Puhinui Stream Forrest Walk

Large native trees are a feature of Puhinui Stream walk
Puhinui Stream Large Trees

This walk is through an extensive site of native bush alongside Totara Park & the Manurewa Botanical Gardens is beautiful, challenging and interesting. The most common access for this loop track is from Everglade Rd, which has plenty of parking. An interesting aspect of this walkway is a large flight of stairs at the turn-around point of the loop. The northern side of the track has a number of steeper sections and more stairs. The southern side of the track is largely flat and follows the Puhinui Stream.

Enjoy huge trees, historic buildings, bubbling stream and other points of interest along the way. I have also enjoyed running this track too with it being half flat and half undulating.

Walk Time45 – 60 minutes
SurfaceDirt – flat on southern part of loop
Difficulty3 – large stairs and undulating
Buggies/WheelchairsFine for southern part of loop only
FacilitiesToilets, Tennis Court and Outdoor Public Swimming Pool
HighlightsHuge Trees, Stream, Plenty of Points of Interest, near Totara Park and Botanical Gardens

Link to open Google Map in a separate tab or tap the icon in top right of this map. 

Download a printable version of the Puhinui Stream Forrest Walk Printable Map

Puhinui Stream Forrest Walk Description

Puhinui stream forrest walk and waterfall
Pretty Puhinui Stream and waterfall

This loop bush track skirts alongside the wonderful Totara Park & Botanical Gardens.  The track is unpaved but well maintained.  It follows the winding and pretty Puhinui Stream through lovely native bush, alive with plenty of birdsong.  The stream itself has a few babbling waterfalls and remnants of past dams.

The southern section of the loop is a relatively flat and easy track, while the northern portion is undulating and contains many flights of stairs, being suitable for those becoming more confident with walking.  Dogs are welcome on a lead.

There are several entrances to this walk, however we recommend commencing from the end of Everglade Drive where you will find plenty of carparking in this quiet street.  Begin your adventure through the gate and take the right-hand track as we recommend completing the loop anti-clockwise.  This direction has one long, steep flight of wooden stairs to climb as you transition to the northern part of the track. However, you are rewarded with many more downhill sections on your return home.

Flat sections of the Puhinui Forrest Walk

As you walk along the southern section, you are greeted with groves of wonderful, thick green Nikau Palms nestled in among many large trees such as Totara, Rimu and Puriri.  The sounds of the tui and other native birds ring through the air from the treetops.  There are short wooden posts with numbers that highlight unique aspects along the walkway.  Look for remains of an old dam in the stream.  The southern section finishes with a stroll through fields, pretty trees and flowers.

The return loop commences when you cross the bridge and are met with a daunting flight of stairs to climb.  Take your time to ascend and once at the top turn left and enjoy the undulating walkway that gradually descends back to the start of the loop.  There are a couple of side-tracks that can be taken to various lookouts.  The upper path contains many fantastic large trees and provides opportunities to enter the grassy farmlands of Totara Park.

Buggies and Wheelchairs

The lower southern section is suitable for buggies and wheelchairs but the upper northern section is unsuitable due to stairs and steep sections.

Puhinui Stream Forrest Walk Elevation Map

Beaufords Wedding & Function Centre

Totara Park Pools

Whitford Beach – turanga creek walk

Whitford Beach Track
Coastal walkway along Turanga Creek

This stunning walk surprised as we set out to discover an original walkway today.  Off the beaten track – quiet and peaceful, a wonderful easy stroll of about 4.6km (return) from Whitford Beach alongside the Turanga Creek estuary.    Beautiful water views, huge trees, green pastures and majestic houses grace this walkway.

This track is accessed from the end of Clifton Rd from Whitford Beach. 

Walk Time 60 – 90 minutes
SurfaceDirt and Gravel
Difficulty2 – easy walking, some steepish sections
Buggies/WheelchairsYes – be aware some sections are quite steep
FacilitiesNo facilities
HighlightsGood wide walkway, water views, swimming possible, large trees, very peaceful. Horses allowed and dogs on a lead.

Note: the yellow line shows the possible return loop via the road.

Click to open the Google Map in a separate tab or tap icon in top right of this map.

Download a printable version of the Whitford Beach Turanga Creek Loop Map

Tree-lined track
Tree-lined track towards Potts Rd

Whitford Beach Walkway Description

Huge trees, water views, farmland, majestic houses, wonderful track and plenty of birdlife – this is a beautiful and peaceful walk. The walkway is wide and a wonderful undulating track, making it suitable for most walkers.

Park your vehicle at the Whitford Beach carpark and commence your walk through the gate. The initial part of this track hugs the farms fence-line until it reaches the coast. Continue along the coastline, zig-zagging in and out of little coves and up and down the undulating track. At approximately 2km, the track turns hard left and back up toward Potts Rd. This is a particularly beautiful section of the walk, tree-lined with huge mature trees.

Once at Potts Rd, either turn around and walk back down the coastal track or walk back along the roadway – about 1.9km vs the 2.37km via the track.

Note: there are no facilities along this walkway.

Buggies and Wheelchairs

The walkway is a wide and easy mostly hard dirt track. There are aspects of relatively loose gravel, especially on some steeper undulations.

This track is suitable for buggies and wheelchairs – the first km very easy. The remainder of the walkway is suitable but would require significant strength on some of the hills.

Whitford Beach Track Elevation
Whitford Beach Turanga Creek Track Elevation
Turanga Creek
Turanga Creek

Long Bay regional park

Long Bay Regional Park is situated on the northeast coast of Auckland and is one of the cities most popular recreation destinations. The long sandy beach, extensive park facilities and range of walking tracks make it a great place to walk. Enjoy the open fields or native bush. Be refreshed by the ocean air and the stunning views of the Hauraki Gulf and its many islands.

Long Bay beach
Northern end of Long Bay Beach

Parking is plentiful at Long Bay and there are toilets, water fountains, children’s playground and BBQ’s within the park area behind the beach. Take in some history with the Vaughan Homestead or a walk to the military pillbox.

Long Bay Regional Park offers explorers a range of walks from 15 – 20 minutes up to 3 – 4 hours, all of which are highly rated. There is more detail on each of the walks provided below, but here is a brief overview:

Nature Walk: this is a short loop walk through native bush of about 15 – 20 minutes.

