Onehunga, the gateway to South Auckland, is fast becoming an Auckland suburb to watch.
With an interesting past—it thrived as a timber and passenger port during the 19th century—the area boosts a fair few historic buildings and delightful villas.
Canny urban hipsters are cottoning on to this and swooping in on the prime real estate—it is only 8km from the city centre after all—and a new, hip vibe is permeating the area.
Onehunga doesn’t overwhelm with quantity (yet), but it proudly boasts a handful of quality local cafes and shopping options, making a trip southside well worth putting on the agenda.
Morning, Noon and Night (better known as Onehunga Café), serves delish fare—yup, you guessed it—morning, noon and night! For breakfast we can’t go past their famous crispy chicken waffles drizzled in chilli maple syrup and at lunch we’re all about their fish and chips. The dinner menu features a selection of burgers (anyone for a pulled brisket burg?), po’ boys and shared plates.
Pizza Café Amore
Psst! We’ll let you in on a secret: Onehunga serves some of the best pizza in Auckland town. Pizza Café Amore is Onehunga’s best-kept secret… until now. The restaurant’s thin-crusted pizza is piping hot and oh-so cheesy. You’ll also find all your fave Italian pasta dishes here—hellooo endless options of lasagne, carbonara, fettuccine and bolognese.
The Library Café
If you like grand designs and grand food, check out The Library Café. Built waaay back in 1912, the stunning building was once the local library. The spot is now famed for its all-day breakfast menu, pizzas and burgers, with plenty of vegetarian and gluten-free options. You’ll be pleased to know bookshelves still line the walls of the historic building, making it the perfect pozzy to curl up with a book while you sip on multiple bowls of hot chocolate.
Brick By Brick
Brick By Brick is ya typical, friendly neighbourhood café. While it’s nothing fancy, they do a decent eggs benny and a hearty big breakfast dish. The café’s owner, Soichiro Hara, has Japanese heritage and this can be seen in the menu with fare such as shogayaki ginger pork, chicken katsu and edamame—there’s even sake on the drinks menu!
Hard To Find
Opening in 1984, Hard To Find bookstore was first located in an Onehunga basement—hence the name. Now situated on Onehunga Mall, the second-hand bookstore is much easier to find. However, there’s a high chance you’ll get lost once inside. The quirky two-storey shop is much like a maze, brimming with books of every genre imaginable. Whether you’re into Rowling, Blyton or Archer, you’re bound to find something that tickles your pickle.
Once upon a time Dressmart was the sole reason people ventured to Onehunga. Nowadays, there’s lots of things worth visiting for (as you’re quickly realising). However, the much-loved shopping outlet continues to go strong. A trip to Dressmart will see you overhauling your wardrobe without breaking the budget. Two of our fave Kiwi brands, Huffer and Federation, both have stores here. Ch-ch-check ‘em out.
Onehunga Night Markets
On Monday nights, when the sun sets on Onehunga, Dressmart is home to the bustling Auckland Night Markets. Come with your piggy bank and an empty stomach and brace yourself for a multicultural feast. You find kebabs, crepes and more dumplings than you can poke a stick at. There’s also lots of nick-nacks for sale (sunnies, jewellery and the like), but we’re mostly there for the food #typical.
Onehunga Bay Reserve
The Onehunga Bay Reserve brings good times to families, runners and dogs alike. The council have been hard at work over these ways—a $30 million development was completed at the end of 2015. The project created 6.8 hectares of parkland between State Highway 20 and the Manukau Harbour. The area has it all: beaches, a boat ramp, playground, pedestrian bridges, skate ramp and a lagoon that is home to a family of stingrays (we kid you not).
Want more? Read Pick Of The Precinct: Takapuna.
Image credit: Hamish Melville