I recently had an email from a very kind lady offering to write about Franklin,and here it is – I think that she has covered it very well, so a big thanks to contributor, Suzanne Dear
A Guide on What to Do in Franklin Country
Few places in New Zealand can match Franklin for the diversity of activities it offers its locals and visitors. Whether it’s enjoying some motor sport or horse racing, shopping for antiques or fresh produce, or wandering in the countryside or city, Franklin has a little bit of everything to ensure every visitor finds something to do. The area consists of a number of towns, including Pukekohe, Tuakau, Pokeno, and Manukau City, amongst many others, which means that the exploring never has to end whether you’re a local or visiting.
Visitors to Franklin Country can reach the region by flying in to Auckland Airport and making the 50 kilometre journey south by car or public transport. Travelling to the region by public transport may not be as straightforward as one would hope during weekend and Public holidays, at present, however reaching the various towns of Franklin Country will be much more straightforward if traveling by car, and so it’s worth looking at rental cars before your trip. Before signing the agreement to rent a car, be sure to check what the rental does and doesn’t include – extras, such as navigation systems, are likely to be extra but will make getting around much easier. Also ensure that the car is properly covered against accidents or breakdown; driving in a foreign country can take some getting used to, especially when driving through busy cities, and it’s equally important to be properly protected in case of breakdown in more rural areas where help might not be instantly available.
Things to Do
Pukekohe Park Raceway (located in Pukekohe) offer both motor and horse racing throughout the year. There are a total of 14 horse race meetings from October to July, each tied to a particular theme that turns the race into a real social event. Car lovers can attend V8 Supercar and Supertourer events to see their favourite fast cars up close and personal, whilst those that wish to get behind the wheel and try the track for themselves can attend track days or take the advanced driving courses offered by Pukekohe Park Raceway.
Get a taste of local Franklin life – literally and figuratively – at the Franklin Markets, which take place on Saturday morning in Pukekohe and on Sunday morning in Pokeno. The selection of offerings range from the usual excellent, locally produced fresh produce, jams and preservatives, hot food and drinks, clothes, jewellery, flowers, and arts and crafts. If you only buy one thing, make it some fresh hot food – it’s excellent, and was even voted by the NZ Herald as number 14 of must try foods before you die. But whatever you’re looking to buy, a weekend stroll around the markets is what Franklin is all about, and shouldn’t be missed.
Franklin Country’s beautiful rural location may it an ideal place to into nature and get active. Visitors to the town of Waiuku can choose from a couple of kayaking trails for their adventure that both take several hours to complete. The kayaking isn’t strenuous, but always be careful when on the water and remember to wear life jackets at all times. However, the water is calm, and there are several stopping points along the routes to take a break and enjoy lunch. Alternatively, stay dry by enjoying one of the many pleasant walks available in Franklin; visitors can choose from light bush walks or scenic walks around lakes. For a taste of Franklin’s beauty and for more activities (including hiking and cycling), visit the Hunua Parkland, which features thousands of acres of open land and even camp sites.
Franklin has a rich artistic community that produces a host of excellent work throughout the year. These are showcased – along with national artists – at the Franklin Arts Centre. Located in Pukekohe, the Arts Centre is Franklin’s cultural hub, and visitors can easily spend an afternoon feeling thrived in the modern building that was built in 2007; the site has two exhibition rooms, an art shop, and a workshop space.