Category Archives: Auckland Wetlands and Waterways

Within Auckland we are very lucky to have unique wetlands spread out among the suburbs. These environments provide refuge for bird life and swamp plants. The restoration and preservation of these areas has been carried out by the Auckland Council, Fish and Game NZ, the Department of Conservation, Forest & Bird and the National Wetlands Trust. Take a walk through these wetlands and waterways, and appreciate what there is to see there.

Spring walks in Auckland

Winter in Auckland can be very wet and sometimes very cold. So to lift your spirits we have listed suggested walks where you can enjoy the signs of spring in Auckland.

Auckland Domain
Spring sunshine in Auckland Domain – at the duck pond

Oratia Stream Loop

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dogs – Off leash exercise areas within reserves and parks.

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

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

Barry Curtis Park

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

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

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

 

 

 

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

Botany to Cascades Loop Walk

It continues to amaze us how the distances between places seem shorter when we are out walking compared to driving. This loop walk in Auckland from Botany Town Centre and back via Cascades Road, was one  that took us from an unfamiliar area to an area we have walked previously. When we start exploring a new area, we are never sure what we are going to find, and we found today’s walk very pleasant.

We made good use of reserve walkways and the suburban streets.  And we had three delightful surprises.

Our first surprise was finding a book –  a travelling book (from BookCrossing) left by someone to be picked up, read and released!

The second surprise was stumbling upon an old farm cottage which has been converted into a cafe that is surrounded by modern suburban housing. The grounds contain a tree that was planted in 1890. A hidden gem with a rural feel right in the middle of an urban wasteland with heaps of character and charm – Hawthorn Dene Historic Country Cafe.

Botany to Cascades Loop Walk Copyright 2014 Unleashed ventures LimitedThe third surprise was an amazing and wonderful wood carving which you would not know was there if you were travelling by car.

 
The walking route is also great for cyclists, prams/buggies and dog walkers . Dogs- Off leash exercise areas within reserves and parks.

Description: Mostly level paths. Suitable for most ages and levels of fitness and mobility, designed with flat shoes or running shoes in mind. Suitable for pushchairs.
To see: Historical sites, bridges, waterways.
Time: approx. 75 minutes (about 7kms).
Start:The Hub, Ti Rakau Drive, Botany. MAP

Stay on track…find this walk’s map and directions guide (AE-100 Botany to Cascades Loop) and other walk self-guides at our Walk Store and our Book Store (“Best of the East”).

Glen Eden Bush and Stream walk

Glen Eden is undergoing stream restoration and cycleways development as part of the Twin Streams Project, so we set out for an exploratory walk to see what we could uncover.

We started off at Ceramco Park, but if you are arriving by train, you could take the Upper Waikumete Walk and Cycle Way starting from the corner of Captain Scott Road and West Coast Road, turn right into Savoy Road to continue to Ceramco Park. We followed the Waikumete Stream, footpaths, walkways and tracks through native bush and wetlands, over bridges and along pleasant residential streets, making this an enjoyable short urban bush walk.

Dogs – Off leash exercise areas within reserves and parks.

Nearby Walk: Glen Eden and Waikumete Cemetery Circuit Walk

Description: Mainly flat with one steep road. Suitable for most ages and levels of fitness and mobility, designed with flat shoes or running shoes in mind. Suitable for pushchairs.
To see: Waikumete Creek, wetlands, native bush, kauri trees.
Time: approx. 60 minutes (about 5.47kms).
Parking:  Ceramco Park.
Start: 120 Glendale Road, Glen Eden. MAP

Stay on track…get your detailed guide and map (AW-099 Glen Eden Bush & Stream Walk) over at our Walks Store  and our Book Store (one of 12 walks featured in our books “Dog Friendly Part 2” “Best of the West“).

Botany and Dannemora circuits

This short loop walk exploring the reserves from Botany Town Centre to Dannemora is suitable for people who work at Botany Town Centre and enjoy a short walk in their breaks, families with young children (playground, ducks) and dog owners.

Botany-Dannemora walk circuit. Copyright @2014 Unleashed Ventures LimitedThe walkways are flat and concrete – ideal for wet days, and for buggies and scooters.  We saw ducks, pukeko and shags on the waterways. There is a children’s playground en-route, picnic tables and off leash dog exercise areas.

The walking route is great for cyclists, prams/buggies and dog walkers.

