……and here we are again…almost summer….almost Christmas!

WOW!!!  Franklin is once again showcasing a great deal of things to do and places to be over the next few weeks – just to start the summer season!!

Our area is quite a vast rural one, on the outer edges of what is now the Auckland Supercity, (not too far from the airport) but also taking in the Northern edge of the Waikato region, so we do have lots around – the west and east coast beaches are great for surfing and swimming (when the weather is fine), but also fantastic to walk along and take in the sounds, smells and sights at this time of year.

Port Waikato beach
Port Waikato on the West coast
East coast beaches in summer
East coast beaches in summer

Right now we can also enjoy (well many of us can!!) a long weekend with fun times at the local Glenbrook Vintage Railway. This weekend is their opening weekend for the season and there will be fun aplenty for all ages,, including a country market day on Monday! gvr-steam-train-and-engine.jpg

Our local Pukekohe Performing Arts group will help bring back memories of a bygone era with their production of “Grease,” showing until  Sunday.

Then there’s the local markets, an Orchid fair and the amazing Blast to the Past at Waiuku!

Heaps of great accommodation choices too – motels, hotels, campgounds, B&B’s – you name it!! along with dining experiences of all sorts!

If that isn’t enough to get you interested, then just wait and keep an eye out for more happenings in the region – including the V8 Supercars – only a matter of weeks away now!!! and with Christmas looming ever closer, there’s always the Christmas display to help get into the swing of things to come .

bersanti day spa

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Franklin’s A – Z continues……

Well………………..I managed to resurrect my post from a few years ago about the A – Z of Franklin Country, and only got up to the letter M which I re – posted onto our facebook page………….

so, now I can make an effort to continue with the alphabet of Franklin, starting this time with the letter N –

letter Nis for  New Zealand Steel who own the Steel mill at Franklin’s Glenbrook.

Although there has been some talk of the Steel mill closing, as there is  and has been off and on for many years,   according to Wikipedia, which was last updated in March of this year – Currently, the mill produces 650 000 tonnes of steel a year which is either domesticity used or exported. Over 90% of New Zealand’s steel requirements are produced at Glenbrook.

Public tours are available by arrangement – and a very interesting tour they do!!

and  thanks to the generous support of New Zealand Steel, the NZ Steel galleries in Franklin: The Centre, Pukekohe, provide a flexible exhibition space with international-standard facilities for art works. Well worth a visit for the likes of the recently held Franklin Arts Festival .

letter Ois for one of our many wonderful places to stay – Orua Bay Beach Motor Camp & Accommodation, which is  nestled in the tranquillity of the countryside on the northern shore of the Awhitu Peninsula, on the shore and in the centre of a beautiful 3km sandy beach, north-facing (for all day sun).

Onewhero Golf Club – one of our many good golf courses which is open dawn to dusk and is a mature course  of 18 holes, set in the fertile Franklin area, with volcanic free draining soil, that means the course is rarely closed. Areas of native bush on the course attracting native pigeons.

Letter-PPort Waikato Holiday Park – another of our regions great holiday parks where you can  enjoy a true kiwi summer holiday  experience – just the way it should be.

The Port Waikato  area of Franklin region, is a well-known surfing and whitebaiting destination and a popular holiday spot as well as being one of the few places dinosaur fossils can be found in New Zealand.

Pukekohe Golf ClubThe best course in Auckland (and it’s here in Franklin)- in our humble opinion! It is normally in such good condition that it deserves the title.

We also have the Pollok Arts & Crafts Co-op where you can purchase original arts and crafts mainly from the Awhitu Peninsula. These range from fine art, glassware, ceramics, jewellery, fabric art, right through to cards and organic foodstuffs.

letter Qis for Quality Caterers – our local catering company, specialising in wedding catering, spit roast catering and so much more.

letter Rfor our wonderful Red Shed Palazzo – a place just off the southern motorway at Drury where you can sit back, relax and enjoy the wonderful food, gardens and let the kids have fun on the swings. You’ll enjoy tasty innovative cuisine in a laid-back environment and also serves delicious coffee. The fully licensed cafe has Steinlager Classic, Macs Gold on tap and a full range of Mount Riley wines.

