Franklin District, NEW ZEALAND


  1. I love the down to earth, humble nature of the people who live here. We’ve found the community easy to break into and make friends, with a strong focus on family support which for us as new parents has been really important. Thankfully house prices are still reasonable out this way which has brought people in a similar situation to ourselves to the area, looking for that quarter-acre section and good primary schools without breaking the bank.
  2. The scenery is of course a draw card. I can't imagine not having sheep paddocks down the road or a selection of local beaches to choose from.
  3. The produce out here is second to none and when you have a chef for a husband, these things matter! We have well known places like Mercer Cheese (too cool for a website) and Clevedon Oysters as well as several vineyards, but the real key is to discover all the little farm gate stalls or honesty boxes dotted around the district - feijoas, figs, damsons, artichokes, organic tomatoes or heritage beans - all grown locally for a fraction of the price than you’d find in the supermarket.



It wouldn’t be Auckland without stopping by a cafe first, so I’d take them to the Butchers Shop Cafe in Patumahoe, or maybe to grab some bread and a coffee from Albert’s Kitchen in Pukekohe – definitely the tastiest fresh bread around. Clark’s Beach is another favourite destination and Vintage Cafe in Waiau Pa on the way do lovely sandwiches, and is definitely worth a stop.

If it’s a weekend you’d have to stop at one of the markets in the area. Favourites include Pukekohe market, a bustling market with fruit & veg, honey, jams, breads, as well as carboot and bric-a-brac.


Pokeno market on a Sunday is a similar deal but does have the added benefit of an ice cream shop across the road with a ridiculous amount of flavours to choose from, and even the option of a 16-scooper (can you tell I like to eat?).


Clevedon boasts a lovely market if you’re a foodie, with plenty of Auckland artisan producers on show.

The Franklin District is full of history and Glenbrook Vintage Railway is a huge favourite for my kids. You can’t beat the lovely older ladies wearing their pinnies selling tea and ice cream.

If we’re feeling adventurous we might head down to Port Waikato for yet another slice of grand scenery, or I’ve always been keen to check out Nikau Cave , complete with glow-worms.


Tawhitokino is a lovely hidden spot nearby.


Leave plenty in your budget for petrol as you’ll be driving a lot! And pack lunches for any day trips – the cafés in the smaller towns are often closed by early afternoon, or, like Awhitu, there won’t be a cafe at all.

Visit the Manukau Heads Lighthouse on the Awhitu Peninsula. The view up there over the Manukau Heads is just spectacular.

Trains are regularly running into Pukekohe but after that you’d be pretty well stranded, aside from the (very) occasional bus. If you can, hire a car.

Learn the road rules – too many tourists get into trouble on our roads and Kiwi drivers aren’t particularly sympathetic.

  1. Eat Here Now, is a well established blog reviewing restaurants around Auckland and occasionally further afield. Great place to find new and interesting places to eat.
  2. Check out Gather & Hunt for a well rounded guide to Auckland.