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.
One of Auckland’s less known and visited volcanic cones, Pigeon Mountain (Ōhuiarangi) is worth exploring. This is Auckland’s easternmost volcanic cone and offers fantastic views of the Hauraki Gulf and back across Auckland City. It provides a very unique perspective of Auckland’s geography and at only 55m in height is not a daunting climb.
Ōhuiarangi contains sports fields, a Scout Hall, Kindergarten and plenty of opportunities to climb and explore. The northern side was quarried from 1847 by the early Fencibles Settlers and this increased through the 1950’s-1970’s. Today, the northern part of Pigeon Mountain is no more and there are protective fences to stop visitors from falling up to 30m. The southern side of the mountain contains grassy slopes and sports fields.
The detour to the Wetlands across Pigeon Mountain Rd is a pleasant boardwalk through growing native bush.
45 – 90 minutes
Grass tracks and some rocks near quarry
Offroad buggies could be pushed up the grass slopes if fit & strong. Wetlands Section is wheel friendly.
The walk to the summit can be commenced via Gills Rd or from the carpark on Pigeon Mountain Rd. If commencing from the carpark head to the south and start your climb up through the remains of the quarrying. There are a lot of interesting rock formations and outcrops that make it an interesting place to explore. Be aware that much of this terrain is very uneven. After climbing up the edge of the old quarry, you intersect with a track that will take you to the summit.
If you choose to walk from Gills Rd, just head your way across the sports field and towards the summit. There are a few grass tracks that eventually lead towards some stairs that take you to the top!
Once at the summit, you’ll enjoy some great views back over Auckland City and towards Browns Island and Rangitoto Island. On your decent, try going down the way you did not come up so you appreciate both sides of the mountain.
A couple of other interesting facts:
Pigeon Mountain was a Maori Pa and so you will see historic terraces on the mountain.
A group of Pakuranga College students found some artefacts and skulls in the 1960’s
This walk is not suitable for buggies or wheelchairs unless off-road capable. They can be used to access the summit from Gills Rd side but there is no way you can take a buggy up the northern track.
The Pigeon Mountain Walkway allows dogs on a leash.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Complete the walk to Rosedale utilising the main paved/boardwalk. This is a wide and easy walk, suitable for buggies and wheelchairs.
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.
Follow the track through the sports field, rather than follow the track around the road.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
At last! Beautiful blue skies and sunshine. A perfect Fathers Day. And of course, a perfect day for a walk. We decided to check out the Oratia Twin Streams walk and cycleway to see if we could include it as part of a fun circular walk. We did it!
New soon to Parrs Park – a playground is due to open at the end of September. Across the road and along to 474 West Coast Road, is Nola’s Orchard where you can buy fresh strawberry ice-cream in Summer. Oratia used to be a large orchard growing district and it is good to see some reminders of the heritage.
There are a few surprises along the route – wetlands, ceramic sculptures, ceramic tiles and a carved maori pou in honour of Hoani Retimana Waititi. Today we were also blessed with a great deal of bird song.
The walking route is also great for cyclists, prams/buggies and dog walkers (on leash and off leash dog exercise areas).
It is disappointing that the Oratia walk and cycleway starts/finishes on the busy Parrs Cross Road. We hope that at some time in the future, this will be remedied. Also disappointing, the stream banks are thickly planted out, restricting the view of the stream itself. There is a good choice of picnic tables within Parrs Park.
The Packing Shed Gallery and Cafe – Situated in the original packing shed of the beautiful Tara Orchards, which was 100 years old in 2008 it is a reminder of times gone by. It’s a lovely spot for lunch, Devonshire tea and to enjoy the artwork of some talented West Auckland artists. 99 Parrs Cross Rd Henderson (opposite and to the right from the Cycle and Walkway) Mon – Sunday 9-4
Oratia Farmers Market is open from 9am to 12 noon every Saturday morning at 99 Parrs Cross Road. Find coffee, breakfast, fresh produce and live music.
Dogs – Off leash exercise areas within reserves and parks.
Description: Mostly level paths. Suitable for most ages and levels of fitness and mobility, designed with flat shoes or running shoes in mind. Wheel friendly. To see: native bush, wetland and stream. Time: approx. 60 minutes (about 4.8kms). Parking: Parrs Park off West Coast Road. MAP
Stay on track…get your detailed guide and map brochure (AW-106 Oratia Stream Loop) over at our Walks Store or find more walks in our books at the Book Store.
Sir 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
We 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
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.
The 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
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.
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“).
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.
The 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
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.
To make your own loop walk starting from the Whitford roundabout: at the end of Wades walkway turn left into Wades Road, at the next junction, turn left (still Wades Road) then right into Whitford Road to return to the start. We have not measured this loop walk, but allow at least an hour. MAP
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.
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”).
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.
Our 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
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.
Recently 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.
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
FEEDBACK April 2018: “Having (attempted to) walk the Unsworth loop (North shore) today with baby and pram I can strongly recommend DO NOT do so. Overtime the path has been worn down and it’s almost impossible to do the loop because of the thousands of tree roots.” Please take photos and report to Auckland Council.
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 ***
As 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
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”.
We 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).
Dogs 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