Something For Everyone

There’s something for everyone, from days out with the kids at the Auckland Zoo or MOTAT, to more sports-oriented activities, like football and golf, to something more culturally inspired at Auckland’s Performing Arts Centre.

Auckland Zoo

Next year marks the hundredth anniversary of Auckland Zoo, and in that time there have been major changes. While the days of the chimpanzees’ tea parties or rides on the back of an elephant are over, the 16-hectare zoo, next to Western Springs Park, is still home to over 1400 animals from 135 species. 

The animals are generally grouped into exhibition areas by region or origin with tracks and pathways for visitors through the different areas. Follow the African Safari Track and see species like giraffes, zebras, ostrich, meerkats, rhinoceros, lions, flamingos, baboons and cheetah in enclosures that resemble their natural habitats.

Along the Australian Bush Track, you might spot wallabies, emus, lace monitors or a Tasmanian devil. Look up in the South East Asia Jungle Track, in case there’s an orangutan or siamang passing along the aerial pathways. 

As a wildlife conservation organisation, Auckland Zoo puts its energy into building a future for wildlife, with conservation, research and education all part of its public programme. Visitors can enjoy events, keeper talks and behind-the-scenes experiences.

The zoo also has a good selection of cafes and restaurants, as well as picnic areas if you’d rather bring your own lunch.

Museum of Transport and Technology (MOTAT)

This is another great day out for the whole family. MOTOT, next to the zoo, tells the story of Kiwi innovation and ingenuity – through over 300,000 items in its collections. Exhibitions cover the history and development of NZ transport and technology.

These collections are curated into exhibitions on a wealth of topics, like Whizz by Scooter which explores what makes this two-wheeled vehicle so much fun. Scooter takes you on a ride through the technology, fashion and culture changes from the ’60s to today.

Love / Science, explores innovation in Aotearoa, highlighting the human stories that inspired it and the science that made it possible, through digital and hands-on activities, film and other elements.   

If you’ve ever wondered what it was like to live in Auckland in the 1800s, this is the place to visit. The MOTAT village brings colonial Pākehā history alive as you explore original cottages, schoolhouse, chapel, washhouse and forge. 

While you’re there, don’t forget to take a ride on the vintage tram through Western Springs Park. 

Western Springs Park

Western Springs is a wildlife sanctuary surrounding a natural, spring-fed lake, one of Auckland’s early water supplies. The lake is a refuge for the native orea (eel), which, along with the birds, are tame and may take food. The eels are part of the cultural and ecological heritage of Western Springs Lake – reflected in the lake’s Māori name, ‘Te Wai Orea’, meaning ‘waters of the eel’.

Around the shores and wetlands, wildfowl including native Pukeko, Teal, Australian Coot and Shovelers paddle amongst regenerating native plants, lawns, gardens and water gardens. There’s even a traditional Japanese garden with a waterfall, pond and tea pavilion close to the park entrance. 

To explore the park, follow the network of footpaths, boardwalks through wetlands, and walking tracks.

Meola Reef Dog Park

This large nature reserve of geological interest, accessed from a car park on Meola Road, covers nearly 15 hectares, with natural mangroves and salt marsh on the landward end. It is also a unique reef habitat for intertidal organisms in the Waitemata Harbour. At the headland is a fully fenced off-leash dog area. Take gumboots as it can get muddy, but it is dog heaven with long grass, a muddy estuary, bushes and trees, and big open fields where your dog can race around with other four-legged friends.

Western Springs Football Club

Western Springs FC has a long history, tracing its roots back to 1923. Its club rooms and home ground are in Seddon Fields, off Meola Road. The club runs Junior and Youth Football programmes, keeping young players involved and enthusiastic. Senior football covers everything from social football in the Auckland Sunday Football Association competitions to the Lotto Northern Regional Football League Premier division.

Boys and girls of all ages and stages can join the skill centre and develop their skills through both term and holiday programmes.

Chamberlain Golf Course

Closer to central Auckland than any other golf course, Chamberlain Park’s 18-hole, all-weather course offers a challenge to new and experienced golfers. One of only two public courses in Auckland, it is open to all comers. Bring your own gear or hire from the pro shop, and practise on the putting green by the clubhouse before teeing off. For those who want to improve their game, lessons with a professional golf coach can be booked. The clubrooms have changing spaces and shower facilities.

The Auckland Performing Arts Centre 

If you’re more interested in arts than sports, do not despair, Point Chevalier is equally well served through The Auckland Performing Arts Centre (TAPAC).

 A vibrant performing arts hub, TAPAC offers creative arts education and facilities, and connects emerging and established artists with space for performance, rehearsal and performing arts education. A partnership between the community, Auckland Council and Western Springs College, TAPAC is a registered charity with profits providing performing arts programmes for the community.

Its theatre hosts over 160 performances a year including co-productions with Auckland theatre companies and an annual October children’s holiday show. The theatre is also available for established and emerging performing artists and community performance groups.

TAPAC participates in festivals including Short+Sweet, Auckland Pride, Fringe, Screenies Children’s Film Festival and Rangmanch International Theatre Festival.

 It also runs performing arts classes and holiday programmes for children and teens, and offers the community access to four performing arts studios and a professionally managed, purpose-built theatre that seats up to 160.  

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Contact Elmarie Andrews

021 109 2407