Hamlins Hill (Mutukaroa) Regional Park is a gem in the midst of Auckland City with a rich history and plenty of open space for you to unwind and enjoy. You can enjoy 360 degree views of Auckland city and explore the bush where you almost forget you are in the middle of New Zealand’s largest city. At times you are only 20m from the main Eastern Arterial route, but you feel one hundred miles away!
This park has been replanted with native bush and the grassland is farmed with cattle. Dogs are permitted on a lead.
The main access to the park is off Great South Rd, while bike and walking access is from the cycle lane next to the Eastern Arterial Route. The Gt South Rd entrance has a carpark.
60 – 90 mins
Grass or gravel track
2 – undulating with uneven surfaces
Only suitable for off-road buggies. There are also lots of gates to go through -some may require a buggy to be passed over.
Picnic Table, Park Benches, Portaloo near the picnic site (has been there when we have visited)
Bush, Farmland, Curious Cattle, Views of Auckland, Historic Rock Wall
Looking for some tranquillity and peace in the midst of the city – Hamlins is a place to visit and explore. It is a not-so-hidden-gem of solace surrounded by businesses and industry but when you are there, you will hardly know it. Further, it has relatively few visitors and compared with other city parks such as Auckland Domain and Cornwall Park, it is quiet.
If visiting by car, park at the entrance on Great South Rd – beware, it can be hard to find and if you blink you can miss it! If by bike, you can access from the cycleway via the Eastern Arterial route. The access from the car park is via a farm vehicle track, while from the cycleway the entrance is through native bush. This discussion will be written from the viewpoint of entering via the car park.
Walk about 150m from the carpark and through the first gate into the Regional Park. You can choose to continue straight ahead towards the main junction and picnic table or turn right to head through the native bush and to the highest points of the park. We will assume this is the route for this review. This provides great views across our wonderful city.
Enjoy a rest at the top of Hamlins Hill where you can enjoy one of the bench seats. Once ready, head north towards the main junction area of the park – here you will find the picnic table and a portable toilet.
There are four options to explore from the junction – you will see these clearly on the Google Map. I would recommend heading to the right and winding your way through the native bush until reaching the northern edge of the park, from here turn left and head back up to the junction or continue to the grassland and explore the western farm areas of the park. It is here you will see the historic stone wall.
Take your time exploring the farm, enjoying the curious cattle and the wide-open spaces. On your return, head back straight across the grass towards the junction or take the more adventurous and fun bush route just inside the southern perimeter.
Hamlins Hill is a real gem in the heart of our city. Walk it, bike it and run it! Bring the kids, the dog (on a lead) and just have a couple of hours out of the hustle.
Buggies and Wheelchairs
The park has gravel trails and grass paths and is only suitable for off-road capable buggies/wheelchairs. It also has a lot of farm gates/styles to pass through and at times buggies may need to be passed over the fence if they cannot squeeze through the gaps.
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!
The Hobsonville Point Walkway circumnavigates a newly developed area of Auckland. Much of the walkway follows the foreshore and offers pictureque harbour views . This is a walk of variety – parks, developments, wharf and historic homes.
This walk is full of interesting views and experiences.
Start the walk from Catalina Cafe , next to the beautiful Hobsonville Point Park and then meander your way around the newly developed streets. The busy footpaths soon give-way to a coastal track which leads you around Hobsonville Point. The track is generally very wide and is in very good condition.
Views of the harbour and back to Auckland City in the distance are both stunning and plentiful. There are areas of grass fields and native bush enroute, particularly Onekiritea Park.
Once past Harrier Point Park the coastal walk takes in the Hobsonville Ferry Terminal precinct with its facilities and then tracks alongside recent housing developments. It is a fascinating mix of ‘the new’ alongside beautiful water views and two historic homes.
Chichester Cottage is a quaint old cottage built by Doug and Audrey Mill around 1927. Mill House, originally known as ‘Windover’, was built in the early 1930’s by prominent Auckland Architect George Tole for the Mill’s. Follow the links to find out more information.
This walkway is very easy and excellent underfoot, great for buggies, wheelchairs and bikes. There is a good playground at Hobsonville Point Park where the walk starts and another (only a flying fox and tyre swing) at Harrier Point.
