Helensville was named one of New Zealand's 'Top Ten Small Towns' by a national magazine. It’s just 40 minutes from downtown Auckland, but has all the hallmarks of a classic country town – green pastures, historic architecture and a friendly population of down-to-earth people. The town has two museums – one devoted to pioneer days; another that honours vintage machinery. Close to Helensville you’ll find naturally heated pools for swimming and water slides. Other local attractions include vineyards, beaches, horse riding, golf courses and boats that can show you around the immense Kaipara Harbour. Functional facts: Approx. population 2500, information centre, good range of shops and services, limited accommodation.