Granny’s Bay Walk: this loop takes you through the wetlands and bush to the ridge, detour to the pillbox and then to Granny’s Bay.  Return via the rocks if the tide is low enough.  Time approx 45 – 60 minutes.

100 Acre Walk: add this detour to the Granny’s Bay walk and enjoy a kilometre walk through the regenerating native bush. Time is approx 15 mins from the Granny’s Bay walk.

Okura River Walk: this is a good half-day trek and extends beyond Granny’s Bay to the Okura River mouth.   At lower tides, you can return along the rocks and beaches.

 

Walk Time15 – 20 minutes, 1.1km (Nature Trail loop)
45 – 75 minutes, 3.8km (yellow)
2.5 – 4 hours, 9km (yellow & red)
SurfaceGravel or Grass Tracks
Difficulty2/5 – some steep sections
Buggies/Wheelchairs3/5 – the initial track to Granny’s Bay is fine,
although some parts are steep. There are stairs
beyond Granny’s Bay.
FacilitiesToilets, Seats, Playground, BBQ’s, Swimming
HighlightsViews, Swimming & Water Sports, Array of tracks

Click here to open the Google Map in a separate tab or tap the icon in the top right of this map.

Download a pdf version of the Long Bay Reserve Walks Printable Map

Long Bay Reserve Walking Tracks Description

Select from short walks of just 15-20 minutes up to a full half-day adventure. Enjoy the sea, the views, the bush and birdlife – Long Bay is simply a wonderful place to explore and enjoy.   

Vaughan Homestead Long Bay
Vaughan Homestead

The Vaughan Homestead is worth a detour and is a little beyond the entry to the main track.  This historic home is situated at the northern end of the beach.  More historic information can be found here. 

Nature Walk: 15 – 20 minutes, 1.1km

This short walk is a loop that commences from the end carpark of the Long Bay and takes in the Wetland and Nature Trail tracks.  Once at the far carpark, walk northwards through the chain across the driveway.  About 100m from the start, turn left at the coastal track sign and head into the flat wetland area.  Follow the pathway for a further 300m until you reach the bridge where you will cross the stream that heads to Long Bay Beach.  Keep a lookout for a variety of swamp birds.

Long Bay Bush Track
Track to Nature Trail

Head across the bridge and up the hill.  100m on the right is the Nature Trail which follows the stream for about 250m before existing just below the historic Vaughan Homestead.  The Nature Trail tracks through attractive NZ native bush.  Turn left to view the Vaughan Homestead or right to head back to the start.

Granny’s Bay Walk: 45 – 60 minutes, 3.8km

Grannys Bay at Long Bay
Beautiful Grannys Bay

This is the most popular walk at Long Bay Reserve as it provides stunning views across the Hauraki Gulf and access to the less busy and beautiful Granny’s Bay.   

 

View to Rangitoto from Long Bay Track
View to Rangitoto Island

Take the same route as described above for the Nature Trail, however, continue to climb the hill track until you reach grass fields. Once at the top of the hill, walk through the grasslands towards the clifftop.  This is where you get your best views across the water and all the way to Auckland. 

Long Bay Gun Emplacement
Gun Emplacement Detour

A small detour on a bush track, through the fence line, near the cliff takes you to a historic pillbox.  There are glimpses of views back down Long Bay Beach from here.  The track at times is closed due to slips, so be mindful of its condition.

At the fence, take a left and continue to follow the track down the hill to the Beach.  At high tide, it is a beautiful swimming beach and very private.  As the tide recedes, it becomes part of the ongoing coastline and not so attractive for swimming.

There is a second Bay over the next hill that is also pretty but be aware that clothing is optional here and so most may not want to stop here for the swim and picnic!

Walk around the rocks to Long bay
Return to Long Bay via the coast

The return to Long Bay can be achieved by walking around the rocks if half-tide or lower, or by retracing your steps up and over the hill.   Take care though as it can be slippery when wet.

100 Acre Walk: 15 – 20 minutes, 1.6km

100 Acre Long Bay Tea Tree
100 Acre Tea Tree

Enjoy a tranquil stroll through native bush on the 100 Acre Track.  This is a regenerated area of native bush and enjoys great birdlife.  The track is wide and grassy, a little muddy in the wet.  The flowering Tea Tree and birdsong are highlights.

100 Acre Track Long Bay
Track through 100 Acre

Access the 100 Acre track from the walkway to Granny’s Bay or from directly adjacent to Granny’s Bay.   

 

Okura River Walk: 2.5 – 4 hours, 9km

Make a day of your time at Long Bay Reserve and complete the Okura River Walk. This is pleasant and spectacular. The track these days is pretty good, although still has some muddy patches in the wet towards Okura River.

This walkway can be completed as an out and back walk or using the track one way and the coast the other. The coastal return should only be attempted when it can be completed within 2 hours of low tide for the entire trip. It can also be very rocky and slippery but is a great option for more confident walkers. I have completed this one many times when it was a route I ran a lot and it is amazing but requires care.

Looking to Okura River Mouth

Take the track to Grannys Bay and then continue over the next hill to Pohutukawa Bay. The track then climbs again upwards adjacent to farmland on the left and clifftop bush on the right. The walk is grassy and undulating, with views along the way. As you get closer to the Okura River Mouth, the track heads more westerly until you drop to the Okura River.

If the tide is low enter the ‘beach’ and then turn right to return via the coast to Long Bay. If the tide is not low, retrace your steps to return to Long Bay.

Buggies and Wheelchairs

Many of the Long Bay tracks can be accessed by buggies and wheelchairs.  The constraint is more the hills as some are steep.    

Other useful Links:

Long Bay Regional Reserve DOC

Vaughan Homestead

Bike the trail

 

Unsworth heights to rosedale park

The Unsworth Heights to Rosedale Park walkway is a spectacular ‘there & back’ walk with many activities and options for variety to make it a loop. Enjoy native bush, streams, playgrounds, fields and even frisbee golf! The core tracks are paved and wide with some more adventurous options of natural bush tracks if desired. It really is a walk (or bike) for the whole family.

