My Auckland: Manly

Pip Field and her husband tell Diana Clement why Manly is the ultimate place for the kids to grow up Kiwi.

Doug MacIntyre and Pip Field with their children Duncan (9) and Alex (6) at Stanmore Bay Park. Photo / Natalie Slade
Doug MacIntyre and Pip Field with their children Duncan (9) and Alex (6) at Stanmore Bay Park. Photo / Natalie Slade

Pip Field and her husband Doug MacIntyre returned to New Zealand in 2010 after 18 years living in Britain. Their desire to recapture the laid-back lifestyle of their youth took them to Manly in Whangaparaoa where large sections, feijoa trees, and lazy days at the beach are still the norm. They came back with British-born Duncan, 9, and Alex, 6.

"Manly has a very strong community feel to it. It's very family-oriented and it's very easy to live here. You see a lot more kids playing out in the streets than you do in built-up suburban areas in other parts of Auckland. To get to school the kids go through a hole in the back hedge.

"We wanted to be near the coast because it reminds us of what it was like growing up in New Zealand. Duncan and Alex love lifting rocks and finding crabs and generally scrabbling about. They're in seventh heaven at the beach.

"Another great thing about Manly is all the birds. We had a pair of mating kaka hanging around last year, you could hear them shrieking to each other, the male did acrobatics from branches.

The kids loved it, and so did we. Tui are also in abundance, and fantails, as well as all sorts of other birds.

"One reason we like living here is the proximity to the north. We are half an hour from Waiwera and Wenderholm (Regional Park) and can get to Matakana and Leigh easily."

Pip and Doug's picks

Manly Park Reserve: "There is a great playground at the reserve and lots of open space. There are trees for the kids to climb, a track to cycle around and it's great for dog walkers who congregate there. We go down there with fish and chips and have a picnic." (Laurence St, Manly.)

Shakespear Regional Park: "It's at the end of the peninsula. The Shakespear Open Sanctuary Society and volunteers are helping to turn this park into a predator-free haven. It has beach, it has bush, and it has peacocks roaming around by the picnic area. It is very peaceful and a safe place for the kids to swim." (Access from Whangaparaoa Rd.)

Tindalls Bay: "When the tide is right out at Manly we like to walk around the headland to Tindalls Bay. The kids can't believe you can walk there. They're really UK kids, not Kiwi kids yet and our life here is a real eye-opener to them." (Access from The Esplanade, Manly.)

Hibiscus Coast Football Club: "Both Duncan and Doug belong to the club and Alex is going to play next year. Doug is in the over-35s and Duncan plays ninth grade. The club is very popular with the British ex-pat community and Doug and Duncan both wear their Chelsea club strip. The kids can play in the playground while Doug's on the field. There is also a bar in the clubrooms for those all-important post-match discussions. The grounds are in a stunning location right next to Stanmore Bay beach." (Ph: (09) 424 3160. 152 Brightside Rd, Stanmore Bay.)

Manly Sailing Club: "Duncan is doing Waterwise this year and is learning to sail in Optimist dinghys. We are keen for the kids to join the sailing club as they get older." (Ph (09) 424 3770. 65 Laurence St, Big Manly.)

Stanmore Bay Leisure Centre: "Our children have their swimming lessons there and it is fantastic for a public pool. It is always clean and well presented." (Ph (09) 424 1914. 159 Brightside Rd, Stanmore Bay.)

Surplus Paradise: "Manly is about living, not shopping. But we do like Surplus Paradise. It's far better than the $2 Shop. If you have a good fossick you come out with armloads. Food, stickers, colouring books and other things for the kids especially. You invariably find something you didn't know you needed." Ph (09) 428 2096. 675 Whangaparaoa Rd, Stanmore Bay.

Sparx Cafe: "Sparx is one of our favourite local cafes. It's always buzzing and popular with all the locals, young and old. It is run by a friendly local Kiwi family. The coffee is excellent and the lunches good. The muffins and scones are scrummy." Ph (09) 428 2211. 54 Rawhiti Rd, Manly.

Jambalaya Southern Kitchen: "Jambalaya is owned by a couple from Georgia (US). It has a casual atmosphere and the owner wanders round in his jandals. Fantastic buffalo wings and pork ribs." (Ph (09) 424 7201. 8/49 Rawhiti Rd.)

- NZ Herald

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