The South of Auckland Touring Route encompasses both Manukau City and the Franklin District. You’ll discover an appealing blend of urban and rural spaces. Enjoy forests, lakes, waterfalls, country villages and 320 kilometres of picturesque coastline.
Manukau is home to more than 165 ethnic groups, making it one of the most multicultural population centres in the country. This touring route incorporates significant landmarks and attractions in the Manukau City region, including the extinct volcanic cone of Mangere Mountain and the colourful weekend Otara markets . The route also takes you to the western coast of the Franklin District, where you can explore Awhitu Peninsula, memorable for its fertile farmland, sculpted sand cliffs and magnificent views of the Manukau Heads.
The South of Auckland Touring Route can begin at exiting Auckland Airport. Villa Maria Winery Estate is nearby – a great place to stop for wine and a platter overlooking the vineyard. Also close by is Butterfly Creek, a popular family attraction which features a cafe, exotic butterfly house and animal farm. In Mangere there are a number of Maori settlements based around several volcanic cones. Follow the marked trail over Mangere Mountain, the largest and least modified of the volcanic cones, and learn more about this important geological landmark while taking in the spectacular 360 degree views. Manukau is also home to New Zealand’s only theme park, Rainbow’s End.
Continue south through Karaka, an area well known for thoroughbred yearling sales. Stop at a garden cafe for a cup of tea, or visit the Glenbrook Vintage Railway to ride on the restored steam train. Further west is the historic town of Waiuku, a farming community which serves as the gateway to the beautiful Awhitu Peninsula. A number of local art galleries, wineries and organic produce outlets can be found here. Kayaking, golf and walks are available around the Awhitu Regional Park. Head back to Auckland City through the country town of Pukekohe, a community surrounded by market gardens and roadside stalls of fresh produce, or link up with the East of Auckland Touring Route.
Climb to the top of Mangere Mountain
Enjoy a glass of wine at Villa Maria Winery Estate
Watch the V8 Supercars at Pukekohe in April 2007
Discover the network of limestone caverns at Nikau Caves
Walk along rugged Kariotahi Beach
Take a ride on a vintage steam train
View the rough and wild entrance to the Manukau Harbour from Awhitu Peninsula
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