All posts by Helen

Mangere Bridge Loop Walk

We like to find excuses to head to Mangere Bridge for a walk. The village has a vibrant atmosphere, as the cafes that spill out onto the pavement bring the village to life and there are always visitors. Sunday mornings are market days which bring in extra visitors.

Mangere Bridge loop walk in AucklandOn a fine day the view of the Manukau Harbour is brilliant, and if you are lucky there is interesting bird life to watch. During the summer months, we like to stop and get fresh veggies (and strawberries) from the market gardens in Kirkbride Road.

Today we embarked on a new buggy friendly loop walk that we had overlooked on previous visits. This one starts (and ends, of course) at Mangere Bridge Village, and heads around the harbour edge, under the motorway bridge, partly through the industrial area, along the base of Mangere Mountain and returns along the Kiwi Esplanade.

Description: Mainly level paths, including ramp to bridge over the motorway. Suitable for users of average fitness and mobility.
To see: Views of Manukau Harbour, One Tree Hill, Mangere Mountain; Pukeko and shore birds habitat.
Time: approx. 60 minutes. (about 5.5 kms)
Start: Coronation Road, Mangere Bridge MAP

Stay on track…get your detailed guide and map brochure (AS-109 Mangere Bridge Loop) over at our Walks Store.

 

 

Hobson Bay Circuit

We made the most of today’s fine weather and walked the circumference of Hobson Bay.  Many of our walks touch on parts of Hobson Bay Walkway but to do the full circuit, we needed a low tide (check the tides here).

Hobson Bay Circuit

About half the route is along the busy roads, until we climb the ridge via Pt Resolution Bridge beside the Parnell Baths, to the quiet streets of Parnell and then back down again to the Bay and along the Freda Kirkwood Walkway.

The painting above depicts what can be seen along the route, there is plenty to look at – trains, boats, sheds, birds, mangroves, board walks, beautiful houses; with views of Rangitoto, North Head and Mount Victoria.

We started this walk from Orakei Train Station, but you can choose your own start point at a convenient place along the circular 9km route.

Description: Mostly level paths, with some steep paths and steps. Suitable for most ages and levels of fitness and mobility, designed with flat shoes or running shoes in mind. Can be muddy on the foreshore. LOW TIDE access only.
To see: Boats, trains, beautiful houses, birds, boardwalks, mangroves.
Time: approx. 1 hour 45 minutes (about 9 kms).
Start:  Orakei Train Station. MAP

Stay on track…get your detailed guide and map brochure over at our Walks Store  (AC-108 Hobson Bay Circuit).

Sunday walk in Ponsonby

Due to the weather being unpredictable and grey clouds on the horizon, we decided to play it safe and headed to Ponsonby/Freemans Bay for a walk, knowing that we could always shelter under shop awnings if there was a downpour.

Sunday walk in Ponsonby Copyright 2014 Unleashed Ventures Limited

We were lucky – it stayed dry.  Which also meant that we could observe our surroundings – the beautiful old style houses, the decorated ceilings, the sculptures, the shops and cafes and the trees in Western Park. It’s a changing landscape with always lots to see.

This is a great short walk if you work in Ponsonby and need to get out for a leg stretch. Or if you want to visit on a Sunday, there is lots of street parking available. Or you if you live here and just want to explore. You can start at any point on this circular route. And take a short diversion to Victoria Park Markets if that takes your fancy.

If you are into heritage homes, take a side-trip down Renall Street to view pre-villa Victorian houses built from the 1860’s to 1880’s for lower-income workers.

Western Park is an off leash dog exercise area and has a selection of picnic tables to make the most of on fine days. There is also a fun playground with slides and flying fox.

Description: Mostly level paths, with some steep paths. Suitable for most ages and levels of fitness and mobility, designed with flat shoes or running shoes in mind. Suitable for pushchairs.
To see: Views of Auckland City skyline, beautiful old style houses, decorated ceilings, sculptures, shops and cafes and the trees in Western Park.
Time: approx. 40 minutes (about 4.5 kms).
Start:  Wellington Street, Freemans Bay. MAP

Stay on track…get your detailed guide and map brochure over at our Walks Store  (AC-107 Ponsonby Loop) or find more walks in our books at the Book Store.

