Autumn leaves in full regalia, an abundance of apples, mandarines and persimmons, olives ready to be pressed for oil, and grape picking. Could autumn be any more appealing?!
1. Orchard trip out to Boric Food Market, Kumeu
Visit this beautiful orchard in north-west Auckland where you can taste some of the best apples on offer. Varieties like Braeburn and Golden Delicious, full of flavour and good memories, taste amazing when they are freshly picked and are such a rarity (it seems that Ambrosia and Sweet Tango are the only apples on offer these days!). If you have littlies, there is ‘Toddler Tuesday’ held each week with super cute activities such as face painting, toddler yoga, crafts, and apple picking.
2. Park walks
Choose your parks for autumn colour and head out while they are still in full splendour. Autumn winds seem to have a energising effect on young children who love to run and kick their way through the leaves. Your children can play on the playground, you can feed the ducks together, and watch the Eels wriggling in the water at Western Springs Park. Otherwise you could enjoy a picnic and watch the farm animals (cows, sheep and roosters) at One Tree Hill.
3. Fish & chips on the beach
You have only a few weekends left to enjoy the beach before winter temps make it a tad too dismal, for picnics at least (there’s nothing better to blow out the cobwebs than a brisk walk along the beach on a clear winter’s day). Mission Bay is a good spot for a picnic as the well-regarded Hook Line & Sinker takeaways is located just a few minutes down the road. Careful though, the seagulls are waiting to steal your chips!
4. Cornwall Park Café
Nestled among the autumn trees, Cornwall Park Café is a fantastic spot to warm up with a hot chocolate or linger over autumnal truffle mushrooms or a healthy breakfast bowl. There’s a great kids’ menu too, and with the autumn trees right on the doorstep, the kids will be out the door and burning off their breakfast running through the beautiful fallen leaves.
5. Leaf paintings or drawings
Use the autumn leaves to make some beautiful prints you can proudly display on the fridge. Collect a handful of leaves with your little one and instruct them to paint them with whatever colours they like. When they are happy with how they look, get them to press them onto plain paper. When the leaf is pulled off, it will reveal a beautiful coloured impression. Your child could also get a similar effect by placing leaves under plain paper and drawing over them.
Image from: https://www.shutterfly.com/ideas/art-projects-for-kids/
6. Bike tracks
Biking is always the most enjoyable in mid-season weather (mostly because the kids aren’t whining about being too hot or too cold). Western Springs, Mission Bay and One Tree Hill have large walkways, perfect for biking and scootering, and most importantly, they are only a short distance away from many delicious food outlets, in case your little tikes get hungry (or, more likely, you need coffee!).
7. Conker Caterpillars
Your little one could create their own autumn friend in just a few simple steps. All they need is a handful of chestnut conkers (or any autumn dropper that you have in the garden), some pipe cleaners, googly eyes and a skewer. You will first need to use a metal skewer to create holes in the middle of each conker. Tie the end of a pipe cleaner and let your children thread the conkers through. Use a large conker as the head and bend the end of the pipe cleaner into two small antennae, or tie it to create a mouth. Once done, your children can stick on googly eyes and make any final touches (paint, stickers, glitter, you name it). You and your kids could also make these caterpillars using string to create a pull-along friend.