Auckland’s terrain is mainly hilly so it can be difficult to find flat walks that are buggy and pram friendly. So many walkways are either steep or have steps. Which makes it difficult for wheelchairs too.
We can’t promise that all the suggested walks will be plain sailing. If there are problems, please let us know. And if you discover something that’s not on this list, we would be keen to hear about it.
December is a beautiful time of year to get out walking when hopefully the weather starts becoming more stable and before it gets too hot. We are also blessed with the red pohutukawa tree blossoms at this time of year.
One of our favourite places to head out for a walk from is Mangere Bridge Township. We have documented five walks from this area. The village cafes are a great place to meet walking companions before and/or after a walk. On Sunday mornings there are small markets to buy goodies at. And a little further south, in Kirkbride Road, is a place where you can indulge in fresh strawberry ice-cream while the strawberries are in season. And if you are walking with children, then Ambury Park Farm is always a fun place to visit.
The Mangere Bridge walk circuits vary in length. And you have the option of linking two or more if you are feeling creative and energetic. Take a look at the selection at this link: Mangere Bridge Walks
Other places to enjoy the pohutukawa tree blossom are:
The Maraetai Loop Walk lives up to our criteria for a route that is diverse and interesting. It starts by the boat ramp on the western side of Maraetai Reserve, and follows a rough track beside a stream through the lush bush of Dr. Adah Platts-Mills Reserve (which we suggest may be muddy in winter) before emerging into residential streets. Then it’s down hill to the Omana Regional Park, past the goats (Dixie and Pixie) and then follows the waters edge back to the start.
The views over the Gulf are magnificent – you can see over to Waiheke Island, and of course Rangitoto. And the bird song within the bush was beautiful. Today we came across a talkative and friendly fantail.
On a summers day, you may wish to pack your togs and a picnic. There is an off leash dog exercise area along the perimeter of the Omana Regional Park. Public toilets and a playground enroute. Cafes along Maraetai Coast Road.
Description: Mostly level paths with one incline. Suitable for most ages and levels of fitness and mobility, designed with flat shoes or running shoes in mind. Muddy in bush in winter.
To see: Native bush and birds, coastal views.
Time: approx. 90 minutes (about 7.5 kms). Children’s playgrounds, Dog off leash exercise area. Safe swimming.
Start: Maraetai Park, off Maraetai Drive. Map
Stay on track…get your detailed guide and map brochure (AE-112 Maraetai Loop Walk) over at our Walks Store
Centennial Park (inland from Campbells Bay on Auckland’s North Shore) is a very large reserve that contains a regenerating native forest. There are 8 named tracks (Walking Bus, Aberdeen, Mamaku, Kohekohe, Bayliss, Bayliss, Tui and Magnolia) and it pays to have a map with you so that you have an idea as to where you are. There is a nature trail with numbered plants and trees if you are inclined to learn about the bush. We learnt that “Mamaku” is a tall edible tree fern also known as a black tree fern. (You can download an Auckland Council map and brochure here to plan your own route.)
There is a picnic area near the car park. The nearest children’s playground and public toilets are at Kennedy Park (Castor Bay). And the nearest cafe is Little Salt (82 Beach Road).
Description: Bush tracks, some smooth, some rough. 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: Nature Trail, stream and regenerating bush.
Time: approx. 60 minutes (about 4.0 kms).
Parking: Avenue of Remembrance, off Beach Road, Campbells Bay. MAP
Stay on track…get your detailed guide and map brochure (AN-111 Centennial Park Loop) over at our Walks Store.
Without any obvious fanfare, the Westhaven Promenade unofficially opened yesterday (30th January 2015) for walking and cycling. And it is magnificent. Wide and spacious with wonderful views of our City of Sails. It really brings us close to the waterfront and we hope that many people will enjoy this facility. (Officially opened on the 16th February 2015).
The next stage is an interim cycle path to link North Wharf to this new boardwalk, as announced by Auckland Transport. This will form part of a 20km continuous walkway and cycleway that runs from Herne Bay in the west to Tamaki Drive in the east.
This walk begins near the ridge village of Titirangi and follows the path down through Atkinson Park to Titirangi Beach and French Bay.
Much of the walk is through regenerating native bush with the occasional tall old tree, totara and kauri, to look up at in awe, as well as groves of young kauri. You will pass by a small waterfall, and today it was very dry.