Unsworth walkway
Unsworth walkway with grass, bush and activities
Walk Time1 hour to 3 hours
SurfacePaved (plus options for bush-walking)
Difficulty1 (bushwalks 2)
Buggies/WheelchairsSuitable for both on the paved walkway
FacilitiesPlaygrounds, toilets, drinking water, sports fields, frisbee golf course, cafe closeby
HighlightsEasy access, beautiful native bush, open spaces and many activities.

Link to open Google Map in a separate tab or tap the icon in top right of this map.  

Unsworth to Rosedale Walkway Description

Boardwalk in native bush
Unsworth Heights boardwalk

This is a wonderful and picturesque walk, with options for all abilities.  Enjoy walking on the paved walkway or for more adventure and variety add in some undulating bush track, enabling this to become more of a loop walk.   

Unsworth walkway
Unsworth walkway with grass, bush and activities

The walkway has wide paths and boardwalks that at times follow alongside the stream through extensive native bush.  The more challenging route runs parallel on the other side of the stream, through bush until it joins the shared path after Barbados Rd.  Beyond the bush, there are lovely grass areas, a variety of playgrounds, many sports fields and even a free 9-hole frisbee-golf course en route for your enjoyment. 

This track is suitable for buggies and wheelchairs, making it an adventure for families and groups.  The walk can be completed one-way by leaving a vehicle at each end or could be completed as a return trip, which can involve a few variations to heighten interest and effectively make it a loop track.  If completing one-way, commence at the Unsworth end of the path as most of your journey is downhill.

Unswroth Reserve Entrance from Goldfinch Rise
Unswroth Reserve Entrance from Goldfinch Rise

If completing your walk from the Goldfinch Rise entrance, park your vehicle in Azure Grove.  Enter the walkway at the intersection of Azure Grove and Goldfinch Rise.  The path winds its way downhill, initially past an excellent playground, grass areas and exercise equipment before entering the bush on a wide, fully- fenced boardwalk.  The next section is stunning with dense native bush, birds and stairs to little sidewalks through the bush, often ending up near the stream.  The river is also alive with wildlife, including eels.  At the end of this section, cross the road and either follow the narrow dirt path beside the bush or head to Rook Place and re-join the track at the end of this cul-de-sac.  An underpass takes you safely under Upper Harbour Drive and more picturesque pathway to Rosedale Park.

Unsworth bush track can get muddy when wet
Unsworth bush track can get muddy when wet

The bushwalk option commences off Caribbean Drive – use the lower of the two entrances – the other entrance joins directly back to the shared walkway.  This walk is undulating and winds through pretty bush on a formed dirt track.  The bush is wonderful with sounds of tui’s and other birds singing and plenty of ferns, rimu and other natives along the path. This walkway gets muddy in the wet, so be prepared for this during rainy times.  There are also many exposed tree roots along the path, you will need to watch where you put your feet!  At the end of this track, it uses Mallard Place to reconnect with the shared path.  Once across Barbados, take the short bush track on the left or use Rook Place to continue your journey.

Cafe Drina
Cafe Drina on Paul Matthews Drive

Paul Matthews Rd requires crossing to get to enjoy Rosedale Park.   This is quite a busy street and so some patience and care are required, especially for children.  There are also bus stops at this point making the path accessible via public transport.  Cafe’s are also closeby, Cafe Drina is about 60m from the track, heading west.

Unsworth Heights Playground
Unsworth Reserve Playground

Rosedale Park frisbee golf course target
Rosedale Park frisbee golf

Once in Rosedale Park, there is a lot to do.  Bring your frisbee and enjoy the 9-hole frisbee golf course or make use of the playground beside the football fields.  There is plenty of seating with various vistas and some picnic tables. 

Rosedale Park has many fields, primarily soccer, so bring a ball and have a kick around. It also hosts softball and hockey.  As you progress through the park via walkways or the road, you eventually leave the fields behind you and arrive at the far entrance to the walkway on Rosedale Rd where you can finish or turn around and return Unsworth Heights.

On the return, there are a few variations you can add as shown on the Google Map. 

The Loop Track!

Add variety by adding a number of loops to this walk as shown on the Google Map.

  1. Follow the main paved pathway from the start at either Goldfinch Rise, Unsworth Heights or Jack Hinton Drive off Rosedale Rd, depending on which way you are completing the walk. This review assumes walking from Goldfinch Rise.
  2. Complete the walk to Rosedale utilising the main paved/boardwalk. This is a wide and easy walk, suitable for buggies and wheelchairs.
  3. On the return walk, add a number of different routes that add significant interest to this walk and almost make it a loop walk. These are detailed below.
  4. Follow the track through the sports field, rather than follow the track around the road.
  5. Continue past the soccer club and along the road, up the hill and past the pretty duckponds. The frisbee golf-course is on your right. At the top of the hill turn right and walk down the footpath back towards the main track.
  6. Head on the main track until after the Upper Harbour Drive Underpass and then turn left on to the tracks that take you to Rook Place and Mallard Place.
  7. Walk along Mallard Place about 120m and then take the bush track on the right. This winds its way up and down through native bush and some pines until you reach Caribbean Place. This walkway is undulating and has plenty of tree roots, so requires an average level of fitness and health.
  8. To return to the start, you have the choice of using the roadway or hanging a hard right and back into the bush. The bush track joins back to the main pathway and a left turn on to this will take you back to the start. If walking the road, continue on Caribbean Drive and then turn right into Goldfinch Rise.
Unsworth bush showing the fauna and track
Unsworth bush track accessed from a range of entrances

Buggies and Wheelchairs

The main walkway is excellent for wheelchairs, buggies and bikes.  It is up and downs, with it slowly descending towards Rosedale. The bish tracks are not suitable for wheels!

Unsworth to Rosedale Elevation
Unsworth Heights to Rosedale Elevation

Links to other walk information:

Unsworth Reserve Loop Track

Find information on the “Explore the Shore” series of books which lists Rosedale Park in its walks

Cafe Drina

7 creative walking ideas for covid-19 lockdown

As we enter the second half of our Covid-19 lockdown in New Zealand, we thought it might be a great idea to put together a list of some creative ideas you could try while walking!  Of course, all this must be completed locally, in your bubble, with 2m physical distancing and not touching objects such as park benches.

