More info He pārongo atu anōVisit website
Largely uninhabited by Māori due to its tricky terrain, Birkhead was originally home to missionaries, kauri millers and gum diggers. Later came fruit growers and, in 1884, something even sweeter. The establishment of the Colonial Sugar Refining Company – the country’s main supplier of sugar – was a boon for the small village and brought many workers to its shores.
For a taste of this history, learn about the now-iconic Chelsea Sugar Refinery and its seaside estate. Watch how raw sugar is made on an immersive tour, treat the kids to café sweets or learn to bake delectable treats at the Edmonds Baking School. Let the kids burn it off at the playground or extend your visit with a scenic family picnic.
Walk around Birkenhead’s picturesque village that nods to its slogan – “village with a view”. You’ll find sunny vibes, hip eateries and bars with a pension for craft beer. Dine on a sunny patio or even in a refurbished villa – looking at you, Moxie. Beer aficionados can sip one-of-a-kind brews at several watering holes – Birkenhead Brewing Co is a local favourite.
Venture into the wild through the city’s only ancient inner-city rainforest. Hear the singsong of tūī and spot pīwakawaka (fantail) on the Wai Manawa (LeRoys Bush Reserve Walk), which meanders through native forest, along a boardwalk and even a wee waterfall. Nature-lovers can also feast on ferns, nīkau palms and rock gardens at one of Birkenhead’s hidden gems, Fernglen Native Plant Gardens.
Walk, bike, board or blade your way through Birkenhead War Memorial Park, another bush-clad landscape with walking trails, playing fields, a playground and a popular skate park.
Location Te wāhi
BirkenheadPlan your route
Getting there Te huarahi ki reira
Birkenhead is a 15-minute drive to the city centre, and accessible by ferry and bus.
Local tip He tīwhiri mō te rohe
Kendall Bay is a hidden gem with lookout points and a secluded beach. Find it via the Kauri Point Centennial Path – the walk is reasonably steep so wear appropriate footwear.