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    West Auckland Revisited
    Kate Methven - 15/02/02

    An update from a previous article on things to do, places to see and shopping malls in this popular area.

    Most of West Auckland is within the boundaries of Waitakere City - the first eco city in New Zealand. The local council, under mayor Bob Harvey - just re-elected for a third term - is committed to protecting the environment and making the area a clean, green’ place to live and work. It's obvious the locals are fully in agreement with its policies.

    Outdoor activities
    Most visitors to West Auckland are attracted by the wide open spaces, beaches and the wonderful bush covered Waitakere Ranges. Those of you interested in surfing, swimming, tramping etc check out my first article for a general overview - West Auckland - An Area Not To Be Missed.

    New activities

    The organisers introduce you to abseiling under showering moss and fern, covered waterfalls, jumps and caves as you explore a beautiful narrow canyon - not for the faint hearted !! Check their websites for details - or

    Take a Hike
    This company offers spectacular bush and coastal experiences including guided 2 - 4 hour walks, lunch in a country or beach cafe and a visit to a local winery.
    Check them out on

    Kiwi Valley
    This company has just won the award for best tourism attraction - Waitakere Eco City 2001. Here you can get lost in the Kiwi Valley maze, visit the on-site farmyard and equestrian centre, experience an argo ride or relax at the Last Straw Cafe.
    For further details check

    Model World
    This is a must for small and big kids interested in playing with models. One large two storey building has a model railway set to die for. There are trains of every description going in and out of tunnels, up mountains’ shunting, backing going around in bigger and bigger circles - a paradise for modellers.

    The man behind the project Merv Smith was a local radio personality until he retired a few years ago to play with trains. He told me he hadn't realised what an undertaking it would be, but is well satisfied with all the hard work that has gone into it when he sees the faces of the children mesmerised with it all.

    There is another building with model boats which do their tricks on a small indoor lake or move outdoors to the larger artificial lake. A model train takes visitors around the outside park to get an overview of everything.

    Artists Trail
    West Auckland is a popular retreat for many talented artists. A new brochure has now been produced - Art Out West - which gives details of an Artists and Artisans Trail. There are potters, goldsmiths, textile artists, glass workers, painters, sculptors, woodturners and more.

    Brochures are available from any of the Auckland Regional Visitor and Information Centres.

    The two major shoppping malls in the area have now been revamped and upgraded.

    Lynnmall New Zealand's first mall, built in 1963, has had two recent facelifts. In 1999 at a cost of $60 million a new western wing was added with forty new shops bringing the centre up to 30,000 square metres. Currently an additional $4 million is being spent on re-arranging some of the shops.

    It is interesting to note that this mall was

    • the first mall to be airconditioned -in 1987
    • the first to introduce Sunday trading - in 1991
    • the first centre to become smoke-free - in 1994.

    West City Henderson has just completed another facelift adding a further wing called the street with thirteen additional shops plus an Asian foodcourt and a cinema complex. The total area is now 28,600 square metres with 130 tenants.

    Westgate Shopping Centre, a third shopping complex, has been built at the northern end of the North Western Motorway. This is an uncovered complex extending over an area of 38,000 square metres with over fifty tenants and includes a unique craft centre with four hundred craft booths under one roof.

    Places to Stay
    Be pampered by locals who offer the hospitality of their homes plus information about the area. Recommended are
    Rangiwai LodgeTitirangi
    Email: - three minutes from the local village, cafes, artcentre, etc.

    Palm Heights Homestay - nestled in the foothills of the Waitakere Ranges

    Grenvilles Bed and Breakfast
    - award winning accommodation in Piha close to the surfing beach.
    Fax 09 812 8870

    Waitakere Park Lodge Scenic Drive Waiatarua
    - quality accommodation with restaurant and bar facilities

    The good news about this area is that, even though the population is growing requiring more and more facilities, the local council's City Greenprint sets out directions for development which include

    • reducing waste through re-use
    • conserving water
    • recycling and waste reduction schemes
    • establishing a green network to link natural areas throughout the city
    • encouraging eco development.
    These strategies together with strict building codes will ensure that the clean and green image of West Auckland remains.

    Published with permission from NZine