The southern suburbs of diverse city have some of the best venues to experience local artworks, community events and getting back to nature.
1. Mangere Arts Centre
Cnr Orly Ave and Bader Dr, Mangere, ph (09) 262 5789.
We love this place for its wide range of fabulous shows, its great exhibitions and its community gatherings and events. Breathing new life into an already vibrant area, the Mangere Arts Centre gets two thumbs-up.
2. Te Tuhi Centre for the Arts
13 Reeves Rd, Pakuranga, Manukau City, ph (09) 577 0138. Open Mon-Fri 10am to 4pm, Sat-Sun 10am-4pm. Free.
Te Tuhi is an outstanding contemporary art gallery presenting exhibitions and projects by New Zealand and international artists. They also have a wonderful education programme and provide a strong focal point for the community.
3. Auckland Botanic Gardens
102 Hill Rd, Manurewa, ph (09) 267 1457.
Winter hours, 8-6pm.
Home to more than 10,000 plants from New Zealand and around the world, this is a great day out for the whole family. The permanent collection of artworks and sculptures is truly a sight for sore eyes. The library and cafe are also both worth stopping in for a browse and a tea-break respectively.