With no shortage of recreational activities within easy reach of Milldale, residents are spoilt for choice when it comes to lifestyle offerings by the coast. There’s plenty to do, from the walks and cycle tracks in the area including Te Ara Tahuna the Ōrewa estuary shared pathway, to a round of golf at Wainui or seaside adventures including swimming, surfing, sailing, fishing, and diving. With 13 beaches within 20 minutes’ drive of Milldale plus access to the many Islands of the Hauraki Gulf, this area of the Hibiscus Coast truly is nature’s playground. For a taste of local culture, head along to The Estuary Arts Centre or Centrestage Theatre, or support local artisans at the weekend markets. There are so many reasons to love Milldale – which one will you pick?
Wainui Golf and Function Centre
Close to Milldale and nestled among the 80-year-old pine trees and rolling hills, Wainui Golf Club offers a unique setting and challenging rounds for players of all levels. The 18-hole Puddicombe course has pristine golf surfaces, five tee deck options, and varied shot options from the tee with multiple layup areas all on sand-capped fairways. The 9-hole Orchard course works its way through a Feijoa orchard, perfect to improve your short game or introduce your family and friends to the game of golf. The 300-metre-long driving range has a fully grassed tee deck with seven target greens, catering to the longest hitters. Take advantage of the purpose-built instruction, fitting, and teaching facility, offering video and flight scope technology to custom-fit equipment and give accurate shot information in a perfectly controlled environment, no matter what the weather. Book a tee time or a golf lesson, make a dinner reservation, reserve a space for a private function, or browse the golf shop. Enjoy a garden-to-table (Wainui to plate) meal paired with boutique local wines in The View Eatery with an expansive panoramic view to be enjoyed over the champion course.
At the intersection of Stages 2, 3 and 4, Waterloo Reserve offers an abundance of space to relax, stroll, run and play, amongst grassed areas, native planting, and the gentle flow of Waterloo Creek. The circular reserve creates a natural hub at the centre of three stages, bordered by Milldale’s first Neighbourhood Centre, and just a short walk from Milldale Primary School.
Situated on the eastern coastline, the immaculate Ōrewa beachfront is a gem of the stunning Hibiscus Coast. The expansive, flat stretch of golden sand is 3km long and is a magnetic drawcard for swimmers, dog walkers, joggers, as well as a local hotspot for beginner’s surfing, picnicking families, kitesurfing, windsurfing, kayaking, or just as a great weekend spot to soak in some sun. Enjoy an end-to-end walk at low tide, including heading around to Hatfield’s Beach. There’s plenty of parking, great places to grab a bite over the road, plus the surf club patrols the beach with a safe swim spot marked out and plenty of community activities on offer. Pick your choice of water sports, bring some goodies for the BBQ area, or have fun on the adventure playground and basketball pad. Don’t forget to take in the view at the Ōrewa lookout at the north end of the beach, for stunning views overlooking the beach.
Te Ara Tahuna Pathway
Te Ara Tahuna or the Ōrewa Estuary Pathway is a pretty 7km flat loop walk, great for walkers, dog walkers, and cyclists. Starting from Millwater means Orewa is halfway around for a cafe stop. The route loops around the beautiful Ōrewa estuary, exploring the natural and historical significance of the area. Enjoy estuary views while spotting wildlife, paddle boarders and kite surfers. The wide sealed path is suitable for all fitness levels and is an excellent route for families riding with children on bikes or scooters. The path features Māori carvings as tributes to the estuary’s past as a significant food gathering place for Māori. You’ll pass the Estuary Arts Centre and Ōrewa Skate Park, a stand-out spot to gather and try out your latest tricks.
The Estuary Arts Centre
Overlooking the beautiful Te Ara Tahuna estuary pathway on Hibiscus Coast Highway in Ōrewa, enjoy a culture fix with a visit to the Estuary Arts Centre: a creative hub for the community with a stunning view. A community-run art gallery and centre that provides a focal point in the Rodney District for the visual arts, the Estuary Arts Centre is a local treasure trove. Exhibitions in the galleries change monthly, so there’s always plenty of new art to see. There’s something for everyone on offer with classes designed to suit a wide range of abilities, including adult courses, after-school sessions, and school holiday classes. Learn to print, paint, sculpt, embroider, make pottery, find a gift, make seasonal crafts, and more all in unique surroundings. There’s even a cafe on site to enjoy a caffeine fix and fuel all that creativity.
Ōrewa Beach Farmers Market
Sunday mornings are for market browsing. Sink your teeth into a meltingly fresh pastry at the Ōrewa Beach Farmers Market, where local farmers and growers meet up for the weekly market in Ōrewa Square. Locals and visitors alike can enjoy the opportunity to purchase locally produced goods, fresh produce, and other items in a friendly and relaxed market atmosphere. Experience what Rodney District producers and growers have to offer, from a wide range of farm fresh organic produce to flowers, fruit, vegetables, herbs, plants, and free-range eggs. Enjoy great coffee and a bite to eat, relaxing live music, and the beauty of beachside Ōrewa.
Ōrewa Artisan Markets
Held in conjunction with the Ōrewa Beach Farmers Market is the Ōrewa Artisan Markets, held twice monthly right nearby at the Ōrewa community centre. A family-friendly affair that welcomes dogs too, enjoy browsing quality artisanal products made by hand using brand-new, recycled and upcycled materials. Meet the makers of the unique handmade creations on offer in your local neighbourhood. Find something unique as you browse the varied stalls, whether to take home for yourself or as a gift for someone special.
