The Auckland region is a treasure trove of heritage gems, and the long days of summer are a wonderful time to explore them. We've chosen our favourites for you to check out with your family and friends.
1. Te Kōpuke or Tītīkōpuke / Mount Saint John
Nestled in Epsom, Te Kōpuke is in one of the lesser visited mounts of Auckland’s volcanic field. Peaking at just 126m above sea level, it'll take only 20 minutes to walk up and around it.
It is a historical pā site, so keep an eye out for archaeological features, including kumara pits and terracing. There are multiple entrances to this maunga, including on Mt Saint John Avenue, so make sure you take a map!
2. Puhoi Village
With its first European settlers being Bohemian immigrants in 1863, Puhoi Village retains much of its old world charm thanks to its pretty heritage buildings.
Found 50km north of Auckland, visitors can step back in time at the Puhoi Bohemian Museum in the Covent school, explore the Church of Saints Peter and Paul, and the Puhoi Town Public Library, built in 1880 and 1913 respectively.
As you explore, look out for the Wayside Shrine erected in 1953 for the settlers of Puhoi. Round off your day by quenching your thirst at the Puhoi Hotel, built in 1879.
3. McCahon House
Colin McCahon is one of our most celebrated modern artists. His home in Titirangi was where he created some of his best-known works, inspired by the landscape around him.
Today, this secluded spot is a museum open Wednesday to Sunday, offering first-hand stories about McCahon and his life in 1950s Auckland.
While in the area you could also take some time to visit the Lopdell Precinct, an arts and culture facility located in Titirangi Village, including Lopdell House and Te Uru Waitakere Contemporary Gallery.
4. Waitawa Regional Park
Located 50km from central Auckland, Waitawa is made up of three small peninsulas and fronts onto four bays, along the region’s south-eastern coast.
Although better known as a recreational park, this land holds deep significance for Māori. It is a traditional boundary between Te Urikaraka (Ngati Paoa) and Ngati Kohua (Ngai Tai – Te Waiohua), and has a long history of human occupation.
The Pawhetau headland has spectacular vistas towards Pakihi and Ponui Islands. It is a historic pā site with incredible intact ditches, kumara pits and terracing.
5. Pah Homestead
Built in the 1870s, the Pah Homestead, was the ‘gentleman’s residence’ of James Williamson and was the largest house in Auckland at the time.
Today, it remains largely intact, while its surrounding grounds of Monte Cecilia Park boasts spectacular trees and harbour views.
The Homestead was opened as the home of the TSB Bank Wallace Arts Centre in August 2010, and offers top-notch exhibitions and community events.
Bonus: The Wintergarden
The Cool and Tropical Houses that make up the Wintergarden in Auckland Domain were opened in 1921 and ’28 respectively in commemoration of the Auckland Industrial, Agricultural and Mining Exhibition held in 1913-14.
Spectacular plants can be seen in each of the two barrel-vaulted Gummer and Ford-designed glass houses which face out on to an extensive courtyard and sunken pool.
Summer opening hours are Monday to Saturday 9am to 5.30pm, with a later closing on Sunday at 7.30pm.