Oratia Stream Loop

Oratia Twin Streams walk and cycle wayAt last! Beautiful blue skies and sunshine. A perfect Fathers Day. And of course, a perfect day for a walk. We decided to check out the Oratia Twin Streams walk and cycleway to see if we could include it as part of a fun circular walk. We did it!

New soon to Parrs Park  – a playground is due to open at the end of September. Across the road and along to 474 West Coast Road, is Nola’s Orchard where you can buy fresh strawberry ice-cream in Summer. Oratia used to be a large orchard growing district and it is good to see some reminders of the heritage.

There are a few surprises along the route – wetlands, ceramic sculptures, ceramic tiles and a carved maori pou in honour of Hoani Retimana Waititi. Today we were also blessed with a great deal of bird song.

The walking route is also great for cyclists, prams/buggies and dog walkers (on leash and off  leash dog exercise areas).

It is disappointing that the Oratia walk and cycleway starts/finishes on the busy Parrs Cross Road. We hope that at some time in the future, this will be remedied. Also disappointing, the stream banks are thickly planted out, restricting the view of the stream itself. There is a good choice of picnic tables within Parrs Park.

 The Packing Shed Gallery and Cafe –   Situated in the original packing shed of the beautiful Tara Orchards, which was 100 years old in 2008 it is a reminder of times gone by.  It’s a lovely spot for lunch, Devonshire tea and to enjoy the artwork of some talented West Auckland artists.  99 Parrs Cross Rd Henderson (opposite and to the right from the Cycle and Walkway) Mon – Sunday 9-4

Oratia Farmers Market is open from 9am to 12 noon every Saturday morning at 99 Parrs Cross Road. Find coffee, breakfast, fresh produce and live music.

Dogs – Off leash exercise areas within reserves and parks.

Best of the West - Short Walks in AucklandDescription: Mostly level paths. Suitable for most ages and levels of fitness and mobility, designed with flat shoes or running shoes in mind. Wheel friendly.
To see: native bush, wetland  and stream.
Time: approx. 60 minutes (about 4.8kms).
Parking:  Parrs Park off West Coast Road. MAP

Stay on track…get your detailed guide and map brochure (AW-106 Oratia Stream Loop) over at our Walks Store  or find more walks in our books at the Book Store.

Best walks in Auckland

We don’t really think that there are any best walks in Auckland – they all are great. But to fit each area of Auckland into a handy size book, we did have to choose some of our favourite short walks to share with you, as we could not include them all.

As with all our books, these ones include maps, directions, colour photos plus other bits of information (places of interest, playgrounds, dog off leash exercise areas, cafes, picnic sites).  They will help guide you/and your friends and family, as you discover the hidden gems of Auckland.

These “Best walks in Auckland” books will become available from Amazon and your local Auckland library.

Best of the West - Short Walks in AucklandWe started with “Best of the West“…
 In this edition, we take you on twelve circular short walks that have been selected to give you a good sampling of the diversity of urban West Auckland. Our walks take you from Blockhouse Bay to Henderson, from bush to coast, through reserves and alongside streams, alongside the southern Manukau Harbour and the northern Waitemata Harbour. Available from CreateSpace and Amazon.

Best of the East: Short Walks in Auckland Then we head over to “Best of the East“…
These thirteen urban walks have been chosen to showcase the beauty of East Auckland. Our walks take you from Orakei to Botany; you can enjoy the stunning views of the Waitemata Harbour, the lush native bush, volcano sites and the waterways.
Available from CreateSpace and Amazon

 

 

Best of the South: Short walks in AucklandAnd then onto “Best of the South”.
These twelve urban walks have been chosen to showcase the beauty of South Auckland.  We guide you on walks from Mangere Bridge to Papakura. You can enjoy the stunning views of Manukau Harbour, the lush native bush, ancient volcano sites and the secret waterways that make South Auckland unique.
Available from CreateSpace

Auckland Nature Walks

We have complied four books of short circular nature walks in Auckland that help you to discover volcanoes, native bush and the vast coastal areas. These short walks are great for young children to learn about the environment, to appreciate what they can discover when they go out walking, and to obtain the pleasure of walking.

These four “Nature Walks” books are now available on Amazon and from your local Auckland library.

Volcano Walks in AucklandVolcanoes
The twelve volcano sites that we visit are: Three Kings, Glover Park, Lake Pupuke, Mangere Mountain, Mount Eden, Mount Victoria, Mt Albert, North Head, One Tree Hill, Orakie Basin, Pigeon Mountain and Meola Reef.