Our region also boasts some great history links with the like of Rangipo Museum and  the Rangiriri Heritage Centre & Cafe

letter Sthis has GOT to stand for our famous “Spookers” attraction!!! The one and only  scare yourselves silly site, where they will try to scare the yell out of you! and New Zealand’s only haunted attraction theme park.

We also have one of the fine dining locations here at Simunovich Estate’s Bracu Restaurant

plus one of our many wonderful B&B’s – Springcurl Lodge, an affordable luxury B&B and deer park, who are a pet friendly accommodation.

letter Tis for our reserves and parks – Tamakae Reserve in Waiuku with it’s bit of history : Legend has it that two prominent Wai O Hua brothers, Tamakae and Tamakou, vied for the hand of a beautiful high ranking Waikato chieftainess.

and Tapapakanga Regional Park, which has a rich Maori and European history.

For many centuries Täpapakanga was an important dwelling place for the Marutüahu iwi, especially Ngāti Pāoa and Ngāti Whanaunga.

 In those days Tāpapakanga supported several large ka – inga (villages) each with extensive ku – mara and taro cultivation. Archaeological sites on the park,  include three Māori pā, storage pits (rua), terraces (tūāpapa), shell middens (ahu ota ota) and ovens (umu) as well as stone heaps indicating extensive riverside gardens.

…tis the season

pohutukawa imageSooo – we have now reached THAT time of year again!
The time when all things celebratory (? is that a word – I’ve just checked and it is!) and Christmassy seem to start happening.

First on the agenda in Franklin is the kids favourite (and big kids too, me thinks!) – Thomas and Friends at the Glenbrook Vintage Railway.
Thomas and friends
The whole family will have a great day at the GVR –

Special fares apply – Adult $25, Child $10, Family $65.

The fare covers the train ride to Fernleigh & return, the ride behind Thomas, plus children’s activities which includes face painting, story telling etc.

Sir Topham Hatt the Fat Controller will be in charge & joining Thomas will be Bulgy the Bus, Rusty & depending on availability some other characters. This a great day out for the family.

NEW! Catch a SPECIAL TRAIN SERVICE from Papakura to Glenbrook for a GOLD COIN DONATION (goes directly to STARSHIP FOUNDATION).

From Papakura to Glenbrook – Dep. 9.15am, 10.35am, and 12.45pm.

From Glenbrook to Papakura – Dep. 11.50am, 1.50pm, 3.15pm and 5.05pm

with thanks to PBA for the photo
with thanks to PBA for the photo
Our own Pukekohe Business Association, along with the V8 Supertourers, are running a driver signing event in the Pukekohe town square on Thursday November 28th from 5:00 p.m. This will be a great family evening with the race cars lined up from Edinburgh Street to Hall Street. What a way to get up close and personal to the mighty V8 Supertourer cars and drivers! “Entertainment is booked from 5pm-6pm with FREE Childrens activities and performances. The cars and their drivers will be arriving from 6pm. This will be in anticipation of Round 7 kicking off in Pukekohe on Friday 29th November til Sunday 1st December.

The Parade will start at the racetrack and proceed down Manukau Road, loop up Massey Ave to the top of King Street and proceed down to the road closure area between Edinburgh Street and Hall Street. The cars will be parked up for viewing between 6pm and 8pm, and the drivers will also be signing autographs at this time.

P1000355Now’s the time to check the diaries and think about all of those local Christmas parades – celebrating the coming of Christmas 2013.
Tuakau’s parade will be in that typical Tuakau style on Saturday 30th November, and Pukekohe will have their parade day on Sunday 1st December, with the theme of “a very Kiwi Christmas” so that should be worth a look! Clevedon will have a parade on Saturday 14th December from 3:00 p.m to 4:00p.m and there is also a great time to be had at the Pukekohe Park Raceway‘s “Christmas at the Park” on December 4th. The area is spoilt for choice as to which event to go to – or else it will be a fun-filled couple of months really getting into the spirit of Christmas and heading to everything!!
Christmas is now a matter of WEEKS away – scary thought really, and that time will go in a flash, so we may as well get out there and ENJOY!