What to see and where to go
Helensville, a historic town perched on the southern edge of the Kaipara Harbour is a quiet visitor backwater with an extraordinary array of adventure sports to offer visitors. From skydiving to zipping through a forest or leisurely cruising one of New Zealand’s major waterway systems the area has plenty on offer.
Helensville is a town in the North Island of New Zealand. Located 40 km from northwest Auckland boundary the town is connected to Waimauku 16 km to the south. The town is part of the Kaipara Harbour and the Kaipara River flows through the town.
WHAT TO DO, HIGHLIGHTS
- Tree Adventures is an adrenaline adventure in the treetops or ziplining your way through the forest.
- Kaipara Cruises, FLOAT AWAY on Kaipara River Cruises. This is a great way to visualise one of the southern hemisphere’s largest harbours, to visit Dargaville and enjoy a traditional method of transport.
- Parakai Springs: Home hot water spring complex with water sports, cafe and private pool facilities
- SkyDive Auckland is New Zealand’s best tandem dive operator. Ready to throw yourself out of a perfectly good plane? Redefine freedom and escape reality at Skydive Auckland with the highest tandem skydive in New Zealand at a thrilling 20,000ft.
For a small town, Helensville is home to two museums. The Helensville Museum houses a regional collection of memorabilia, photographs, objects and equipment telling the story of the district. The Helensville Railway Museum has a purpose built outdoor display of Helensville’s rail heritage. Managed by volunteers the museum is unusually open on Sunday. While the train station is no longer open the actual tracks continue to support Kiwirail freight trains.
A wealth of activities in the privately owned forest from horse trekking, sandpit motorbike trails, mountain bike park and Woodhill 4WD park.
The forest’s boundaries reach toward Muriwai (Auckland west coast beaches) there is no direct access through the forest. The park is open from 9am to 5pm most days, and 10am to 10pm on Wednesdays.
Woodhill forest also caters for several other activities including walking, highwire adventures and Disc (Frisbee) Golf.
Check Woodhill online resource for up to date information.
Shelly Beach is approximately 20 minutes from Helensville and is popular to fossick for shells, watch birds, stroll or fish off the end of the long wharf. A bonus is The Jetty is a local favourite and also a licensed café. There is a small camp ground at Shelly Beach.
Waipiro Bay/Te Rau Puriri Regional Park, South Kaipara Peninsula
Another 45 minutes from Helensville is Te Rau Puriri Regional Park.
The undeveloped park has poor access yet one of the best beaches on the Kaipara Harbour and a dune filled Lake Rototao (Ototao). The fresh-water dune lake is the largest of a series of lakes on the South Kaipara heads and is adjacent to Papakanui Split and the park’s working farm. The Waionui Inlet is the home of the endangered fairy tern bird.
The area currently does not have good access or signage for visitors.
An authentic remote, austere and underdeveloped regional park.
- Helensville: Yours to Discover.
- Popular TV series ‘BrokenWood’ has the former Helensville post office as the local police station. It is a beautiful 1911 building.
- A&P SHOW
WHAT TO DO WITH KIDS
- Skydiving for older kids, whose got the adventure vibe to jump out of a plane
- Tree adventures for all age groups
- Parakai hot pools
WHERE TO TAKE THE BEST SELFIE
- You screaming (with joy) as you tandem jump from plane
- Kaipara Plant Centre viewpoints and sculptures
- Tree Adventures ziplining
WHO TURNED UP AND NAMED THE PLACE?
- Te Awaroa, Maori for The Longer River Path. In the 19th century timber miller John McLeod named his house Helen’s Villa (wife’ name) and the rest is history.
WHAT KEEPS THE PLACE TICKING?
- The main street has the elements of a rural settlement with heritage buildings (some in need of restoration), a few vacant buildings and strong community spirit. The area
- 2,747 (2018)
- A great weekend destination for Auckland or a place to linger and explore the district for road trippers on their way North.
TRAVEL PACK INFORMATION
- Helensville visitor brochure (2011) it is not up to date, will be checking for a more recent online version.