, and East and West coast beaches. Enjoy bush walking, horse riding and mountain and road biking, or take to the beach and relax. Head out for a round of golf, or visit the Papakura Museum and Art Gallery; then try the cafes and restaurants with their wide variety of choices. Highland Park holds a Sunday Market, Howick a Village Market, Whitford holds ‘their Whitford Market’, Mangere Bridge a Craft Market and a Town Centre Market for those who want local fare and goods. Whitford has two gardens for the viewing public, Ayrlies and The Whitford Bird Garden. Ayrlies established in 1964, consists of 12 acres of sweeping lawns with plantings placed beside ponds and waterways. Old roses, clematis, and perennials offer a romantic perspective to the gardens. Walk through the free-flight enclosure at ‘The Whitford Bird Garden’, with enchanting exotic birds and tropical fish native to the Amazon. Then stroll through the gardens and enjoy the native flora, along with the tropical and subtropical species planted there. Before leaving visit the on-site gallery of owner Blake Twigden, a world renowned artist.