Urban Bush walks in AucklandUrban Bush
How many cities do you know that still contain the native bush? The twelve native bush areas we visit are: Bayview, Blockhouse Bay, Dingle Dell, Hillsborough, Le Roys Bush, Moire Park, Oakley Creek, Opanuku Stream, Parnell Albaron, St Johns Bush, Tahuna Torea, Totara Park.

Coastal Walks
From inlets to harbours there are many coastal paths to explore.
coastal walksin Auckland part oneCoastal Part one
The coastal areas we visit are: Ambury Park Farm, Blockhouse Bay Gittos Domain, Churchill Park, Hillsborough, North Head, Northcote Point, Parnell, Remuera to Hobson Bay, Tahuna Torea, Te Atatu Peninsula, Wattle Downs, Wynyard Quarter.

Coastal walks in Auckland part twoCoastal Part Two.
The coastal areas we visit are: Belmont, Conifer Grove, Half Moon Bay, Hobson Bay walkway, Mangere Esplanade, Mission Bay, Onehunga Foreshore, Point England, Point Erin, Takapuna, West Harbour, Meola Reef.

These four “Nature Walks” books are now available on Amazon, The Women’s Bookshop in Ponsonby and from your local Auckland library.

Dog Friendly Walks in Auckland

We have now completed writing up 36 dog friendly short walks in Auckland in three volumes.

Most of these walks include off leash dog exercise areas. We have a full list of dog friendly walks here: Dog Friendly Walks in Auckland

These three “Dog Friendly Walks” books are now available on Amazon and from your local Auckland library.

P1 Dog friendly walks in AucklandDog Friendly Walks – part one” . The 12 places we take you: Big King, Newmarket, Meola Reef, Waiaturua Reserve, Blockhouse Bay, Belmont, Northcote, Wattle Downs, Highbrook Park, Churchill Park, Macleans Park, Moire Park.

 

P2 Dog friendly walks in Auckland“Dog Friendly Walks – part two”. The 12 places we take you: Mt Eden, Hobson Bay, Western Park, Heron Park, St Johns, Blockhouse Bay, Le Roys Bush, Bayview Bush, Totara Park, Glover Park, Whau River, Glen Eden.

 

P3 Dog friendly walks in AucklandDog Friendly Walks – part three”. The 12 places we take you:Parnell, Hobson Bay, Onehunga, Grey Lynn , Westhaven, Unsworth Reserve , Bayview, Otara, Cascade Walkway , St Johns , Hobsonville Point and Henderson.

These three “Dog Friendly Walks” books are now available on Amazon and from your local Auckland library.

 

Papakura Inlets Walk

Papakura Estuary Walk Copyright Unleashed Ventures Limited 2014It was low tide this morning as we walked around the Pahurehure Inlet at Papakura. The frosty ice crunched under our feet when we started our walk, and yet it did not take long for our bodies to warm up after the cold start to the day.

Part of the Pahurehure Esplanade walkway has slipped into the estuary at one point, but we managed to find a short detour. This walk is full of contrast – the quietness of the tree lined suburban streets and the reserves, the busy noise of the Southern Motorway, the happy sound of sports grounds in use on this Saturday morning, the peacefulness of the estuary path along Pahurehure Inlet.

In 2010 the Pahurehure Inlet was cleared of mangroves. Today the empty inlet looked naked – in a good way.

Suggested cafes (from a friend who lives in the area): In Papakura there’s the Robert Harris which is probably the best coffee, and then there’s the local Pizza Box – they have some good dishes and a good selection, and their coffee is quite good too.

There is a children’s playground in Ray Small Park. Please check signage for off leash dog exercise areas.

Description: Mostly level paths with a short run of steps. Suitable for most ages and levels of fitness and mobility, designed with flat shoes or running shoes in mind.
To see: Papakura Inlet coastal views, shorebirds, parks and sports field, residential streets.
Time: approx. 80 minutes (about 6.4 kms).
Start:  Wharf Street, Prince Edward Park. MAP

Best of the South: Short walks in AucklandStay on track, find this walk (AS-105 Papakura Inlets Walk) and other walks at our Walk Store.

One of 12 walks in our book “Best of the South” available from our Book Store.

