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New Zealand’s adrenaline-pumped activities are not for everyone, so for those who yearn to get a taste of the ‘real’ NZ, there is a region where it is possible to do so. In less than 40 minutes from downtown you can be in the West Auckland district where there is an array of stunning scenery and real NZ experiences.
The Waitakere rainforest with its lush Native trees, is a very popular attraction. At 400m above sea-level, and expansive views of Auckland city and the surrounding countryside, no wonder this is a main tourist stop! Visit the Arataki Information Centre as it has a lot of interesting information. There are many tours to this location, but do choose a tour which actually guides you through the Centre (rather than one which just drops you at the door for you to muddle through on your own).
Heading further westward you’ll enthral at walking on the black iron-sands of Muriwai beach, and visiting the world-famous takapu (gannet) colony. There is much [real] history of this Muriwai area (both Maori and European). Much of the farmland of this area was owned by the (1903 – 1905) Auckland Mayor; Sir Edwin Mitchelson, and one of the remaining farms is available to visit on the locally operated Auckland tours to this region. At the sheep farm you will touch sheep, tour a real working woolshed (built in 1930), and go inside the operator's own historic Homestead for afternoon tea.
You'll also pass through the Kumeu region which is New Zealand's original commercial wine producing district, as many of the new immigrants to NZ turned to wine making. Visit BeesOnline’ Honey Centre where you can sample many New Zealand honey varieties (including NZ’s most famous Manuka honey), and take time to shop for real New Zealand crafts and souvenirs at the huge market called ‘CraftWorld’.
So, you can experience a taste of ‘real’ New Zealand…without the need to travel any more than 40 minutes from downtown Auckland!
Muriwai Beach Gannet colony hosted by local operators whose family has lived in the region since 1922. Forest and Bird members. Lunch included. Native tree planted to offset carbon emissions for every tour run.
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