Here are 7 ideas we thought you could try with your Bubble!

1. GPS Walking Pictures

My sister sent me a Facebook post of a guy in the Hibiscus Coast who took to making pictures as he walked using his GPS and running app Strava. 

You can use your GPS enabled sports watch or an App on your phone such as Google Maps or MapMyRun.

Scavenger Hunt

Construct a list of items you and your bubble must find and ‘collect’ on your walk.  This can include physical collection that you can put in a bag or a photo collection using your phone to record your ‘find’. 

A sample list of ideas could include:

  1. Collect a leaf
  2. Take a photo of a house with at least 3 teddy bears in the window
  3. Collect a piece of rubbish
  4. Find and photograph a red car in your neighbourhood.
  5. Find and photograph a bird
  6. Find signs around your neighbourhood that start with every letter of the alphabet
  7. Collect a seed, nut or cone or similar that has fallen from a tree
  8. Photo of a road sign
  9. Collect a random object like a discarded ball, sock, pen, tin or similar – anything random that should not normally be just lying around on the footpath, park or roadside
  10. Photo of a rubbish bin
  11. Photo of a power transformer or phone exchange box
  12. Photo of a sign in your area related to Covid-19 eg. Playground closed due to Covid-19 etc

Orienteering Locally

Orienteering is a fantastic family event and while its not quite the same around your local streets, it can still be accomplished.  Your unique ‘Bubble’ orienteering can be organised as follows:

  1. Print a Google Map of your immediate area.  An example produced for my local area can be found here.
  2. Number various stations on your map where you feel you can place a marker.
  3. Prepare a list of clues for each station that provides participants with a little more information about where the Station is located.  You can choose to mix up the numbers for various participants, so they are not simply following each other eg. One list goes numbers 1 to 15, the other list is numbered 15 to 1.  An example of our sheet can be found here.
  4. Determine what you will use to identify your stations – small flags, cones, stones, wood, tin cans or other things you can find.  Try to make them a little bright if possible and then add the ‘Station Number’ and a ‘random 2-digit number’ to each marker.  The participant must write the random number on the form for the correct Station as evidence they located the correct point.
  5. Take a walk and set-up the course, dropping your station markers at each location.
  6. Give the participants their Map, Station List and Pencil.  This could be done as individuals or pairs/groups depending on the ages of the participants.
  7. Explain the orienteering rules and reiterate the Covid-19 lockdown walking rules and send them on their way.

Click here for examples of the Orienteering Map and List of Orienteering Course Points.

Photography Walk

Pick up your phone, camera or ipad and head outdoors for your walk and focus on recording your lockdown walking experience in pictures. You will be amazed at the extra things you notice in your neighbourhood as you look more closely.

Perhaps you can then produce a presentation using your favourite photo or presentation app/software.

Add Exercises into your Walk

During your walk, simply add in a range of exercises to complete.  This provides variety and extra health benefits.  Some exercises can include:

Image by Terri Sharp from Pixabay 

  • Squats
  • Lunges
  • Press-ups
  • Backwards jog
  • Butt-kicks
  • Sideways skips
  • High knees
  • Jumps
  • Plank
  • Single leg balancing
  • Short jog or sprints

Nature Walk

Take a sheet of paper (or record on your phone) to spot and record as many types of trees and birds as you can find in your area. 

The NZbirds website http://nzbirdsonline.org.nz/ has superb tools to assist in identifying birds found in NZ.  This can easily be done using your phone while walking.

Trees and plants are much harder as the variety is almost endless.  For native trees, try DOC or Terrain.net.nz

https://www.doc.govt.nz/nature/native-plants/

http://www.terrain.net.nz/friends-of-te-henui-group/table-1.html

Walk Every Street In Your Area

Use one of your walks to explore every street in your area – you may just find something you never knew existed!

For additional information about walking during the Covid-19 Lock-down, read this post.

Further walking update for covid-19

covid-19 logo

The Government provided further clarification regarding outdoor activities and walking under Level-4 Lockdown.

The government reiterated the importance of people adhering to Level-4 Lockdown to ensure the maximum effectiveness is achieved. They confirmed once again that people can walk (and bike) locally to assist with peoples physical and mental health, reiterating the importance of walking in your bubble and maintaining 2m physical distancing.

Activities now specifically prohibited in Level-4 are boating, fishing, hunting, surfing and other water sports and tramping. The emphasis seems to be the prevention of accidents and rescue which will take resources away from other areas of important need.

As a walking community, we need to be aware that tramping is not lawful under Level-4. It is important that when we are out walking, ensure it stays as a local walk that has minimal risk with no need for rescue if someone should injure themselves – maybe sprain an ankle or similar.

It is important to consider if any bushwalks you are engaging in meet the new criteria. For example, some bushwalks can have wide pathways similar to a dirt road, while others are narrow, steeper and uneven.

Level-4 walking guidelines
Walking in Level-4

Walking Loop Tracks only?

One of our walking community wrote in a comment to the walksinauckland website that “we should encourage circular walks, rather than out and back so we do not have contact points at narrow parts in the walkway, bridges etc.”. Liz went on to suggest we could place arrows that ensure people follow a certain direction when walking.

This seems to be a great idea and perhaps one we should try and get some momentum. Maybe we could try using chalk on some of our walks to encourage people to walk in one direction.

Any other ideas on this?

Walking during covid-19

covid-19 logo

Wow – never thought I would ever see NZ in lockdown, but here we are, as we join together as a Nation to fight Covid-19.  This brings change and challenge to us all, but it is a sacrifice we all must make for the greater good of society.  So, what does walking look like during the COVID-19 lockdown?

wide path with grass
Paths with wide spaces for physical distancing

As we are all isolated with our bubble for the next 4 weeks or more, we have been allowed at least the simple privilege of heading outdoors for some walking.  It is important for our own sense of well-being and fitness that we make the most of these limited opportunities and enjoy some fresh air and nature. 

