Auckland Photo News on Flickr© Auckland Photo News on Flickr
Auckland Photo News on Flickr

10 Best Things to Do in Waiuku

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Waiuku Activities You Can’t Miss

When heading south from Auckland, don’t leave without visiting the charming heritage town of Waiuku. Waiuku is not only packed with interesting features itself, like a vintage railway, vintage buildings and a golf course, but it’s also the gateway to the striking coastal area of the Awhitu Peninsula! A road trip up the Awhitu Peninsula is well worth it to discover attractive beaches, a boutique vineyard and the picturesque Manukau Heads Lighthouse. Find out more information on the attractions that await in this list of things to do in Waiuku!

When you’re done experiencing Waiuku, be sure to discover more Auckland hidden gems in our 20 Auckland Parks You Can’t Miss. Plus, see what there is to do in the nearby Pukekohe here.

1. Spend the Day in the Awhitu Regional Park

This small regional park on the shores of the Manukau Harbour is packed with activities from walks to mountain bike trails to great places to kayak if you have your own equipment. Check out the historic Brook Homestead or stay the night in the campsite.

Location: 33km (20.5 miles) north of Waiuku. Drive up the Awhitu Peninsula and through Matakawau. Turn right down Brook Road all the way to the Awhitu Park.

russellstreet on Flickr© russellstreet on Flickr

2. Visit the Manukau Heads Lighthouse

The most popular picture spot in the Waiuku area has to be the wonderful Manukau Heads Lighthouse! The picturesque lighthouse is one of the few accessible lighthouses in the country where you can go inside and check out the inner workings! Plus, the views are sensational looking out to the coast and the brilliant blue waters. Discover more lighthouses worth visiting around the country in our 10 Loneliest Lighthouses in New Zealand.

Location: 40km (25 miles) north of Waiuku just off Manukau Heads Road.

Auckland Photo News on Flickr© Auckland Photo News on Flickr

3. Check Out the Charming Architecture

Waiuku is often described as a “vintage town” and you’ll definitely see why as you start exploring the town centre. Pick up a heritage trail map from the Waiuku Information Centre to get locations on all the highlights, such as the Waiuku Town Halls, the church, original National Bank, Arkle’s Building (1863) and so much more! You’ll see buildings built as far back as 1851.

Location: Waiuku town centre.

GPS 56 on Wikipedia© GPS 56 on Wikipedia

4. Visit the Waiuku Museum

Check out the vast collection of Maori and European artefacts and learn all about the history of Waiuku and its surroundings at the Waiuku Museum. The museum has a small entry fee of around NZ$3 per adult. Open Wednesdays 10am-12pm and Weekends 1.30pm-4pm.

Location: King Street.©

5. Go to Karioitahi Beach

The west coast black sand Karioitahi Beach is a must-see! The beach stretches as far as the eye can see making it ideal for blo-karting, horse riding, 4×4 driving and more! Local activity providers will hook you up with all the gear you’ll need. Plus, the beach is great for surfing too! Find out more over at Where to Find Black Sand Beaches in Auckland.

Location: 8.5km (5.3 miles) west of Waiuku. Karioitahi Road.

Dirtymagic86 on Wikipedia© Dirtymagic86 on Wikipedia

6. Try Some Local Wine

The Awhitu Peninsula has its very own winery and vineyard at Awhitu Wines. Pop in for tastings with spectacular harbour views!

Location: 40km (25 miles) north of Waiuku. 31 Greenock Drive, Grahams Beach.

Pixabay© Pixabay

7. Ride a Vintage Train

Feel like you’re back in time by riding the Glenbrook Vintage Railway’s steam and diesel trains on a 15km (9-mile) scenic journey of the Manukau Harbour. [Update: the steam train is currently out of service. Only diesel train tours are running.] Trips depart on Saturday, Sunday and Monday. Alternatively, take the kids on Thomas the Tank Engine during special day events.

Location: Glenbrook Station Road.

GPS 56 on Flickr© GPS 56 on Flickr

8. Walk or Cycle in the Waiuku Forest

This commercial forest with a pine plantation has recreational areas for walks, mountain biking, picnicking and fishing. Popular walk and bike trails include Alders Bell Road link, the Beach Trail, Gilpin Walton link and the Cowell Bush Track.

Location: 13km (8 miles) south of Waiuku. Access is via the gates on Wilson Road or Ghezzie Road.

Good Free Photos© Good Free Photos

9. Carve Your Own Greenstone Pendant

Yes, you don’t have to travel to the west coast of the South Island to carve your own traditional Maori greenstone pendant! It can happen right here in Auckland! Join a jade carving workshop and make yourself a meaningful souvenir.

Location: Cabbage Tree Cottage, 60 West Coast Road.©

10. Play a Round of Golf

A great day or afternoon outside is at the Waiuku Golf & Squash Club. Visitors are welcome to give the 18 or 9-hole course a try with reasonable green fees. Enjoy playing on tree-lined fairways with lots of hidden challenges to keep you on your toes. Alternatively, Awhitu Golf Club offers a usually quiet round on a 9-hole course beside Awhitu Regional Park. Enjoy views of the Manukau Harbour and sit down for a meal in the clubhouse on Friday evenings or Sunday afternoons. Add these courses to your New Zealand golf club bucket list, along with these 21 Best Golf Courses in New Zealand.

Location: Racecourse Road.

Pixabay© Pixabay


The information in this guide has been compiled from our extensive research, travel and experiences across New Zealand and the South Pacific, accumulated over more than a decade of numerous visits to each destination. Additional sources for this guide include the following:

Our editorial standards: At NZ Pocket Guide, we uphold strict editorial standards to ensure accurate and quality content.

About The Author

Laura S.

This article has been reviewed and published by Laura, the editor-in-chief and co-founder of NZ Pocket Guide. Laura is a first-class honours journalism graduate and a travel journalist with expertise in New Zealand and South Pacific tourism for over 10 years. She also runs travel guides for five of the top destinations in the South Pacific and is the co-host of over 250 episodes of the NZ Travel Show on YouTube.

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