 

Murphys Bush Scenic Reserve

Murphys Bush Scenic ReserveAfter a walk around the nearby man-made Sir Barry Curtis Park, we retreated to the native bush of Murphys Bush Scenic Reserve.

There is a variety of walks through the mature native bush with stands of Kahikatea, Puriri, Totara and Rimu, as well as groves of nikau palms.  The tracks can be muddy in places, especially after rain, as there is a stream.  Walks take from 10 minutes to one hour and are suitable for everyone. The walking route is great for prams/buggies and dog walkers (on leash).

Listen out for the sounds of native birds such as Wood pigeons, Morepork and Tuis and be humbled by the height of the tall, straight trees. It is easy to get “displaced” despite the signage – as there is more than one car park and picnic area.

We have not documented this walk as it does fulfill much of our criteria, even though the bush is worthy of exploring.

More Information: Murphy’s Bush
MAP

Barry Curtis Park

Barry Curtis ParkSir Barry Curtis Park in Flatbush was opened in 2009 after previously being used for farmland  (and some of the farm’s old  stone walls remain).  Today was our first visit. The walkways are extensive but many of them come to a sudden dead-end. Random hills with no paths. And extremely muddy after rain (today we got mud splashed to above our knees!). As it is a new park, there is a lack of mature trees.

It appears that a great deal has been spent on structures and walkways in this park, and apart from the children’s playground and skateboard park, there is nothing to attract  walkers. We would have liked to have seen gardens and a cafe for starters. And an off leash dog exercise area.  However it looks as though it is a fun place for children to ride bikes and scooters. The walking route is also great for prams/buggies. 

Barry Curtis Park is still a “work in progress” and we hope that it will be improved upon. MAP

 

 

 

Walks in Rotorua

Many people visit Rotorua for all the fun activities – and they are numerous! (Things to do in Rotorua). We headed off for the weekend to discover walks in Rotorua.

Zealong Tea PlantationOn our journey from Auckland we called into Zealong Tea Estate. Unfortunately the fine  weather turned into rain and wind so we did not walk around the Estate. But we did enjoy a delicious lunch and the refreshing New Zealand grown tea.

On Saturday morning we drove to Lake Tarawera, then on the way back into Rotorua, called into the Buried Village of Te Wairoa.  We gained insights into what was involved in being a tourist way back in the 1800’s – so different to how we can just hop into a car and drive to our destination. The impact of the volcanic eruption during the night of 10th June 1886 was devastating to the local people and tourists alike. The walk around the museum, the village and waterfall trail was very worthwhile.

After lunch in town, we drove to Sulphur Point and then walked alongside Lake Rotorua to the Museum and Gardens. We were surprised and pleased by the amount of bird life along the lake edge.

There are many walks in Rotorua to enjoy – Things to Do – Walking/Hiking

Greenhithe Loop Walk

Greenhithe Loop Walk in Auckland Copyright Unleashed Ventures Limited 2014We used to visit a friend in Greenhithe but we had never stopped to explore the village.  Today we finally got to walk and discover just what a diverse and interesting place it is.

 

We started off at the Greenhithe shops and walked our way around the beautiful homes, the hidden creek, the horse paddocks and stretches of bush; finishing up having a delicious light lunch at the The Collins Cafe & Bar (20 Greenhithe Road).  The walk ticked all the boxes for us.

For families, there is a children’s playground and a skate park nearby (and public toilets) in Collins Park.
Description: Mostly level paths. Suitable for most ages and levels of fitness and mobility, designed with flat shoes or running shoes in mind. Not suitable for pushchairs.
To see: Pond, stream, bush.
Time: approx. 90 minutes (about 7.0 kms).
Parking:  Greenhithe Road. Map

Stay on track… Find this walk (AN-104 Greenhithe Loop) and other walk brochures with map and directions at our Walk Store

Manukau Harbour coastal walks

Manukau Harbour has many nooks and crannies to explore. Here are 10 places where you can walk beside Auckland’s Manukau Harbour and enjoy the diverse and unique landscapes.

The Manukau Harbour Restoration Society is working to restore and reinvigorate Manukau Harbour, and if you are interested in helping, you can find out more here.

Blockhouse Bay The Pathway of Tiriwa © 2011-2013 Unleashed Ventures Limited

We have two walks in Blockhouse Bay Blockhouse Bay Tiriwa walk and Blockhouse Bay circuit, where the bush meets the sea.