The government have been very clear on some distinct rules around walks:

Current advice from the covid19 NZ website (3rd April 2020):

“As long as you’re not unwell, you can leave your house to:
– access essential services, like buying groceries, or going to a bank or pharmacy
– go to work if you work for an essential service
– go for a walk, or exercise and enjoy nature.

If you do leave your house, you must keep a 2-metre distance from other people at all times. Police may be monitoring people and asking questions of people who are out and about during the Alert Level 4 lockdown to check what they are doing.”

Helpful guidelines that assist in enjoying your walk and staying safe :

  1. Walks must be local – they do not want people driving to locations such as beaches and parks.  There is some discussion about whether it is okay in some situations to drive a little distance.
  2. You can only walk by yourself or those you are isolated with (in your bubble).  You must not have others outside your isolation group join you for walks during the lockdown period.
  3. While walking, you must maintain at least 2 meters from any person that is not in your isolation group.
  4. Be aware not to touch common surfaces – playgrounds are closed.
  5. Keep in touch with the latest and more specific information on www.covid19.govt.nz

The Auckland Council website (https://www.aucklandcouncil.govt.nz/Pages/covid-19.aspx) provides information on parks during the crisis.

Playgrounds Closed Keep children off equipment.
Regional parks Open for excercise ​Maintain social distancing from other visitors and do not use equipment in the park. No vehicle access.

Please note that the information in this blog is not an official government document but designed to assist people in understanding their walking opportunities. Please visit the covid19 website for the most current information.

Mangere Mountain: historic & spectacular

Mangere Mountain and Domain are one of Aucklands true gems to explore. It is full of spectalular views of Aucklands Harbours and City, as well as many geological and history highlights.  Our recommended route requires a good level of fitness as the loop encounters a range of steep slopes and uneven terrain.  There is a good pathway to the summit on a braod track suitable for buggies if you walk the route clockwise, however this is only out & back and misses many interesting features of this mountain. 
Landscape view of Auckland from Mangere Mountain
Views of Auckland from Mangere Mountain
Walk Time60 – 90 mins – 2.92km (yellow)
SurfaceGravel or Grass Tracks
Difficulty3/5 – some steep sections
Buggies/Wheelchairs3/5 – the summit track is hilly but gradual if
sticking to the main route and only completing
the out & back walkway. The walkway to the
Mangere Education Centre includes a lot of stairs.
FacilitiesToilets, Seats, Football Fields, Playground,
Skatepark
HighlightsCity Views, Harbour Views, Craters,
Maori History

Click here to open the Google Map in a separate tab or tap the icon in the top right of this map.

Download a pdf version of the Mangere Mountain Printable Map

Mangere Mountain Tracks Description

Mangere Mountain ranks as one of the most amazing places to explore in Auckland.  It is full of surprises – three craters, fantastic 360-degree views, football & softball fields, playground and plenty of historic  Maori heritage.  Allow an hour or two to explore this volcanic mountain, plus additional time for the Mangere Education Centre if you are able.

Mangere Mountain Trig
Mangere Mountain Peaks

We commenced our walk at the carpark near the soccer clubrooms and headed through the nearby gate.   Our route takes us anti-clockwise on the eastern edge of the main crater and towards the playground.  We then join the trail towards the Mangere Education Centre – well worth the walk.  You will experience aspects of Maori history and heritage along this walkway.

Maori Terracing and Palisades

Now its time to climb!  If you have good fitness and are up for narrower and bumpy terrain continue on our recommended route by following the yellow trail on the Google Map.  If you have a buggie or want something a bit less challenging, head clockwise up the main trail to the summit.

Mangere Mountain grass track to summit
Mangere Mountain Track to Knoll

Our route passes adjacent to the second crater (the 3rd crater was quarried and is where the Soccer Fields and Education Centre are now situated).  The views South and East and to the North as you climb will have you clicking your cameras.  Continue upwards towards the upper rim of the main crater – the track is a little narrow and steep in places and can be a bit slippery in the wet – but worth the walk.  Take in the sights at first high knoll plus the Trig for stunning views of Auckland.

As you venture around the rim you will pass numerous large kumera pits and other significant Maori heritage.    It is worth following our recommended high route instead of the wider track back to the carpark.

To extend your walk you can also consider returning via the lower track that circumnavigates the mountain.  It is a narrow but pleasant track through the grass but contains few noticeable special features that demand your attention. 

Buggies and Wheelchairs

The Mangere Mountain Domain contains some wide unsealed tracks that are suitable for ‘off-road’ buggies.  These include the initial part of the Mangere Education Trail and the Trig Track walking in the clockwise direction.

Wheelchairs and standard strollers would be a challenge but with a strong person pushing might be okay.

Mangere Mountain Domain Elevation
Mangere Mountain Domain Walkways Elevation

Other useful Links:

Mangere Mountain Education Centre

Geological Information

Auckland Council Mangere Mountain Restoration Article

Mangere Bridge Website with current local news

Cudlip Point Walk – NORTH AUCKLAND

Cudlip Point Loop Track is a stunning walkway in the Mahurangi Regional Park, about 50 minutes drive north of the Auckland Harbour Bridge.  This track is one of three main walks in the park and includes amazing coastal views, beautiful beaches and a range of grasslands and native bush.  It is quite hilly, so requires a reasonable standard of fitness. 
Views of Mahurangi Harbour
Views of the stunning Mahurangi Harbour
Walk Time45 – 75 mins – 3.2km (yellow)
SurfaceGravel or Grass Tracks
Difficulty3/5 – some steep sections
Buggies/Wheelchairs1/5 – Steep up and down sections plus the
surface can be slippery. Buggie’s may be
possible if dry and you are very fit and strong.
No good for wheelchairs except by beach.
FacilitiesToilets, Water, Seats, Swimming, Beach,
Camping
HighlightsBeach, Views, Nature. Rocks for fishing

Click here to open the Google Map in a separate tab or tap the icon in the top right of this map.

Download a pdf version of the Cudlip Point Loop Map

Cudlip Point Loop Track Description

This Loop Track surprised me with its beauty, variety and challenge.  The views are superb as the Mahurangi Penninsula juts out into the Ocean, providing water and beaches on both its ‘coasts’.  The track is quite steep in places and is a mix of gravel and grass trail. 

