Auckland Guide

Auckland: Good spot to fly high and go for a spin

From biking to climbing to golf, Auckland Airport’s The District buzzes with adrenalin-fuelled fun, discovers Donna McIntyre.

If, like me, you make the trip to Auckland International Airport usually only to catch a plane or to meet someone flying in, think again. There’s a mini-city close to the airport that includes many fun activities.

By: Donna

 

Runway Mountain Bike Park

Ignoramuses that we are – two adults, two teenagers – we had no idea the airport’s The District includes Runway Mountain Bike Park, offering free-to-ride off-road trails. The route loops about 5km, and more trails lie within the park, which resembles a big overgrown paddock. Varying terrain allows novices to grow their ability. Accomplished bikers will relish bumps and tree stump obstacles.

We’re impressed. The tracks are good as they are … but there’s lots of potential, too. We’d love to see more natives planted. We used Natural High‘s hire bikes, but you can bring your own. And parking’s free.

Teen verdict: Loop track is the preference; fat air and a jump.

JK’s World Of Golf

Backtracking to our check-in airport assignment, we collect a decent-sized bucket of golf balls, a driver and iron from JK’s World of Golf front desk and proceed to whack the hell out of those little white balls. A few attempts get us into the swing of things and I start calling myself Tigress Woods. If you’re keen, sign up for lessons.

Teen verdict: Fun, a few good shots to be proud of.

 

Villa Maria

After the exertion, we relax at Villa Maria’s Ihumatao Vineyard. Again, our blinkered, outdated view of the area means we’ve never ventured out to this South Auckland’s jewel. The grounds are magnificent and we tour the sustainable winery before settling in for a Vineyard Cafe lunch.

A 35-minute self-guided walkway overlooks the 40ha property’s manicured greenery; and during the winery/bottling plant tour we view the harbour and Otuataua Stonefields. Overseas travellers often leave baggage at the airport and head to the winery for their last hours in New Zealand. Clever them. This may be our first visit but it won’t be our last.

Teen verdict: An understated “really good”. (Their smiles say more than their words.)

Backtracking to our check-in airport assignment, we collect a decent-sized bucket of golf balls, a driver and iron from JK’s World of Golf front desk and proceed to whack the hell out of those little white balls. A few attempts get us into the swing of things and I start calling myself Tigress Woods. If you’re keen, sign up for lessons.

Teen verdict: Fun, a few good shots to be proud of.

 

Rocket Ropes

Day two, Rocket Ropes. I marvel at my husband’s and the boys’ agility as they confidently negotiate the rope course.

My experience starts and ends on the first plank. Guide Brian assures me I have the skills to complete the course. I like that he’s encouraging but not insistent. Another time perhaps, but I enjoy spectating, especially watching the kids who easily negotiate the course followed by apprehensive parents giving it a go so they share the experience.