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.

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

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

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.

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

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.

North Shore track closures

Sad news. We have been informed to advise you that due to the presence of kauri dieback in Kaipatiki a number of reserves and tracks are now closed.

A list can be found on  pestfreekaipatiki.org.nz/kauri-dieback. Please avoid any reserves that contain kauri – the current cleaning stations only kill off one form of the kauri dieback spores.

People going into native bush should ensure that their footwear and their pets paws have been scrubbed thoroughly in soapy water – the waste water should be tipped down the sewer NOT stormwater drains.

Thorough footwashing must be undertaken between each bush reserve – otherwise kauri dieback could be carried from one reserve to another.

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

***Please note: September 2018 This track has been temporarily closed due to Kauri Dieback

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