Views across the Inlet to Te Muri Beach Mahurangi Regional Park
The Inlet to Te Muri Beach can be crossed at low tide

We commenced our walk at the higher carpark, the parking spot that greets you after entering the Regional Park.   You could also opt to veer left and head down the hill to Sullivans Bay and start your walk there.  This is probably recommended if you want to swim and picnic at the beach.

If starting at the top carpark, take the further right track entrance that heads towards Te Muri Bay.  This winds its way downhill for 10-15 minutes on a good gravel track until it reaches the water’s edge.   If starting at the carpark, follow the road or grass track as per the GPS Map up to the top carpark and then continue as above.

Upon reaching the inlet, you track alongside the waterway, through bush and patches of grass for about 10 minutes before turning left and heading up a steep incline.  You could also have crossed the inlet to Te Muri Beach if you desire and walk to the campsite or follow the track towards the end of the inlet.  Note: the inlet can only be crossed at low tide and remember you do need to get back again also!

Mirror views on the Te Muri Esturary
Mirror views on the Estuary

Head up the hill and towards the top of the ridge where you start to get the reward with some stunning vistas.  When we completed the track, there was a detour that took us to the ridge as the cliff-top track through the bush was unstable.   You have the choice of going right and heading through the gate to Cudlip Point Lookout or turning left and heading back along the ridge towards Sullivans Bay.  The  Lookout here gives views across the Gulf, looking East – they are ok but there are a lot of trees that block aspects of the view.

The walk along the ridgeline to Sullivans is stunning.  Views looking north up the coast are ‘million dollars’ and ahead are the views into beautiful Mahurangi Harbour.   prior to your decent to the beach, you can choose to go straight ahead or veer right and down the fenceline, which is the shorter option.

The red markers indicate the Cudlip Point Mahurangi track
Red markers indicate the track

Sullivans Beach is beautiful and fine for swimming, especially with higher tides.  There are good facilities here, including toilets, water fountains, an information kiosk and a campground if you wish to stay overnight.

If you started at the top carpark, walk back along the beach and up the steep grass hill back to the car.  If you started at Sullivans Beach, you are finished!

If you still desire more walking and even more stunning views, add the option of the Mita Loop Track that commences at the western end of Sullivans Bay. 

Buggies and Wheelchairs

The tracks in Mahurangi Regional Park are steep and unsuitable for wheelchairs.  If you are get and strong, you should be able to push a buggie with a baby around the Cuplip Point Loop Track but be aware that places are a bit slippery under foot and steep.  The Mita Loop is not suitable for buggies or wheelchairs.

Other useful Links:

Auckland Council Map and Information

Mahurangi West Wing Luxury B&B

Book one of the Park Campgrounds here

Sullivans Campground Information

Interesting article about Mahurangi Regional Park development

Parnell rose gardens loop

Beautiful gardens, huge Pohutukawa trees, history, sculptures, monuments, swimming and wonderful Harbour views ensure the Parnell Rose Gardens Loop is a walk for all to enjoy.  Add to this the onsite Redwall Chinese Restaurant and famous Rosie Cafe and you have the perfect experience. 
Historic St Stephens Church and Cemetary
Historic St Stephens Church and Graveyard – built 1859
Walk Time40 – 75 mins – 2.1km (yellow)
Surface99% Paved
Difficulty2/5 – some steep sections
Buggies/Wheelchairs3/5 – Steep up and down to/from Judges Bay.
Lots of stairs to and from Parnell Baths.
Check out your suitable options below.
FacilitiesToilets, Water, BBQ, Tables, Seats, Swimming
Pool and Beach, Restaurant/Cafe
HighlightsGardens, Views, History

Click here to open the Google Map in a separate tab or tap the icon in the top right of this map.

Download a pdf version of the Parnell Rose Gardens Loop Map

Parnell Rose Garden Loop Track Description

This walk is a stunning outing including the beauty of the roses, the magnificence of huge Pohutukawa Trees, history of St. Stephens Church and the opportunity for views and swimming.

Parnell Rose Gardens Nancy Steen Garden Fountain
Relax by the Nancy Steen Garden Fountain

We commence this walk at the Entrance on the corner of Gladstone Rd and Judges Bay Rd.  Very quickly you are enjoying a short bush walk, followed by the historic Nancy Steen Garden, named after the famous Rose collector and historian.  There is a fountain and seats to enjoy.

Journey on via Judges Bay to St, Stephens Anglican Church, a beautiful and historic old building, commenced in 1859.  The graveyard contains interesting history of early Auckland.   Pass through the churchyard archway and towards the expensive St Stephens Avenue, famous as the street of Sir John Key, former Prime Minister of NZ.

Views from Dove Meyer Robinson Park and Parnell Rose Gardens Track
Views from Dove Meyer Robinson Park Track

Enjoy wonderful views across the Waitemata Harbour as you descend the stairs to the Parnell Baths and Judges Bay.  Here you can connect to Tamaki Drive and Auckland’s Waterfront if you desire.  Walk to the end of the pedestrian Bridge for great views, it literally hangs over the water!

The Parnell Baths and Judges Bay offer both beauty and a chance for swimming in the warmer months.  Enjoy the jetty and you will also find a toilet block and BBQ.

Head up the hill once again back towards Dove Meyer Robinson Park, enjoying the bush and sprawling Pohutukawa Trees.  Notice the Wedge monument on the grass hill on your left, reminding us to not allow wedges to be driven between us.

Once back in the Rose Gardens, enjoy exploring the Monuments and Roses of this picturesque park.  Of particular interest is the Korean War monument nearby Gladstone Rd.

Once the walk is completed, consider lunch or dinner at the Redwall Chinese Restaurant or some food/coffee at the famous Rosies Cafe.

This is a very enjoyable walk with a lot of variety and activity.  The complete loop does require an average level of fitness as there are steep sections and stairs.  Wheelchairs and buggies are suitable through the Rose Gardens part of the walk.

Buggies and Wheelchairs

The track section around the Rose Gardens is very good for wheelchairs and buggies.  The walkway is paved and generally not too steep.