Next one along is the Lynfield Coastal Walk.

 

 

View of Manukau harbourHillsborough Cemetery is perched on the hill above Hillsborough Bay with a view over to Mangere Mountain. Walk down through the cemetery and reserves to the bays below before starting the upward climb. Hillsborough Cemetery and the Bays Loop Walk

 

View of Mangere Mountain from Onehunga Foreshore
View of Mangere Mountain from Onehunga Foreshore

You can choose to do the Onehunga Foreshore walk – works in progress as the shore is being reclaimed for a beach, or cross Manukau Harbour over Mangere Bridge to get to Onehunga on the Mangere Bridge to Onehunga Loop Walk

 

 

 

Mangere Bridge ©2013 walksinauckland.comThere is a choice of 5 walks around Mangere Bridge :- Mangere Bridge walks. You can do them as separate walks or join them up to make a bigger loop.  Enjoy the bird life, farm animals, and the views from Mangere Mountain. You may also wish to visit the Otuatau Stonefields  to get an idea of how people once lived and worked.

 

walks in AucklandPuhinui Reserve Walkway is an interesting and wild place to visit. There are limited amenities here, so take a picnic if you plan to take your time to explore.

 

 

Weymouth Walkway Copyright 2014 Unleashed ventures LimitedHeading down along the coast we reach Clendon and Weymouth, where the Weymouth Walkway Loop provides fine views across the harbour, looking back to some of the places above.

 

Wattle Downs walkway © 2013 Unleashed Ventures LimitedThe Wattle Downs Walkway goes around the edge of the peninsula that extends into Manukau Harbour, at one spot there are views through to Manukau Heads.

 

 

Conifer Grove Circuit © 2013 Unleashed Ventures Limited. All rights reservedAnd here we are at the last stop, where the walk along Conifer Grove Esplanade offers views across Manukau Harbour north to Wattle Downs and south to Karaka.

Auckland Council also provides a list of Manukau coastal walks.
We hope that you are now inspired to get out and explore our very special Manukau Harbour. Find some of these and other coastal walks in our books – Coastal Part 1 and Coastal Part 2.

Meadowood Reserves Loop

The  Meadowood Reserves loop walk follows a route  documented by Margaret Scrymgeour from her booklet “Explore the Shore”. The walk begins at Meadowood Community Centre – which has BBQ, picnic and playground facilities.

The walk loops in and out of Unsworth Reserve (where dogs were playing happily off leash), which has a storm water pond and a children’s playground. There are also lovely bush areas where today the birds were singing.

Description: Mostly level paths. Suitable for most ages and levels of fitness and mobility, designed with flat shoes or running shoes in mind. Suitable for pushchairs.
To see: Pond, stream, bush.
Time: approx. 50 minutes (about 4.0 kms).
Start: Meadowood Community Centre, corner Caribbean Drive and Meadowood Drive. MAP

Stay on track… Find this walk (AN-103 Meadowood Reserves Loop) and other walk brochures with map and directions at our Walk Store

Walks in Raglan

For a birthday treat, we headed to Raglan for a girls walking weekend. We headed south on a sun filled Friday arriving at our booked Bed & Breakfast Journey’s End at 2 pm.

That afternoon we did the “Three Bridges” walk around town (about 9kms) – alongside the harbour edge and then the estuary. Download the free walk brochure with map and directions: Raglan 3 Bridges Loop

Saturday was overcast with threatening rain, but we managed to stay dry as we drove south around the coast route past Rangipu, Ngarunui Beach, Manu Bay, Whale Bay to the steep and deep Te Toto Gorge. Along the way, we stopped and walked through the Bryant Memorial Reserve, enjoying the autumn trees and toadstools. Then onto Ruapuke Beach before heading inland to the magnificent Bridal Veil Falls (261 steps down and 261 steps back up). From there we rounded the back of Mt Karorioi to return to Raglan.

The sun appeared again on Sunday for a drive back to Auckland.  We took back gravel roads via Te Akau and the Nikau Caves to Port Waikato.  There is a one and a half hour walk near the Nikau Caves to a waterfall but we didn’t have the time to do it this time.  We did however, have time to have some delicious home made soup and a sit in the sunshine at the Nikau Caves Cafe.