Ōrewa Surf Life Saving Club
Ōrewa Surf Life Saving Club provides essential surf lifesaving services to Ōrewa and the surrounding areas. The club has a long history, and has been protecting the community in and around the water since 1950. A wide variety of services are on offer for the community, including surf lifesaving patrol right on the beach, first aid, new patrol member training, competitive lifesaving, junior surf lifesaving, and an information hub of essential statistics for the community such as water quality and local beach tides. Sunday mornings at the club sees the popular foundation junior program training on the beach with an emphasis on fun and building confidence. An extensive club building redevelopment is underway, to meet the needs of this growing community.
For a meal, ice cream or a cold brew with a spectacular view, the on-site Club Beach House Eatery is the spot to be. Boasting the best eatery view in Ōrewa and located mere metres from the water’s edge, this coastal-themed, family-friendly, and casual dining spot caters for all tastes. Specialities include chargrilled steak, chicken wings and burgers, with fresh fish delivered daily plus a kids’ menu on offer. You can even grab a coffee as you pass on your Sunday morning beachside stroll.
Centrestage Theatre is a vibrant hub for the Hibiscus and Bays communities, providing top-quality entertainment and a popular venue well accessed by the community. The only purpose-built community theatre in the wider area, it showcases local talent and produces a broad range of musical and theatrical shows for a fun night out. Pick from a broad calendar of events, including local school productions, events for babies and pre-schoolers, and Centrestage Youth Theatre productions. Whatever your area of interest, this is the place to get involved in theatre, whether onstage, offstage, backstage, as part of the creative team, front of house, wardrobe, or props. Performing arts classes are also on offer for a fun, creative and welcoming environment for children to grow their performing arts skills. Centrestage Theatre also runs a popular sponsor-a-seat programme for local individuals and businesses to offer their support.
Wenderholm Regional Park
Picturesque Wenderholm Regional Park is situated between the mouths of the Pūhoi and Waiwera rivers and is surrounded by a forested headland, the large Te Akeake sandspit and saltmarshes. The very first and arguably the most beautiful regional park in Auckland, it’s a short way north of Ōrewa. Go for a swim at the family-friendly beach or pick from the many trails and bush walks to enjoy, then spread a picnic blanket and enjoy the large grassy picnic areas shaded by historic pohutukawa trees, with on-site BBQs on offer. The rich Māori and European heritage of Wenderholm is celebrated by the Maungatauhoro Te Hīkoi Heritage Trail and the historical homestead Couldrey House and Gardens. The area is also a sanctuary for native birds. There’s even an on-site boat ramp to launch the boat and head off on an adventure, or for something different, kayak or stand-up paddle board up-river to historic Pūhoi.
Puhoi River Kayaks
Why not try a river-based trip to enjoy the unique local scenery. Puhoi River Kayaks offers a leisurely un-guided paddle along the Puhoi River; an 8km length of gentle river going with the tide from the inland historic Bohemian village of Puhoi to scenic Wenderholm Regional Park. Enjoy a fun adventure for family, friends, or work teams, catering to all ages and fitness levels. Make your way through native bush, farmland, and the mangrove forest, spotting herons, pukekos, kingfishers and other birds as they flit in and out of the trees. Kayaks, buoyancy aids, paddling instruction, local river knowledge and a courtesy coach from Wenderholm back to Puhoi are all supplied. Enjoy a picnic once you arrive in Wenderholm, or opt for a catered lunch in Puhoi, with options including the iconic Puhoi Pub, the Puhoi General Store and the Puhoi Valley Cheese Cafe. Puhoi River Kayak trips are open from September to May, weather and tide dependant. During summer, beach kayak hire also operates at Wenderholm.
Shakespear Regional Park
An open sanctuary integrating conservation, recreation and farming in a prime spot at the tip of Whangaparāoa peninsula, Shakespear Regional Park boasts a range of sheltered bays, pretty walks for all fitness levels, a lookout with magnificent 360-degree views of Auckland city and the local islands, and regenerating native forest. The park integrates conservation with public recreation and farming and provides a pest-free habitat and a safe home for native wildlife. Enjoy all kinds of land and water activities including picnicking, camping, fishing, windsurfing, snorkelling and even diving around the wreck of the SS Wainui at the western end of Te Haruhi Bay. Plants, animals and birds including White-faced herons (matuku-moana), stilts (poaka) and occasionally dotterels (tūturiwhatu) frequent the tidal flats of Ōkoromai Bay. On the northern side of the park, the regenerating forest of Waterfall Gully is home to native pigeons (kererū), tui and bellbird (korimako). End the day with a walk through Waterfall Gully where the glow worms (titiwai) put on their evening display.
Delve into a local shopping experience in the heart of Silverdale, providing handy shopping right near Milldale. Enjoy a unique coastal lifestyle shopping destination, conveniently located in the Silverdale Retail Precinct at the junction of all major arterial routes along the Hibiscus Coast. There’s a great range of stores on offer, from fashion, food and beach gear to homewares, books, and gifts. Large format stores are also on offer, including Farmers, Kathmandu, Briscoes, Rebel Sport, Noel Leeming, and The Chemist Warehouse. Take part in Silverdale Mall’s calendar of seasonal events and community groups, including school holiday performances or bubs connect, a weekly meet-up slot for caregivers and their little ones to forge connections. It’s the only venue in Auckland to offer a free Justice of the Peace service, seven days a week.