Looking for something to do or something to eat close to the airport? Two minutes drive from the airport hotels and motels takes you to our very own typical New Zealand township, Mangere Bridge Village.
Nestled under a dormant volcanic cone (Mangere Mountain) and not far from the shores of the Manukau Harbour, lies Mangere Bridge Village.
It boasts a number of well regarded cafes, takeaways including Subway, small supermarket, video stores, Interflora Florist, Post Office and 2 banks plus a number of ATM machines which accept all major bank cards.
Mangere Bridge Village is renowned as a friendly, yet “real” taste of Kiwiana, and is a great way to acclimatize to New Zealand culture. The area is steeped in history and has a rich cultural heritage stemming from Maori settlement in the early 1800’s through to a vibrant Chinese market gardening community and European settlement. Many of the local roads are named after large farming families that settled in the area in the late 1800’s. Descendents of some of these well-known families still own a number of the buildings.
Mangere Mountain, a large dormant volcanic cone, is an easy climb to the top from which one can view both the Tasman Sea and the Pacific Ocean. At the foot of the mountain is the Mangere Mountain Education Centre which offers a fascinating insight into life on the Maori Pa which was on the mountain and grows many traditional Maori healing plants and rare species of kumara. There are Maori artefacts, including handmade tools, and the centre includes interesting information about the formation of volcanoes and of Mangere Mountain in particular.
A short stroll from there you will find the Village itself, which, during the summer months, is festooned with colourful hanging baskets. A few minutes from here will bring you to the shores of the Manukau Harbour, the second largest harbour in New Zealand. The pleasant walkway along Kiwi Esplanade ends at Ambury Farm Park, a working farm open to the public, where they welcome visitors to help feed the animals at 4pm daily and especially during the lambing season in August/September to help bottle feed the lambs. Campers are also welcome to stay.
Along the boundary of the farm there is a wonderful view across the Manukau Harbour which is home to some 80 species of birds, including migratory birds from Siberia, at various times of the year.
Other things to see while in the area:
Butterfly Creek. Home to some 800 species of tropical butterflies and a miniature train.
The visitor who is in the area for a short time has much to see within minutes of the Airport. Depending on your time frame there is;
Villa Maria Estate. A world class winery which offers daily tours.
Otuataua Stone Fields. Close by is this historic and archaeologically significant site with stone arrangements left over from centuries of use as a food storage and preparation area for pre European Maori.