Wrights Water Gardens

Wrights Water Gardens is a private garden developed around the historic Mauku waterfall and quarry.

The gardens are located 128 Mauku Road, Patumahoe and are open October through May, Wednesday to Sunday from 10am to 4:30pm. During the winter months (June to August) the gardens are only open weekends.

There is also a café, gift shop and nursery onsite. The gardens are a popular venue for weddings and private functions.

Adults are $12, Seniors $10, Children $6. Dogs on a leash are most welcome.

The Mauku waterfall and stream is the focal point of the gardens. Back in the 1800s there was a huge waterwheel located at top of the waterfall, which powered a nearby flax mill. This was dismantled in 1869, and the area became a popular picnic spot for locals.

Following the Second World War the land was turned into a rock quarry. After the quarry was abandoned the site was left unkempt with rubbish and weeds growing for the next forty years.

Mauku waterfall

Mauku waterfall

The quarry was developed into a 4 acre garden, which opened in 1992. Numerous pathways and bridges weave through this the magical garden.

The Hardy Waterlilies flower around September finishing late March. Tropical waterlilies start flowering in mid December finishing in May, and the Lotus start following in late December finishing in late February.

As well as the water gardens there are several special features including a wedding lawn, rock garden, boulder garden, Oriental garden, wishing well, and the Balinese Temple, a Buddhist temple.

The new owners of the gardens have also placed various sculptures and statues throughout the gardens.

Wedding Lawn

Wedding Lawn

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Balinese Temple

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The Kentish Hotel

The Kentish Hotel is a historic hotel, pub and restaurant in the historic township of Waiuku, south of Auckland.

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The hotel is located at number 5 Queen Street, Waiuku.

It was built in 1851 by Edward Constable. It was granted a liquor license in 1853, which means it has the honour of having the longest continuous liquor license in the country.

The hotel has hosted many dignitaries over the years, including the Māori King Te Whero Whero, Governor Sir George Grey, Prime Ministers Richard Seddon, Sir Joseph Ward and William Massey.

The Kentish survived a fire in Queen Street in 1926. While the fire destroyed a block of wooden buildings opposite, the hotel was saved by volunteers who hung wet sheets over the hotel’s façade.

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I stopped for lunch here a couple of Sundays ago and unfortunately it was a disappointing experience. The service was cold, impersonal and slow (in their defence they did have a party of 9 and 6 to be served ahead us). When the food did arrive the presentation was poor.

If in Waiuku definitely check out this historic building – maybe just have lunch elsewhere. Or maybe you will have a better experience – have you been to The Kentish Hotel before let me know in the comments what you thought.

Glenbrook Vintage Railway

Glenbrook Vintage Railway is a heritage steam railway in Glenbrook, south of Auckland.

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The Glenbrook Vintage Railway runs on a 7.5km portion of the old Waiuku Branch line, which opened in 1922 and closed in 1967.

The railway is run and maintained entirely by volunteers. The volunteers are dressed in uniforms based on New Zealand railway uniforms from the early 1900s.

At the station souvenir paper tickets can be purchased from the ticket window, a variety of cold and hot food and drinks are available from the refreshments room, and souvenirs can be purchased from the station bookstall.

I recommend arriving early to see the train being coupled.

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Trains depart at 90 minute intervals: 11am, 12:30pm, 2:00pm and 3:30pm. The return trip takes approximately 65 minutes.

Passengers can either travel in the rich wood-panelled carriages or in the open viewing cars – smell and breathe in that coal smoke!

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After approximately 20 minutes the train will stop for 10 minutes at Victoria Avenue, Waiuku. Passengers can disembark here and explore the historic township of Waiuku and catch a later train back (1pm, 2.30pm, 4pm).

On the return journey the train will stop at Pukeoware Workshops for approximately 15 minutes where passengers can look at locomotives and other stock under restoration.

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Adults $20, Child (4-14) $10, Under 4s are free. There family pass and group concessions available as well.

Trains run Sundays and most public holidays from late October to early June. Occasionally they host special events, such as Thomas the Tank Engine themed days.