On a fine day, the beaches on the edge of Manukau Harbour glisten in the sunshine. Take a picnic to have on the grass.
Part of the track is in good condition, and another part would be difficult to navigate in winter. Sturdy shoes are recommended.
Playground and public toilet at Titirangi Beach. Dogs on leash. Stripe Cafe recommended.
Description: Some level paths with many steps and steep inclines. Suitable for most ages and levels of fitness and mobility, designed with sturdy flat shoes or running shoes in mind. Muddy in winter.
To see: Native bush, stream, Manukau Harbour beaches.
Time: approx.75 minutes (about 6.0 kms). Descent 266m, ascent 257m.
Start: Atkinson Park, Park Road (between South Titirangi Road and Titirangi Beach Road). MAP
Stay on track…get your detailed guide and map brochures over at our Walks Store.
Waikowhai Park is a large piece of bush land and attractive park land off Hillsborough Road. The view from the car park above the playground has views across Manukau Harbour to Mangere Mountain and Ambury Park Farm.
It has a fantastic playground for older children that has an extra long slide and a flying fox. There is also a large off leash dog exercise area. There are public toilets by the playground. It’s a great place for a picnic on a fine day – there are tables by the playground, seats along the undulating bush tracks and plenty of grass in the park land.
September 2015 – A new Waikowhai Walkway map is now available. It shows tracks in detail plus provides information on the geology and ecology of the area. Available from Mt Roskill Library and Puketapapa Local Board office.
You can walk along the Harbour foreshore at low tide only. The bush tracks to Wesley Bay tend to be muddy in winter, but there are concrete paths on the opposite side to the playground. If you enjoy bird spotting, then the bush tracks are the place to be.
The Puketapapa Local Board which is responsible for the park and this playground, say that they have been putting new tracks into the bush area, with the aim to build up a network so you can walk from the new foreshore beaches at Onehunga all the way to Blockhouse Bay. We looked for new tracks today but did not see any signs of them.
Seaside Park at Otahuhu is a small and delightful park. It is off on a limb and shares views of Tamaki Estuary with Highbrook Park.
Seaside Park provides native birds and other wildlife with habitat expansion and protection as the wildlife refuge area protects bird species and other wildlife, such as native skinks, from predators and gives them an undisturbed home.
The loop walkway is less than 2kms, but it is a great place for dog owners to exercise their dogs. There is a children’s playground and picnic tables.
You can start the walk at the playground – head down to the path alongside the estuary and keep following it around until you return to the sports field.
We haven’t done any walking on Waiheke Island. Firstly, there are the ferry costs and the time it takes to get there. Secondly, from what we can find online, there are quite a few routes already documented. So if you are holidaying there or living there and wish to explore, there are some very good resources.
You can find eight walking maps from Auckland Council here.
This loop bush walk from Birkenhead War Memorial Park, through the reserves of Ridgewood, Eskdale and Birkenhead Domain was slightly challenging as the map that we had obtained did not fit the directions. On top of that, some of the signposts within Birkenhead Domain were confusing – giving opposing time and directions. Having a map with us did prevent us going around in circles! It did turn out to be a wonderful bush walk and the birdsong was great to hear.
UPDATE January 2015.
Our third attempt with a more detailed map and a pen to take notes, kept us on track and now we can document this walk with clear instructions.
Eskdale Reserve and Birkenhead Domain have native trees, nikau palms and ti-trees. The sounds of the bush and the stream give you the illusion of remoteness, until you emerge at Birkenhead Cemetery. The main track is in good repair, and the minor tracks have loose stones and roots. Sturdy shoes are recommended. Expect mud in winter!
Nearby cafes in Highbury Shopping Centre or Sausalito at Northcote. Dogs off leash exercise area within Birkenhead Domain (check signs). No playgrounds.
Description: Mostly level paths with some steps and steep inclines. Suitable for most ages and levels of fitness and mobility, designed with sturdy flat shoes or running shoes in mind.
To see: Bush, stream.
Time: approx. 75 minutes (about 5.84 kms).
Parking: Mahara Avenue, off Highbury Bypass. MAP
Stay on track…get your detailed guide and map brochure (AN-096 Birkenhead – Eskdale Reserves)over at our Walks Store.
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.
On 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.
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).
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).
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.
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.
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.
At 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.
Description: 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.
Self guided short circular walks in Auckland for health, fitness and fun