Category Archives: Auckland Bush walks

Many of the hidden gems within Auckland City are the pockets of native bush that have been restored and nurtured. We do not have to travel far from the city to see native trees, bush and palms.
Our 4th book of 12 circular walks in our Short Walks in Auckland series is titled “Urban Bush” and it will soon be available from Amazon and your local library.

Summer walks in Auckland

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:

1. Cornwall Park

2. Highbrook

3. Conifer Grove

4. Three Kings

Once December passes and the weather warms up, it is time to seek the shade of the native bush or the cool breezes of the coast.

All these walks (with maps, detailed directions and other vital information) can be downloaded in individual brochures.

A series of 12 self-guide walk books is also available. Visit the book store or The Women’s Bookshop (in Ponsonby, Auckland).

Centennial Park walking tracks

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.

Titirangi and French Bay Loop

This walk begins near the ridge village of Titirangi and follows the path down through Atkinson Park to Titirangi Beach and French Bay.
Titirangi and French Bay Loop
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 Hillsborough

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 2015A 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.

Eskdale and Highbury Reserves

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.

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.

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

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

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

Point View Reserve Loop

Last weekend while we were exploring the Whitford area, we stumbled across the Point View Reserve, and decided to check it out. Point View Reserve Copyright 2014 Unleashed Ventures Limited

Point View Reserve is close to Botany and Dannemora and the view from the trig station, looking north to Auckland City puts the city’s housing sprawl into perspective.  Looking towards the opposite direction there are still the rolling hills of the quiet countryside to see. What a contrast!

And then, in the middle of the reserve is regenerating native bush – taraire, karaka, puriri, rimu, totara and kahikatea trees; as well as tree ferns, kanuka and nikau palms.   What a treasure this reserve is.

A tributary of the Mangemangeroa Creek runs through the steep gully (we were told there are 500 steps on the Koura Track).

Our 3km loop walk does require a good level of fitness – due to the steep steps.  Dogs must be on-leash in the bush areas, and off leash in the open areas.

You can download the Auckland Council Point View Reserve brochure here.

Description: Mix of level and steep paths, with a series of steep steps. Suitable for good levels of fitness and mobility, designed with flat shoes or running shoes in mind. Not suitable for pushchairs.
To see: Views of Auckland City and countryside, bush and birds.
Time: approx. 45 to 60 minutes (about 3.16kms). Plus exploring time.
Parking:  Corner of Caldwells Road and Point View Drive. MAP

 

Best of the South: Short walks in AucklandStay on track… Find this walk (AS-097 Point View Reserve Loop) and other walk brochures with map and directions at our Walk Store . One of 12 walks in our book “Best of the South” available from our Book Store.

Mangemangeroa Valley Walkway

Today we headed south along the Mangemangeroa Valley Walkway – previously we had walked north to Shelly Park Beach.  Today started off overcast but the sun came out, and there was a cool breeze.  The breeze was very welcome when we were walking uphill in Hayley Lane and at the end of the Rotary Loop.

Mangemangeroa Valley Walkway © 2011-2014 Unleashed Ventures Limited All Rights Reserved

We started off at the barn in Somerville Road (MAP) and turned right.  It was good to see new maps and direction posts have been erected since our last visit, one year ago.  A lot of work has also been done with the planting of flax and cabbage trees – where this is done it will be a joy to see the rejuvenation of the native bush. We were pleased to see young kauri trees growing strongly. We walked up the steep hill of Hayley Lane, along Point View Drive, then back down the steep steps to rejoin the path, then followed the next turn left up the steps of the Rotary Loop to return to the start – a length of just over 5kms.

This walkway is very pleasant and perfect for a day walk and picnic, if doing the full length. Get the Auckland Council brochure here.

We drove onto Whitford for refreshments beside the Turanga River at Amy’s Kitchen.

Eskdale Reserve Bush walk

If you fancy a bush walk without having to travel out of Auckland, then Eskdale Reserve and Birkenhead Domain may hit the spot. You could take a picnic to eat on the grass. And if you enjoy mountain bike riding, then this is an option too.  Be prepared for dog walkers (dogs on-leash).

This shady bush walk is suitable for hot summer days or misty rain days. The native bush includes nikau palms, young kauri trees and ponga tree ferns. The Kaipatiki Stream runs through the reserves.

We started our walk from Glenfield Road. MAP

The Eskdale Reserve bush tracks are highlighted in the Kaipatiki Explorer maps which you can download HERE.

