With old fortifications, tunnels and guns this is every little - and big - boy's dream. If you follow the yellow markers, just to the right of the main gate, you'll end up on a cliff via tracks you never knew existed. There are also amazing views over the Waitemata Harbour.
Awhitu Lighthouse Rd, off Manukau Heads Rd, Awhitu Peninsula
It's a bit of a drive out to the end of the Awhitu Peninsula but worth every minute of it. You'll find trees bent over from the constant westerlies, beautiful and almost deserted beaches on the eastern side and stunning views from the lighthouse over the mouth of the Manukau Harbour.
Tahuna Torea, Glendowie
Tahaki Rd, Wai O Taiki Bay, Glendowie
Peace and tranquillity in the city, in 25ha of wetlands, a lagoon and masses of birdlife. Great views across the Tamaki River towards Bucklands Beach, and a network of walking tracks.
Otuataua Stonefields, Mangere
56 Ihumatao Quarry Rd, Mangere South
Volcanic rock from thousands of years ago lies scattered across farmland, and the remains of stone structures dating back to early Maori settlement are still visible. Laced with walking tracks, it's a great place for the kids to run free, while their parents enjoy the views across the Manukau Harbour.
Kitekite Falls, Piha
Glenesk Rd, Piha
It's an easy stroll through native bush to these beautiful three-tier falls. Another track takes you to the top of the falls, and there are small pools perfect for taking a dip in. Look for the notches in the rock where the Glen Esk Dam was built for taking kauri out of the bush 100 years ago.
- With thanks to Julie Crean