1: Bubble away

It's still not warm enough for beach swims, so head to the Parakai Springs hot pools instead. Time it for the last Sunday of the month to strike the South Kaipara Food Revolution's farmers market in the new Te Whare Oranga, the community centre converted from the old tavern.

2: Blown away

You can't head up this way without taking a detour all the way west to Muriwai, or Maori Bay or Shelly Beach off South Head (20 minutes from Helensville). There's the gannet colony and Shelly Beach has a boat ramp, fishing, camping and, not long now, swimming.

3: Bike blat

The wonderful forestry trails of Woodhill Forest (open daily 8.30am until sunset) are great for all levels of mountain biking. Plus there are lookouts, walking trails, a lagoon, fishing and swimming. For quieter walks, try Goldies Bush (Constable Rd, Muriwai) or, if you're feeling realling fit, hike up Atuanui (Mt Auckland).

4: History buff

Old-school Helensville town has a virtually untouched main street (check out the grand Post Office), the railway station is still there with a museum (one day, it might have regular trains from the city again). Check out the working railway model (open Wednesday to Sunday, 10am-3pm). This weekend the Helensville Museum has Heritage Week Children's Day (today, 10am to 3pm) with activities and games of yesteryear for the kids to enjoy. Ph 09 420 7881.

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