Helensville is a town in the Auckland Region of New Zealand, 40 km from Auckland city. It sits on the tidal Kaipara River, at the southern end of the very large Kaipara Harbour. It has a population of about 3,000. The smaller settlement of Parakai is 3 km to the north-west, and has a popular natural thermal aquatic centre and a skydiving airfield.
- 1 Visitor Information Centre, 5 Commercial Rd (inside Art Stop Cafe), ☏ . M-Sa 10AM-4PM.
From Auckland take the Northwestern Motorway then continue on State Highway 16.
Two-hourly bus services (route 125) connect Helensville with Westgate in western Auckland.
- 1 Gibbs Farm sculptures, 2421 Kaipara Coast Hwy, Makarau. Once a month, 10AM-2PM. A private sculpture park in farmland. Has about 30 sculptures by well known modern artists including Sol LeWitt, Andy Goldsworthy and Anish Kapoor. Open one day a month, usually a Thursday. Booking required and you may need to book about six months in advance. Free.
- 2 Helensville Railway Museum, 2 Railway St. W-Su 10AM-3PM. $3.
- 3 Helensville Pioneer Museum, Riverside Reserve, Mill Rd. W Sa Su 1-3:30PM (closed mid-Dec to early Jan). $5.
- Ali-Kat Charters. Fishing charters on the Kaipara Harbour.
- Kaipara Cruises. Three-hour to two-day cruises on the Kaipara River and Kaipara Harbour. The farthest cruises go to Dargaville, at the northern end of the harbour.
- Mataia Walks. One-day or two-day walks through farmland, saltmarsh wetlands and coastal forests, where there is an active ecological restoration project, and a population of kiwi. In conjunction with Mataia Homestead (see Sleep section below).
- Mt Auckland (Atuanui) walkway, Glorit (about 30 minutes drive north of Helensville). Walk 3.5 km (1 hr 45 min) each way through regenerating native forest to the summit (305 metres), where there are panoramic views of Kaipara Harbour and Hoteo River estuary.
- 1 Parakai Springs, 150 Parkhurst Rd, Parakai. Su-Th 10AM-9PM, F Sa 10AM-10PM. Natural thermal water pools, indoor and outdoor, big waterslides.
- 2 Skydive Auckland, 76 Green Rd, Parakai (West Auckland Airport (Parakai Airfield)).
- Woodhill Forest, off State Highway 16 (3 km south of Helensville). Daily 8:30AM-sunset. Has a bike park where children learn how to ride on tracks amongst the trees. Other activities in the area include BMX trails and racing and a huge high ropes course set in the forest called Tree Adventures (bookings recommended). There are 8 courses to do and it can take 2-4 hours depending on skill and fitness.
- Mataia Homestead, 2791 Kaipara Coast Highway, Glorit (23 minutes drive north of Helensville). Accommodation in the homestead and in a cottage.