What to do around Auckland Airport

Nobody seemed to provide a proper review online. So we shall.

We had 24hours around Auckland airport after sending a friend off at 4am. We googled, and drove off. Here’s the tried-and-tested experience. For your considerations please.

n.b.1: The places visited are planned in an optimal route, so you can just follow

n.b.2: Our camera crashed, and we woke up really early to drive from Auckland city centre to the airport. So pardon the fuzzy unkempt pics by the iPhone.

Pre-activity 1: Get a car from the car rentals at the airport

You’ll need one. It’s worth every penny to maximise your day. We went with Budget, who gave us a clean and new Toyota Corolla hatchback with a filled tank.

Pre-activity 2: Get a warm drink from the space van outside the airport. Set off!

1. Mangere Mountain (6am)

Tip: Google maps directed us to a random road near the foot of the mountain. We had enough of hiking (Read: 6 tips: Chase wombats in New Zealand’s Tongariro Hike), so we navigated ourselves based on the side road shown on Google map, to reach the carpark near the peak. Ascended in ease.

It’s windy, it’s peaceful. Recommended.


2. Ambury Regional Park (7.30am)

Peak view of Ambury farm from Mangere Mountain

We saw a sheepdog herding his sheep (See video @11min: Surprises, fireworks and love videos: Auckland & Taupo). Lots of barn swallows swooping, strolling ducks, active chicken in the coop and a bull. There’s a camping area, and you might meet some campers having their picnic breakfast.

Wide open fields with fresh air and calm animals. Recommended

3.Onehunga Cafe (10am)

Brunch: Ordered fish N chips, with a chicken and dukka salad.

Nice food. Hip old school ambience. Recommended.

4. Dress Smart outlet shopping (11.30am)

It’s only a 100m stroll from the Onehunga Café. Don’t judge its dowdy logo. Dress Smart turned out to be a decent shopping place with known clothing brands. Way better than the Westgate Outlet Centre (Auckland) which we went while we were still in the city centre.

Opening hours: 10am-5pm

Dress Smart outlet shopping near Auckland airport

5. Villa Maria winery (2.00pm)

We coincidentally selected and bought Villa Maria’s wine from the major supermart a few days ago. At the winery, there wasn’t much to see or do. It’s interestingly located within an industrial estate. You get to wander around some vines, and there’s one fancy restaurant. That’s about it. Didn’t plan to go, but we seriously had loads of time.


6. IBIS Auckland Airport naptime (3.00pm)

10mins walk from the airport, 5 mins drive. It’s located in a tiny estate with restaurants, supermarts and some shops. But we lazed in our hotel, had our warm showers, watched cable tv and unknowingly napped because it seemed like we’ve done a lot for the day…

7. Szimpla dinner (6.00pm)

Must go! Delicate interior furnishings, with yummy food and friendly staff.

Even if you’re just around the airport, head down to Szimpla bar/restaurant. Highly recommended.

8. Sleep again, and back home to Singapore (7.30pm)

Szimpla is a stone’s throw walk from IBIS Auckland Airport. Nap before dinner. Dinner and slept. Sloth days.

We drove off to the airport early the next day. You can try the airport Burger King’s King Brekkie. Quite awesome, and fits my child palette.


What else did you guys do around Auckland airport? Let me know!

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