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Best things to do in Mangere, Manukau & Auckland Airport with kids

Best things to do in Mangere, Manukau & Auckland Airport with kids

There are lots of fun activities and things to do on a day out in Mangere, Auckland Airport and Manukau with the kids. Here is our pick of 20 of the best things to do on a family day out.

1. Enjoy the rides at Rainbow's End Theme Park

The kids will love Rainbow’s End theme park which has thrill rides, family rides and Kidz Kingdom an area of the park just for children under 8 years old and their family.

Read about Auckland for Kids tips for visiting Rainbow’s End with your family.

Magic Bikes at Kidz Kingdom in Rainbow's End theme park | Auckland for Kids
The Magical Bikes in Kidz Kingdom at Rainbow's End

2. Visit the working farm at Ambury Regional Park

Visit Auckland’s regional park is a mix of farming and in the suburb of Mangere Bridge. You can see sheep, goats, cows, pigs, chickens, turkey, rabbits and peacocks at Ambury Farm. There are grassy lanes around the animal enclosures and you are allowed to go into the paddocks with the animals except for during lambing season. The dairy cows are milked around 10am between mid July and early December.  The Family Farm Walk has buggy and wheelchair access is 1km long and takes approximately 45 minutes or longer depending on how long the kids stop to watch the animals. 

The  Foreshore Walk where you can spot birds roosting on the rocks and gathering food on the mud flats and enjoy the views over the Manukau Harbour. This walk is 45 minutes and is 2km long.

The third walk at Ambury Regional Park is the Lost Gardens Walk where the kids can see remnants of Maori stone mounds that were once used for gardening and is 30 minutes long. This walk connects to the WaterCare Coastal Walkway to Otuhataua Stonefields Historic Reserve if you wish to add this on.

You can take the kids mountain bikes with you too, as you are allowed to go biking on the open farmland and some of the shared tracks.

You can access Ambury Regional Park on foot at any time, however the gates to the car park open at 6am and close at 9pm during daylight savings and 7pm during non daylight savings. There are BBQ’s, picnic sites and toilets in the park to sue. Plus if you want to stay longer, you can book to stay at the campground in summer.

3. Go rafting at Vector Wero Whitewater Park

The Vector Wero Whitewater Park is New Zealand’s first purpose built artificial white water facility and hosted the World Masters Games in April 2017. This massive park has two rivers, a lake and the world’s highest man-made waterfall. You and the kids can go white water rafting, kayaking and paddleboarding together as a family.

Read about Auckland for Kids visit to Vector Wero Whitewater Park here.

Auckland for Kids visits Vector Wero
Auckland for Kids goes rafting at Vector Wero

4. See the animals, dinosaurs & mystic creatures at Butterfly Creek

There are lots of different animals at Butterfly Creek for families with younger children to see. There are kiwis, farm animals, alligators, tropical birds, salt water crocodiles, eels, otters and our favourite the tropical butterfly house. Dinosaur lovers can travel back in time and see over 50 dinosaurs, including huge, life size animatronic dinosaurs including a T-Rex, Diplodocus, Plesiosaur and Velociraptor. The new Mythic Creatures exhibit has model dragons, unicorns, serpents, mermaids and the mythical Kraken. When the kids need a break, go on the Red Admiral Express train for a ride around Butterfly Creek. And if the kids get hungry there is a cafe with a playground too.

Read about Auckland for Kids visit to the see the Mythic Creatures exhibit at Butterfly Creek.

Dragon at Butterfly Creek
Auckland for Kids visit to Butterfly Creek

5. Take a miniature train ride at Manukau Live Steamers

Enjoy riding on the miniature live steam, diesel and electric trains at Manukau Live Steamers on Sundays from 11am to 3pm, weather permitting at Mangere Centre Park on Robertson Road . Rides are only $2 each.

Manukau Live Steamers
Train ride at Manukau Live Steamers | Photo Credit: Manukau Live Steamers

6. Walk to the top of Māngere Mountain

Discover Māngere Mountain with the kids and see it’s lava dome, crater and archaeological features. You can walk up the mountain yourself or you can take a guided walk with The Mangere Mountain Education Centre.

The best place to access the maunga (mountain) is from Coronoation Road in Māngere Bridge.

Mangere Mountain
Mangere Mountain | Photo credit: Mangere Mountain Education Trust

7. Visit Ōtuataua Historic Stonefields Reserve

The Ōtuataua Stonefields is one of New Zealand’s oldest volcanic stonefields where you can see Polynesian house sits, cooking shelters, storage pits, terraces, mound gardens and garden walls. The reserve is a sacred place – waahi tāpu to descendants of Te Wai-o-Hua and Waikato Iwi of the Tainui waka.  Families are free to enjoy a walk but should be respectful when visiting and not eat food on the reserve (water bottles are fine) or walk on top of Puketaapapa volcano in the reserve. You can access the reserve from the end of Ihumatao Quarry Road in Mangere.

