Last weekend I visited Ambury regional park, a huge working farm in the southern end of Auckland. The farm was out of the way but not too remote. It was rural and restful, and packed with activities to entertain a large group.
Joined by three friends, I had a pleasant bus ride to the farm with scenic views over Mangere harbor and we chattered lightheartedly until hopping off. There was a bit of whining about living cost and stuff, some girly talks and more than a bit of excitement about past and upcoming trips. One of the girls had just returned from Rotorua and the other would soon go to the South island, so we were thrilled to hear about the experiences. We had hardly looked out the windows till the harbor view appeared and I noticed the drop-off point was coming so close. We got off in the middle of nowhere and continued walking to find the park near the junction between Muir Ave and Ambury road.
Ambury park was an immense area with long electric fences surrounding the livestock enclosures. While waiting for some other friends, we strolled around to explore the park. Some paddocks were open for people to walk in. There was a nice assortment of farm animals although each came in a small quantity. Still, the one-hour bus ride to the farm was worthy in a way that we could actually get up close and personal with them. Other than the white sheep being wary of humans, most of the animals here were openly friendly to us.
Somehow Mi bonded with the animals so naturally. She has a bubbly kind of personality, always radiating positive energy which I believe everyone can feel and thus love being around her. The rest of our group didn’t arrive till mid afternoon. They missed the bus once and, while making their way to the park, enjoyed their seaside walk along Kiwi esplanade so much they lingered there for a long while. Anh brought along her lovely five-and-a-half-year-old daughter who is sweet just like her. She carried Bong on her hip so the little girl could touch the horse, and together they fed him with some dry grass from the pasture ground. It was probably Bong’s first encounter with so many farm animals in real life so she was a little overwhelmed. Also the new faces made her more quiet than usual. Still, I guess she had a great time learning and playing. Giang and I took turns to take photos while everyone was making friends with the livestock.
The fun afternoon in the farm went by so fast we only remembered to set up the picnic when the sky turned grey. We laid down a water resistant mat on the high ground by the horse paddock and started enjoying our food. Anh made yummy meat balls and shared her favorite potato chips, while I contributed pumpkin seeds and dark chocolate with almond. By now Bong had felt more comfortable with her Mom’s friends and looked more cheerful. She started initiating some games to bring everyone together and, while walking back to the bus stop, managed to remember all of our names. 🙂
Do you know?
- Ambury Regional Park covers much of the lava field produced by basalt lava flows from Mangere Mountain, which erupted approximately 18,000 years ago during the last Ice Age.
- The park owes its name to Stephen Ambury, an English immigrant who farmed in this area and produced New Zealand’s first shipment of butter for the UK.
- Earlier in March this year, Ambury Park was granted the Green Flag Awards, a prestigious international quality mark that made it one of the best parks in the world.
- Apart from leisure walks, there are also designated spaces for BBQ and cow-milking activities (but need to book in advance).
How to get there?
- By car via State Highway 20 crossing Manager bridge.
- By public transport — Bus 309 leaves the city center (Queen street, K-road, Symonds, etc) every 30 mins. You should get off at at 77 Kiwi Esplanade and continue walking along the promenade before reaching the park at the end of the road.