Experience Things 30-60 minutes away…
Make Leigh your home base and each day you just need to decide what new adventure you will take.
Listed are places from 30-60 minutes drive from Leigh.
Little Barrier Island – Hauturu-o-toi
This beautiful big island that stands out as you drive into Leigh is an outstanding wildlife sanctuary. Visitors can apply to the Department of Conservation for a permit to visit the island. No landing is allowed without a permit and there are strict quarantine conditions that apply. For more information check out the Department of Conservation website. Leigh is the nearest access and several local boats provide transport.
Kawau Cruises do regular trips to Kawau Island from the Sandspit Wharf. Sir George Grey purchased Kawau Island in 1862 during the time he served as Governor of New Zealand. He introduced many exotic and native plants and animals to the island, including zebra, monkeys, kookaburra, weka, wallabies and peacocks, although some exotic animals are no longer there. He enlarged and remodelled Mansion House which is now in public ownership and restored. There are many good walks including one that passes the remains of the chimney of the copper mine.
The Honey Centre
7 Perry Road, off SH1 south of Warkworth
Just 30 minutes away, the Honey Centre is a great place to watch the bee activity or buy some honey products. It has New Zealand’s largest display of live bees, does educational tours and has a café. They have a good range of honey tasting and their honey is the best in New Zealand. www.honeycentre.com
Dome Forest Walkway
This walkway is 7km north of Warkworth. Begin at the Dome tearooms carpark. From there steps climb steeply for 300m along a narrow road reserve. There are spectacular views at the lookout which is around 1.2 km return. A small grove of kauri trees is just 800m past the summit.The track passes through mixed podocarp and broadleaf forest with views across the Mahurangi Peninsula to the Hauraki Gulf. From the lookout you can continue to Govan Wilson Road. Check for more info on the Department of Conservation website. The Dome Walkway crosses land sacred to local iwi, please keep to the track.
Puhoi is a small country town on the Puhoi River, south of Warkworth. It was originally settled in 1863 by Bohemia immigrants and you can see some of the history, visit a cheese factory, paddle down the river in a canoe or kayak or just enjoy the hospitality at the Puhoi Pub. Visit the Bohemian museum to see the story of its settlement. The Puhoi Church is a century old as is the Puhoi Town Library and the Puhoi Hall. See more on www.puhoinz.com
Te Ao Marama is a Maori Cultural Centre on SH1 north of Wellsford. It offers a comprehensive range of authentic Maori cultural experiences.
The Te Hana Arts Factory with work by Kerry Strongman has a range of his arts and artifacts.
Mangawhai is a seaside destination with the main beach at Mangawhai Heads being an open surf beach with surf life savers during summer. The Mangawhai Coastal Walk is one of the best in the area, but it pays to check the tide first as it begins and returns along the beach. There is a new Mangawhai Museum that has more local information. Mangawhai also has many shops, cafes and a golf course. www.mangawhai.co.nz
This beautiful beach often has good surf. A small quarry has a track each side giving good views of the coastline. A good place to feel totally secluded. There are some easy tracks through the regional park as well with stunning coastal views.
This is a long sandy beach with many shops nearby. Surf life savers work here over the summer months. There are some good walking and cycling tracks. Come off SH1 and avoid the toll and take the more scenic coastal route from Orewa.
Albany and Silverdale
Between Auckland and Warkworth, Albany and Silverdale are the largest shopping areas with a huge number of shops to choose from. They are not far off the motorway and have plenty of parking areas.
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