South Auckland is one of the truly multi-cultural urban areas of the world, with Pacific Island nationalities being particularly strongly represented among its residents. There are over 55 different ethnic groups that make up the population of this unique urban area, with people from Europe, Asia, and the Americas here.
The resident population of Manukau City in the 2001 census was 283,200. It is now believed to be in excess of 310,000 making Manukau one of the fastest growing areas in New Zealand. It has welcomed more than 5,500 new residents each year since 1996. The Howick and Manurewa wards accounted for 60% of the growth, with the remainder spread evenly amongst the remaining wards.
Manukau's diverse population makes it unique. It has over 55 different ethnic groups represented. Manukau has the highest proportion of Pacific Island residents (25.6%) of any New Zealand city. In some cases, there are more Pacific Island residents living in Manukau than there are on the Pacific Islands that those residents originate from.
Also of interest is the age spread of Manukau's population. Manukau has a large proportion of people under 25 years of age (41.9%) making it a urban area with a very strong young population.
- 1 Auckland International Airport. The main international gateway to New Zealand is at Mangere in South Auckland.
South Auckland is served by the Southern and Eastern train lines from Britomart Transport Centre in Central Auckland. The Eastern line terminates at Manukau. The Southern line continues on to Pukekohe. The Northern Explorer service from Wellington calls at Papakura.
- 1 Papakura railway station. Major station
- Intercity Coaches stop in Manukau City on the way to Central Auckland from Wellington, Gisborne, Rotorua, Palmerston North and New Plymouth.
- Public buses throughout the area are operated by Auckland Transport, including connections between Auckland International Airport and the major suburbs.
Fullers run a ferry approximately once every two hours from Central Auckland to Half Moon Bay. The journey is about 40 minutes long.
Auckland Transport (AT) is responsible for public transport buses and trains across South Auckland.
- 1 Auckland Botanic Gardens, 102 Hill Rd, Manurewa (366 bus from Manurewa or Manukau station). Daily 8AM–6PM (Oct–Mar to 8PM); cafe 8AM–4PM. Over 10,000 different plant types, both natives and exotics, spread over 64 hectares. Free.
- 2 Butterfly Creek, 10–12 Tom Pearce Dr (10–15 minute walk from airport terminals). Daily (except 25–26 Dec). A tropical butterfly and moth house. Any time is good to see the butterflies but the best time is on sunny mornings. The butterfly house is warm and humid. Also has a few crocodiles and alligators, tamarin monkeys, dinosaur display, tropical aquaria, farmyard animals, a train for the kids and a cafe.
- 3 Howick Historical Village, corner of Lady Marie Dr & Bells Rd, Lloyd Elsmore Park, Pakuranga (72C/M or 711 bus from Pakuranga Plaza). Daily except 1 Jan, 25 & 26 Dec, Good Friday and Anzac Day 10AM-4PM. This historical park gives visitors a taste of what life was like from 1840 to 1880. Adults $16, children over 5 $8.
- 4 Maraetai Beach, 206/198 Pacific Coast Hwy, Maraetai, Auckland 2018. 24 hours. Popular local beach for the Southern and Eastern suburbs. The road to Maraetai beach and around the Maraetai Coast Road is popular for driving and motorcycles. Free.
- 5 Otuataua Stonefields. Site of ancient Maori gardens on a low volcano.
- 6 Papakura Museum, Level 3, 209 Great South Road. M-F 10AM–4:30PM, Sa 10AM–3PM. Museum run by Papakura & Districts Historical Society. donation.
- 1 Rainbow's End, 2 Clist Cres, off Wiri Station Rd, Manukau Central (10-min walk from Manukau station & bus interchange). M-F 10AM-4PM; Sa Su & hols 10AM-5PM. NZ’s premier family-based theme park with many rides and attractions. Adult $62, child (2-13) $52.
- 2 Climb Mangere Mountain. An extinct volcano and former site of a pre-European Maori village, overlooking the Manukau Harbour.
- Mangere Town Centre market. Sa 7AM-noon. Just like Otara Flea Market. A good place to buy Polynesian food.
- Otara Flea Market, Otara Shopping Centre, Newbury St. Sa 6AM–noon. Huge selection of clothes, household items and food. Otara has a large Polynesian and Maori population and the market reflects the culture of the area. You can buy Pacific Island music and clothing for example. Well worth a wander around.
- Finn McCools Irish Pub Manukau, 712 Great South Rd, Manukau Central. A great pub with great grub. With a wide variety of food from bar snacks, steaks, & gourmet pizzas.
- 1 Airport Skyway Lodge, 30 Kirkbride Rd, Mangere, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Comfortable airport transfer service and very friendly staff. Car hire possible. $33–89 + motel units available.
- 2 Heartland Hotel Auckland Airport, 14 Airpark Dr, Airport Oaks, ☏ . Closest accommodation to the airport. From $119.
- Kudos Airport Apartments, Unit 40 Kudos Business Centre, 203 Kirkbride Rd, Mangere (3 min from airport), ☏ , fax: . Check-in: 2PM, check-out: 10AM. Twelve serviced apartment suites with 2 bedrooms, fully equipped kitchen and laundry facilities.
Ferries leave from Half Moon Bay for Hauraki Gulf islands and central Auckland.