Totaravale Reserves

The Totaravale Reserves loop walk loosely follows a route  documented by Margaret Scrymgeour from her booklet “Explore the Shore”.  This walk on Auckland’s North Shore starts out in Rewi Reserve, then climbs up to the ridge of Sunset Road for a view over the rooftops of Auckland City and heads back down again to bush tracks, streams, and ponds in Unsworth Reserve and passes three playgrounds.

Dogs – off leash areas along route.

Description: Mostly level paths with some small flights of steps and one steep path. Suitable for most ages and levels of fitness and mobility, designed with flat shoes or running shoes in mind.
To see: Wetlands, parks, stream, pond, native bush.
Time: approx. 60 minutes (about 5.0 kms).
Start: Corner of Trias Road and Athena Drive. MAP

Stay on track…Find this walk (AN-095 Totaravale Reserves) and other walk brochures with map and directions at our Walk Store


Maraetai and Omana loop walk

Today was our first walk around the 3 km perimeter of Omana Regional Park near Maraetai (pronounced my-right-eye). The walk itself was pretty uninteresting apart from the view looking back to Auckland City. However, the walk along the coastline from Omana Beach to Maraetai Beach was much more interesting.

Maraetai and Omana loop walk © 2011-2014 Unleashed Ventures Limited All Rights Reserved

The weather was brilliant and it was fabulous to see so many people out enjoying themselves in and on the beautiful blue clear water, as well as picnicking on the grassy shore in the shade of the pohutukawa trees. The tide was high (actually a “king” tide) which added to the beauty.

The shared pathway/cycleway between Maraetai and  Beachlands is very scenic, and suitable for family cycle rides.

Description: Mostly level paths, with a few short steep bits. Gravel and sealed track/paths.  Sturdy footwear recommended for Omana loop.
Suitable for most ages and levels of fitness and mobility, designed with flat shoes or running shoes in mind.
To see: Farmland, bush, coast, boats.
Time: We did the Omana perimeter loop (3kms) and walked to Maraetai return (5kms).
Start:  Either from Maraetai or Omana Beach Road. Map

Click here for  Omana Regional Park map.

The combined walks of Maraetai and Omana lived up to our expectations of a diverse walk – farmland, bush, coast, boats and village.
Click on photo to enlarge.

Albany Reserve Loop

Today was our first walking exploration in the Albany area of Auckland. Previously I had stopped a couple of times for coffee at the Wine Box cafe and we had attended conventions at the North Harbour Stadium. So the area was not totally new to us.

*** Unfortunately Albany Scenic Reserve was been closed in 2015 due to Kauri Dieback ***

Albany Reserve Loop Walk © 2011-2013 Unleashed Ventures LimitedAs usual we were surprised at what we uncovered – a beautiful bush walk along a stream. The previous night had been very stormy (the news reported that there were over 1000 lightening strikes) and the stream was very full and flowing very fast! The well formed track following the stream however was not muddy as we would have expected.

However we did get “temporarily displaced” in a bush area(which involved climbing over two wire fences), and we will return to document a clear route.

In the early days the most popular means of transport from Greenhithe, Albany and Paremoremo to other areas whether on the North Shore or in Auckland was by water. Many wharves were built on both
sides of the banks of Lucas Creek and Hellyer’s Creek. Rowboats were common for travelling the short distance between Paremoremo and Greenhithe, while launches shipped passengers and goods to and
from Auckland. Regular shipping services became very important to settlers in the area who relied on sales of their fruit and dairy farming products in Auckland to make a living.

The Landing was an area that served as a terminus for the transportation of passengers and goods by water. It was demolished in the 1930s and has since been redeveloped for residential use.
Source: Auckland Council

The route begins and ends at Kell Park.  It starts off along a concrete path.  After which it heads into the bush, following the stream. We were impressed by the bush, the palms and the giant totara trees. The loop walk  returns via Massey University.

Dogs – off leash exercise area along bush track in Albany Reserve.

Description: A mix of level paths, steep paths and steps.  Suitable for most ages and levels of fitness and mobility, designed with flat shoes or running shoes in mind. Not suitable for wheelchairs and pushchairs.
To see: New Zealand bush, streams
Time: approx. 90 minutes (about 7.5 kms).
Start:  Kell Park, Albany. MAP

Find other walks at our Walk Store.