However, getting to Judges Bay has quite steep tracks and will require care if pushing a wheelchair or buggie, particularly in the wet.  There are plenty of stairs at the eastern end of the Parnell Baths also that should be avoided!

Parnell Rose Gardens and Judges Bay levation
Parnell Rose Gardens Elevation

Other useful Links:

Sir Dove Meyer Robinson

Parnell Rose Gardens Information

Parnell Baths 

St. Stephens Church

Redwall Chinese Restaurant

Rosie Cafe – Gladstone Rd

Rangitoto island

One of Auckland’s iconic landmarks, Rangitoto Island is an amazing day out. Arrive by ferry or private boat and explore, The 360-degree views of Auckland and the Hauraki Gulf from the summit are spectacular. There are plenty of other walking tracks if you are keen to explore further and short lava caves that are worth investigating.

Walk Time1.5 – 2 hours return to summit, plus side walks.
1/2 day to full day to circumnavigate the island.
SurfaceFormed track – lots of loose, fine scoria
Difficulty3/5
Buggies/Wheelchairs0/5 – most tracks not suitable. Vehicle Road is ok.
FacilitiesToilets
HighlightsViews, Lava Caves, Bush, Geology, Swimming

Get there by Ferry, your own boat or kayak!

Catch a short ferry ride from the Auckland Downtown or Devonport Ferry Terminals. Click here to access Fullers Ferry information and purchase tickets.

Fullers Ferry takes you to Rangitoto Island
Fullers Ferry takes you to Rangitoto Island (photo from HERA)

What to see and do?

Rangitoto Island is one of Aucklands most famous volcanoes, seen from many parts of the Auckland Isthmus. Its impressive ’round’ shape and obvious volcanic look make it instantly recognisable.

Rangitoto feels like a volcanic island. The black, rough scroria rock is all around and the many shapes of hard set lava are spectacular and at times dangerous looking! These days the bush has grown a lot on Rangitoto Island, making it a more pleasant and quite stunning
walk, even on hot days.

Walking through native bush on  Rangitoto Island
Walking through native bush on Rangitoto Island

Top suggestions to see:

  • Spectacular views of Auckland City and the Hauraki Gulf from the summit
  • Volcanic rock and formations
  • NZ Native bush
  • Lava caves – some which you can explore – they are only about 30-40m in length and marked on the map above
  • Swim – there is a lot of rocky coastline but the water is beautiful in summer!  You can take the trek to Islington Bay for a sandy beach but this is up to 2 hours!  I will add this to the Google Map when I get the chance to GPS the other tracks.
  • View the remaining historic and original waterfront cottages.
  • Swimming – brave the rocky rugged coastline for a dip or swim at sandy MacKenzie Bay and Islington Bay.

You will want to allow at least half day for exploring this amazing and unique island and can easily take a full day to circumnavigate the island and take in the summit.  Some of the bush is so beautiful and the views back towards Auckland give a unique and picturesque perspective. 

Rangitoto Island Elevation to the summit and the Lava Caves (far right point)
Elevation for the around the Island Track, finishing prior to returning to the wharf

Walking Difficulty and Suitability

Rangitoto is a steady walk and requires average fitness and steadiness on your feet.  It is not suitable for wheelchairs or baby buggies, having stairs.  Underfoot, the scoria can be slippery but fine if you stay aware.

Walking to the summit (260m) is uphill all the way.  There are plenty of beautiful views you can take in to have a break if needed.  It can also get hot – so have plenty of water, along with some snacks. 

There is also plenty of options for easy walks if a person uses the Vehicle Track around the perimeter of the island.  Once off the vehicle track, the routes are generally quite steep and unsteady.

Wheelchair and Buggie Suitability

Rangitoto is generally not suitable for wheelchairs and Buggies unless you stay on the Vehicle Track. This is a dirt road and gets reasonably close to the summit but a 20 – 30 min walk up stairs and steep hills will still be required to reach the summit.

Hobsonville Point walkway

Tree-lined Hobsonville Point Park

The Hobsonville Point Walkway circumnavigates a newly developed area of Auckland. Much of the walkway follows the foreshore and offers pictureque harbour views . This is a walk of variety – parks, developments, wharf and historic homes.

Walk Time1 hour 15 mins to 1 hour 45 mins, approx 6km
SurfacePaved
Difficulty1/5 – some steep sections
Buggies / wheelchairs5/5 – Track is suitable
DogsYes – on leach plus some off-leash areas
FacilitiesPlayground, Toilets, Water, BBQ, Tables, Seats
Why this track?Views, Coastal, Park, Historic Homes

Link to open Google Map in a separate tab or tap icon in top right of this map.

Hobsonville Point Walkway Description

This walk is full of interesting views and experiences.  

Start the walk from Catalina Cafe , next to the beautiful Hobsonville Point Park and then meander your way around the newly developed streets.  The busy footpaths soon give-way to a coastal track which leads you around Hobsonville Point.  The track is generally very wide and is in very good condition.

Views of the harbour and back to Auckland City in the distance are both stunning and plentiful.  There are areas of grass fields and native bush enroute, particularly Onekiritea Park. 

Once past Harrier Point Park the coastal walk takes in the Hobsonville Ferry Terminal precinct with its facilities and then tracks alongside recent housing developments.  It is a fascinating mix of ‘the new’ alongside beautiful water views and two historic homes.

Chichester Cottage is a quaint old cottage built by Doug and Audrey Mill around 1927.  Mill House, originally known as ‘Windover’, was built in the early 1930’s by prominent Auckland Architect George Tole for the Mill’s.  Follow the links to find out more information.

This walkway is very easy and excellent underfoot, great for buggies, wheelchairs and bikes.  There is a good playground at Hobsonville Point Park where the walk starts and another (only a flying fox and tyre swing) at Harrier Point.


Buggies and Wheelchairs

This walkway is excellent for wheelchairs, buggies and bikes.  It is very flat overall, with minimal rise and fall plus the track is paved 95%+ of the way.

The elevation only rises and falls a maximum of about 12m in the entire route, the largest being the detour up Harrier Point where there are stairs. Note: you do not have to take this detour to complete the loop.