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: Reserves and waterways.
Time: approx. 45 minutes (about 3.4 kms).
Start:  Town Centre Drive, Chapel Road, Botany. MAP

Stay on track…Find this walk (AE-102 Botany to Dannemora Loop) and other walk brochures with map and directions at our Walk Store

Wades walkway Whitford

Wades Walkway at Whitford is a little gem that we hope will be developed further in the future.  The walkway follows the Turanga River.  From the 1860’s until 1927 a ferry provided transport from Whitford to Auckland. The remains of the wharf are still on-site.

There is a children’s playground nearby. Whitford Village has a collection of gift shops and cafes. We enjoyed visiting Amy’s Kitchen.

Wades Walkway can be accessed from the roundabout in Whitford or from Wades Road. The track is loose gravel and is flat. Suitable for mountain bikes. MAP

Henderson Creek Loop

It turned out to be a wonderful warm spring day – perfect for exploring the pathways beside Henderson Creek in West Auckland. The previous Waitakere City Council has spent a great deal of ratepayers money on providing walkways and cycle-ways throughout the district. It was heartening to see people make the most of them as we walked alongside the Creek.

Hopefully the “International Walkway of Trees” section will become a wonderful legacy as many of the trees were gifted and planted for future generations by representatives of the ethnic communities living in Waitakere City as at October 2000.

Henderson Creek © 2011-2013 Unleashed Ventures Limited

What was missing though, was signposting and maps to indicate where you were and how far to go. We had printed off our own map before starting off, but for newcomers without a map, they could only venture there and back, for fear of getting lost.

Henderson Creek was once a hive of activity for traders, vintners, farmers, orchardists and families, and the area was also known for it’s timber milling industry.

We did enjoy our 4.5km walk – the sun was shining, the birds were singing, we were sheltered from the cool breeze and this was a part of Auckland that was new to us. To top it all off, we had a delicious coffee at The Falls Restaurant – sitting outside in the sunny courtyard.

Dogs – Off leash areas within reserves and parks.

Description: Mostly level paths.
Suitable for most ages and levels of fitness and mobility, designed with flat shoes or running shoes in mind. Suitable for pushchairs.
To see: Henderson Creek, historical sites.
Time: approx. 60 minutes (about 4.5kms).
Parking:  Public carpark (free on Sundays).
Start: Corner Edmonton Road/Alderman Drive.
MAP
Playground: Tui Glen Reserve (includes a flying fox).

Stay on track…find this walk’s map and directions guide (AW-094 Henderson Creek Loop) and other walk self-guides at our Walk Store and our Book Store (one of 12 walks featured in our books “Dog Friendly Walks part 3” and “Best of the West”).

Mt Roskill Explorer

We had overlooked Mt Roskill as a place to walk and explore… until today.  The volcano double cone and twin craters of Mt Roskill have been destroyed through the installation of a water reservoir, but from the top it is easy to view Mt Albert, Mt Eden, Big King and One Tree Hill.

*** PLEASE NOTE ***
2 of the 3 parks are currently closed until 2018.  The detour around the parks takes a long time. Read: Auckland Council Public Notice.

Mt Roskill © 2011-2013 Unleashed Ventures LimitedOur flat walk (if you choose not to walk up to the summit of Mt Roskill) links up three reserves – War Memorial Park,  Walmsley Park and Underwood Park. Take some bread to feed the ducks in Oakley Creek. The final part of the walk is at the colourful shops of Stoddard Road.

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

We stopped for a very good coffee at an almost hidden Ethiopean cafe in the Tulja Centre called Cafe Abyssinia.

9th December 2013 – a new cafe has opened at 740 Sandringham Road Extension. Give your support to a community project – the Roskill Coffee Project.

Please note: An upgrade of Oakley Creek storm-water project has been proposed by the Local Board. If it goes ahead, there will be some disruption along this route within Walmsley and Underwood Parks from 2016.
Read about it here.

Description: Mostly level paths, steep paths ascent to summit of Mt Roskill. Suitable for most ages and levels of fitness and mobility, designed with flat shoes or running shoes in mind. Suitable for wheelchairs and pushchairs if Mt Roskill summit is avoided.

To see: Views of Auckland City skyline, Mt Albert, Mt Eden, Three Kings, One Tree Hill. Oakley Creek and ducks.
Time: approx. 90 minutes (about 7.5 kms).
Start: Corner of Sandringham Road extension/Stoddard Road.
MAP

Stay on track…find this walk’s map and directions guide (AC-093 Mt Roskill Loop) and other walk self-guides at our Walk Store

(Click on the photos to see an enlarged view.)