8. Go climbing at Rocket Ropes

Take the family out for some climbing fun at Rocket Ropes urban high ropes park. They have two courses, the Junior Rocketeer for little kids aged 2 to 6 years old and The Croc Tower courses with three exciting levels and over 40 activities and seven flying foxes. The kids climb safely as carabiners are used on both of the courses.

Child having fun at Rocket Ropes
Having fun on the Junior Rocketeer Course at Rocket Ropes | Photo credit: Rocket Ropes

9. Watch the planes land at Auckland airport

Little ones love watching the planes land and take-off at Auckland Airport. The look-out lounge observation area on the top floor of the Auckland International Airport Terminal is currently closed. So the best place to watch the planes arrive and depart now is the airport’s scenic viewing area on Puhinui Road

10. Visit The Strawberry Farm in summer

When it is strawberry season in summer The Strawberry farm in Mangere is a good place to go to get giant real fruit strawberry ice creams made for you. Plus you can buy fresh strawberries straight from the farm to take home too.

You can also go strawberry picking at another one of Auckland’s best places to pick your own strawberrries.

11. Discover the free sculpture walk in Mangere

Enjoy the walk around the lake with the kids to see the 12 large art sculptures, including one by Terry Stringer. As well as the art there are plenty of native birds to see on your walk. The sculpture park is open to the public with FREE entry. The entrance to the sculpture trail is next door to Rocket Ropes.

12. Get out a book or try one of the kids activities at one of the local Auckland libraries: Mangere Town Centre Library, Mangere East Library, Mangere Bridge Library or Manukau Library

Kids have plenty of choice of books with four Auckland public libraries to choose from in the area: Mangere Town Centre Library, Mangere East Library, Mangere Bridge Library and Manukau Library.  Find out what FREE Activities for Under 5’s at Auckland Libraries are on.

Mangere town centre library
Fun at Māngere Town Centre Library | Photo credit: Māngere Town Centre Library

13. Take on an family escape room challenge

Play a real life escape game with your family at Escape Masters in Manukau. There are three escape games that the whole family can play School Detention, Western Jail or Sinking Submarine.

14. Go for lunch with the kids

Stop for lunch and coffee at Percy cafe in Mangere and watch the kids have fun playing on the playground in front of the cafe.  They have a kids menu for children. Note: the playground is not fenced so you would still need to keep a closer eye on little ones. 

Or if you need a fenced playground for younger children, you can go to Butterfly Creek‘s cafe and playground. You don’t need to buy an entry pass to Butterfly Creek if you are only planning to visit the cafe and playground either.

Your older kids will like the Krispy Kreme’s factory store in Manukau and the young kids will also like watching the fresh doughnuts being made in the factory store through the glass window. Don’t worry if you don’t have a sweet tooth as they have bagels and coffee as well!

15. Swim at Moana-Nui-a-Kiwa Pool

Take the kids for a swim at the Moana-Nui-a-Kiwa Pool and Leisure Centre in Māngere. Indoors there is a lane pool, learners’ pool, toddler’s splash pool and a spa pool.  In summer there are five outdoor pools, a splashpad, water bombing poll and hydroslide which is open from December to March for summer. Children under 16 years get FREE entry thanks to Auckland Council too!

Auckland for Kids visits Moana-Nui-a-Kiwa Pool in Mangere 2020 (2000)
Moana-Nui-a-Kiwa Pool in Mangere. | Auckland for Kids

16. Visit Māngere Arts Centre Nga Tohu o Uenuku

Māngere Arts Centre – Ngā Tohu o Uenuku is home to the Māori and Pacific visual and performing arts in Auckland. The arts centre is located in Mangere Town Centre and entry to the two gallery spaces is free. The theatre is open for performances.

17. Check out the shops and eateries at Westfield Manukau City

Westfield Manukau City has a good selection of shops including Smiggle, Whitcoulls, T&T Childrenswear, Kids Foot Locker. There are lots of family friendly places to get something quick to eat such as Sprout, St Pierres Sushi, Tank Juice, The Coffee Club, Mcdonalds, Katsubi and Esquires. Plus you can watch a movie at Event Cinemas. There is a free kid’s preschool play area for kids under 5 years old and a parent’s room with a microwave, change tables and kids toilets. In the school holidays and for major events in the year, there are often activities scheduled for the kids and families to enjoy too.

Westfield Manukau kids activities for Chinese New Year 2020
Families activities during Chinese New Year 2020 at Westfield Manukau City | Photo credit: Westfield

18. Check out the Māngere Bridge Toy Library

Visit the Mangere Bridge Toy Library which is open on Tuesday mornings during school terms at Mangere Bridge Punket Rooms to see if a toy library would be good for your family.

Find out  Why you should join a toy library?

19. Test your putting skills out at Mini Golf

Visit Treasure Island Adventure Mini Golf for a fun family game of mini golf on their 2 separate 18 hole courses. They are located next to Butterfly Creek and are very close to Auckland Airport.

20. Burn off some energy at the trampoline parks

Go and burn off some energy at Gravity‘s giant indoor trampoline park in Manukau. There is lots of connected trampolines, a ninja warrior course, basketball hoops, tramp walls, running walls, foam pits and an area just for the under 5’s too.

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