Links to other walk information:

Hobsonville Point Walkway Summary 

Hobsonville Point Walkway Brochure

Hobsonville Point Website

West Harbour Loop

Have  a picnic with a view to Auckland City
Have a picnic with a view of  the Harbour & Auckland City
Starting by the West Harbour Marina, the West Harbour Loop walk is fully paved, winds through wonderful bush and provides stunning views over the water back to Auckland city.  There are a range of facilities at Luckens Reserve to make this walk more comfortable.

This is a walk to add to your list!
Walk Time60 – 75 mins – 4.5km (yellow)
Surface99% Paved
Difficulty2/5 – some steep sections
Buggies/Wheelchairs3/5 – Steep around & past Luckens Reserve
FacilitiesPlayground, Tpilets, Water, BBQ, Tables, Seats
HighlightsViews, Coastal, Native Bush, Park

Click to open the Google Map in a separate tab or tap icon in top right of this map.

Download a pdf version of the West Harbour Loop Map

West Harbour Loop Track Description

This is a lovely coastal track that makes its way from the West Harbour Marina alongside the harbour and through Luckens Reserve.  

The track could be walked out and back along the coast or use our suggested loop.  The loop is about 4.5km and takes just over an hour.  It could be shortened by looping back through Luckens Reserve. 

The track is paved 99% of the way and does not contain any stairs.  There are some steep sections around Luckens Reserve and through to the turn-around.

There are seats periodically placed along the walk for a nice resting spot.

Luckens reserve is excellent with lovely gently large sloped grass areas, children’s playground, toilets, drinking fountain and plenty of parking.

Buggies and Wheelchairs

The track is paved 99% of the way and does not contain any stairs.  It is suitable for buggies and wheelchairs, although parts before Luckens Reserve and beyond Luckens Reserve to the turnaround are very steep and probably too difficult for wheelchairs. Lighter buggies with a fit ‘pusher’ should be ok – although in wet conditions it may become dangerous.

West Harbour Loop Elevation Map – note the steep sections up to Luckens Reserve and then to the turn around point.

Other useful Links:

West Harbour Circuit Information

West Harbour Circuit Brochure

Luckens Reserve and Beach Information

Browns Island auckland

View of Browns Island Crater and Hauraki Gulf
View of Browns Island Crater

Wow – Browns Island in Auckland Harbour – what a cool little island to visit. Browns Island is a small volcanic island that you can visit for an hour or a full day. Rising to 65m above sea level, the views of Auckland City and the Hauraki Gulf as you climb are superb.

Integrated GPS Map of Browns Island

Find tips on how to use this Google GPS Map

Get there by boat, kayak or paddle board

Browns Island is close to Auckland’s mainland. Launch a boat at Halfmoon Bay or another closeby spot or kayak or paddle board from one of the nearby beaches. Crater Bay at the northeast corner is a great landing spot for small boats – it is a good deep water beach – 1.9m of water at half tide only 20m from the beach. We beached our front and unloaded and then anchored about 25m off the beach.

Kayaks and Paddle Boards may want to access via the shallow beach on the southwest side.

What to see and do?

Browns Island Auckland is a fascinating small volcano in the Waitemata Harbour that deserves to be explored. It is mostly grassy paddocks that can be freely walked. Some highlighyts are:

Browns Island Auckland View
View of Auckland City from the summit of Browns Island
  • Climb the volcanic cone to the trig to get a great 360 degree view of Auckland and the Gulf. The volcano is also very defined and worth a look!
  • Walk the circumference of Browns Island
  • Visit the shipwreck on the Southwest beach
  • Examine the three types of volcanic structures present on Browns Island – the only volcano in Auckland to have all three types.
  • Swim at Crater Bay – the water is clear and deep with a nice little beach
  • Search for fossils

Walking Difficulty and Suitability

That walking tracks on Browns Island are largely unformed tracks that just wander through the grass. There are stairs ascending from Crater Bay towards the volcanic cone.

The walk to the summit is short but quite steep – suitable for most, except those who are unsteady on their feet. The island is not suitable for buggies, pushchairs or wheelchairs.

This is a fascinating book on Auckland’s 50 volcanoes. Learn about the prominent, obscure and unexpected. Discover locations, history and geology.  Great book to add to your Auckland collection.

5 Cool walks in auckland

This weather is looking stunning this Auckland Anniversary Weekend and here are 5 walks we suggest you could try that are both spectacular and nice and cool! Walk these tracks in the shade of some magnificent NZ native bush.

1. Albany Trig Track

Albany Trig Track Waterfall
Tranquility in the bush by the waterfall

The Albany Trig Track is a stunning loop walk with plenty of splendid NZ native bush. The walk culminates in reaching the Trig and along the walk provides plenty of views around northern Auckland.

Click here for a track description and Google Map of the walk

A couple of other closeby walks that also wind through stunning NZ bush are Albany Totara Walkway and the Torbay Rata Track

2. Point View Reserve

Point View Reserve Trig
Stunning Views can be seen from the Trig

Point View Reserve has beautiful NZ bush and some of the best views in Auckland. This is a steep walk with plenty of stairs, so does require a certain level of fitness.

Click here for a track description and Google Map of the walk

Another nearby track that I run often is the
Mangemangeroa Valley Walkway.

3. Moire Park

This bush walk is out west and skirts the football grounds and stream. There are wonderful views back towards the Auckland Harbour Bridge and an excellent children’s playground.

Click for a more detailed description of this walk.

4. Awaruku Bush Reserve

650 year old kahikatea tree in Awaruku Bush Reserve
Giant 650 year old kahikatea tree

This is a lovely walk and one that holds a sentimental place in my heart – it was my father-in-laws first track he helped to build and he has helped to maintain it for the past 45 years. The track includes a 650 year old Kahikatea Tree, a waterfall when it rains and glow worms at night!

Click this link for more information and the Google Map

Long Bay Reserve also has plenty of tracks in the bush. I currently do not have a Google Map of this – should hopefully be loaded soon!

5. Dingle Dell

This is a beautiful bush walk nestled in among Auckland’s leafy St. Heliers. Complete a circuit via the St. Heliers Beach waterfront and enjoy a nice cold ice cream!

Click here for a further track description.