Unsworth Reserve Loop

Over the years, we have made many visits to Paul Matthews Road off the Upper Harbour Highway in Albany totally unaware that nearby is the huge Unsworth Reserve with the Alexandra Stream flowing through.

The Alexandra Stream is thought to be named after Princess Alexandra who married the Prince of Wales in 1863.

Unsworth Reserve Boardwalk and cycle way © 2011-2013 Unleashed Ventures LimitedRecently a new board walk/ cycle way has been completed.  Obviously we have no idea what was here previously, and can’t imagine how much the project would have cost, but it certainly looks impressive. We hope that it will get a lot of use by recreational and commuting cyclists, pedestrians and joggers. As the many plants and trees grow, it will become a beautiful oasis in the middle of suburban housing.

Along the boardwalk are boards – informing us of ways that water quality is being improved, the past fruit cultivation, ways to reduce erosion and plants – the weeds and natives. And we are impressed with the sign posting.

It was fabulous to walk among many silver ferns, ponga ferns and manuka trees beside the untouched paths along the edge of the reserve.

As we were about to return to the industrial edge of the reserve, we were delighted to spot a pair of adult ducks with about 10 to 12 ducklings swimming and feeding among the reeds in the wetlands of the storm water catchment Omega Pond.

Dogs – off leash exercise areas along route.

Suggested cafe: Cafe Drina

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 wheelchairs and pushchairs/prams/buggies.
To see: Wetlands, park land, ponds.
Time: approx. 60 minutes (about 5.0 kms).
Start:  Rosedale Park. MAP

P3 Dog friendly walks in AucklandStay on track…get your detailed guide and map (AN-092 Unsworth Reserve Loop) over at our Walks Store  and our Book Store (one of 12 walks featured in our book “Dog Friendly Walks part 3”).

 

 

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.

Northcote Tuff Crater Loop

This loop walk that takes in Northcote’s volcanic Tuff Crater and Onepoto Domain is based on one from Margaret Scrymgeour’s booklet “Explore the Shore”.

Onepoto Domain NorthcoteWe started the walk from the children’s playground area at Onepoto Domain.  We had heard about the children’s cycle track and it is a really safe place to bring young children and their bikes.  The playgrounds looks like a lot of fun too (it has a flying fox).  It is a great place to have a picnic, feed the ducks and an ideal spot for parenting groups to meet up.

Onepoto Basin is another of Auckland’s explosion craters and it is the oldest dated, erupting about 250,000 years ago. The Maori name “Onepoto” means small beach (named after Halls Beach near Northcote Point).

Tuff Crater is another explosion crater (this one is filled with water), which is being restored to its natural state with a balanced ecosystem of native plants and wildlife, all with volunteer help. It was formed by explosive eruptions around the same time as Onepoto.
For more information about the Tuff Crater, you may wish to view this video. (please note that our loop walk includes part of the Tuff Crater. There are future plans to build a circular walkway completely around the Tuff Crater).

Tuff Crater - dogs on leash onlyDogs may be off-leash on the track within the Tuff Crater Reserve (according to Auckland Council  Bye-laws Department re phone call 3/6/2014).  There is a risk that they could disturb endangered bird life, so please keep them under control.  We do have a request for dog owners to pick up litter (as we did come across litter).
PLEASE NOTE: As of the 29th October 2014 the new dog rules for Tuff Crater – Dogs prohibited within the foreshore (mangroves) of Tuff Crater; on-leash on track around reserve.

Description: Bush tracks, steps, inclines. Muddy in places when wet. Suitable for users of average fitness and mobility.
To see: Native bush, views across Auckland Harbour, native birds, volcanic crater
Time: approx. 60 minutes. (about 5.0 kms). Dog friendly, but on leash only.
Parking: Onepoto Domain, Northcote.
Buses: Onewa Road, Northcote MAP

P1 Dog friendly walks in AucklandStay on track…get your detailed guide and map  (AN-085 Northcote Tuff Crater Loop) over at our Walks Store and our Book Store (one of 12 walks featured in our book “Dog Friendly Walks part 1”).

 

Grey Lynn Explorer

It was time to visit the newly opened (15th June 2013) Cox’s Bay Reserve boardwalk and to incorporate it into another circular walk to add to our collection.

Cox's Bay Reserve board walk © 2011-2013 Unleashed Ventures Limited

This walk explores both Cox’s Bay Reserve and Grey Lynn Park.
Cox’s Bay Reserve is made up of three parks – Hukanui Reserve where the new boardwalk is, Bayfield Park where you may wish to have your picnic, and the sports fields of Cox’s Bay Park. It is a mini-paradise for dog owners with off-leash dog exercise areas.

And it is family friendly too, with a selection of children’s playgrounds and picnic sites. It is a great place for joggers and people who like to use the outdoor fitness stations.

The wide open spaces, sculptures, playing fields, the creek, mangrove swamps, gullies, the bay itself, a field with cattle and tall mature trees surrounded by interesting residential housing, make this another walk that is full of variety.

Also of interest is the Kelmarna Gardens Nature Trail off Hukanui Crescent – A self-directed nature trail will show you chickens, vegetable gardens, a pony and young cattle, an organic orchard, beehives, worm farm, compost making, native trees and flax. The trail winds its way through the gardens, across paddocks and links to Cox’s Creek Walkway. The gardens were established in 1981 and have been organically managed for 32 years. The land is owned by Auckland Council for the benefit of the whole community.

For history information visit “Meanderings about Cox’s Creek”.

Dogs – Off leash exercise areas in Cox’s Bay Reserve and Grey Lynn Park (check signage for rules).

Description: Paved walkways, steps, inclines and board walks. Suitable for users of average fitness and mobility. (Suitable for prams/buggies excluding the steps).
To see: Sculptures, playing fields, the creek, mangrove swamps, gullies, the bay itself, a field with cattle and tall mature trees surrounded by interesting residential housing.
Time: approx. 70 minutes. (about 5.58 kms)
Parking: Westmoreland Street West off Richmond Road, Grey Lynn.
Buses: Dog friendly walks in Auckland - part threeRichmond Road, Grey Lynn MAP
Children’s playgrounds. Off-leash dog exercise areas in in Grey Lynn Park and Cox’s Bay Reserve (please read the signs).
Cafe: Bread and Butter

Stay on track…get your detailed guide and map over at our Walks Store  (AC-081 Grey Lynn Explorer) and our Book Store (one of 12 walks featured in our book “Dog Friendly Walks part 3”).

 

 

 

Le Roys Bush Loop

Saying that you are going for a walk in the bush in urban Auckland, may sound like an oxymoron…however, that is one of the many wonderful aspects of walking in Auckland – you never have to go far to find native bush. Kauri Glen Reserve lives up to it’s name and Le Roys Bush follows a stream downhill to the restored wetlands of Little Shoal Bay, Northcote (which was once a tidal estuary filled with mangroves).

Little Shoal Bay © 2011-2013 Unleashed Ventures LimitedThis morning the sun was out (as well as the tide!), which made it a very pleasant and warm winter’s day.  Some of the smaller tracks are wet, muddy and slippery so if that doesn’t fit with you, then I suggest that you save them for a summer walk. The loop walk we have documented keeps you on the drier paths and boardwalks.

We were rewarded with sunlight filtering through the native trees, the sound of the bubbling stream and the songs of the native birds – we could have been deep in the bush instead of in the middle of urban residences!

  • Free Map for your smartphone – go to the new prototype site:  Le Roys Bush Walks [22Nov2015]

Kauri Glen is one of the oldest bush reserves on the Shore (measures about 25 acres and first sizeable pieces of land that was placed under public management) which includes trees such as taraire, totara, kauri, tawa, rewarewa and maire. Kiekie and nikau are abundant in this sub-tropical rainforest. Smaller species of note are pate and karapapa. The area is alive with the likes of tui, fantails and moreporks.

Little Shoal Bay Reserve is a great place to start and finish at – with plenty of parking and a fun looking children’s playground.  Dogs must be kept on leash to protect the flora and fauna.

Alternatively you could begin your walk at Birkenhead. A new track has been constructed (September 2016) from 31-45 Birkenhead Avenue. Called the Maori Pipi Walk.

You could pop into the Northcote Tavern  for lunch, coffee or a beer afterwards – full of character and nice ambience. Or stop at Sausalito Cafe.

Description: Bush track and board walks. Slippery when wet. Suitable for users of average fitness and mobility.
To see: Native bush, waterfall, wetlands, views across Auckland Harbour, native birds.
Time: approx. 60 minutes. (about 5.0 kms)
Parking: Little Shoal Bay Reserve
Buses/Ferries: Queen Street, Onewa Road, Northcote MAP


Stay on track…get your detailed guide and map  (AN-079 Le Roys Bush Loop) over at our Walks Store and our Book Store (one of 12 walks featured in our books “Urban Bush” and “Dog Friendly Walks part 2”).