Buggies and Wheelchairs
This walkway is excellent for wheelchairs, buggies and bikes. It is very flat overall, with minimal rise and fall plus the track is paved 95%+ of the way.
Without any obvious fanfare, the Westhaven Promenade unofficially opened yesterday (30th January 2015) for walking and cycling. And it is magnificent. Wide and spacious with wonderful views of our City of Sails. It really brings us close to the waterfront and we hope that many people will enjoy this facility. (Officially opened on the 16th February 2015).
The next stage is an interim cycle path to link North Wharf to this new boardwalk, as announced by Auckland Transport. This will form part of a 20km continuous walkway and cycleway that runs from Herne Bay in the west to Tamaki Drive in the east.
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
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.
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
The Otara Creek Walkway in South Auckland, passes through some 220 hectares of waterway/tidal mudflats and forms a green corridor within Otara township.
This huge reserve was almost empty today; we saw two cyclists and one stray dog.
This walkway is ideal for family cycling and for taking your dog for an off-leash walk. (Dogs are welcome along the walkway provided they are kept under control and do not disturb wildlife or other park users. Dogs are not permitted on sport fields or near children’s playgrounds.)
The creek has mangrove mud flats and is sadly polluted – the locals seems to take delight in dropping shopping trolleys into the creek. However, if you can overlook the neglect, you may find enjoyment in the bigger view: the sounds of the birds and the trees and the native plants within the Otara Creek Reserve.
When I got home the thought came to me what it was that was missing here. Other walks along waterways in Auckland like Wattle Downs and Conifer Grove have homes facing the waterway, but here alongside Otara Creek, there are only fenced off back yards. Would people feel a sense of ownership, if another row of houses inside the reserve faced the creek?
Description: Mainly level paths. Suitable for users of average fitness and mobility. Dog friendly.
To see: Otara Creek and estuary, mangrove mud flats
Time: approx. 75 minutes. (about 5.75 kms)
Start from: Fair Mall, Bairds Road, East Tamaki MAP
Stay on track…get your detailed guide and map (AS-073 Otara Creek Walkway) over at our Walks Store and our Book Store (one of 12 walks featured in our books “Dog Friendly Walks part 3” and “Best of the South”).
More information: My Auckland: Conifer Grove
The boardwalk through the mangroves provides a mini adventure for young children (but do keep an eye on them – one child’s scooter took a flying leap into the mud when we were there; luckily the tide was out!).
Suitable for family cycling – Brylee Drive Reserve, Takinini, 6km of shared paths.
Description: Mainly level paths, some steps. Suitable for users of average fitness and mobility.
To see: Manukau Harbour views, mangroves, residential homes and gardens
Time: approx. 60 minutes. (about 4.55 kms)
Start: Walter Strevens Drive, Conifer Grove MAP
Stay on track…get your detailed guide and map (AS-069 Conifer Grove Circuit) over at our Walks Store and our Book Store (one of 12 walks featured in our books “Coastal part 2” and “Best of the South”).
We have now added a fourth loop walk taking in the wonderful Pakuranga Rotary walkway. This 5kms loop walk follows the Tamaki Estuary through Farm Cove and explores the Sunny Hills suburban streets, with views of Mount Wellington and One Tree Hill.
You may wish to cycle the whole 5 kms of the Pakuranga Rotary walkway, or just stop and watch the tide on one of the many seats along the walkway. Families may like to take a fun break on the snakes and ladders playground near the Bramley Drive entrance.
The walking route is also great for prams/buggies and dog walkers (on leash only).
We stopped for coffee at the French inspired deli/cafe Mon Bichon, a delightful surprise in the Farm Cove village shops. You could buy your pastries from here to take and eat beside the walkway…(update: sadly it is no longer there).
Description: Mainly level paths (with one small incline). Suitable for users of average fitness and mobility. Suitable for cycling and push-chairs. To see: Tamaki Estuary, Mangroves, white volcanic pumice deposits, views of Mount Wellington and One Tree Hill, residential homes Time: approx. 60 minutes. (about 5 kms) Start: Fisher Parade, Farm Cove Village MAP
Wattle Downs in South Auckland was another new area for us to explore. The Wattle DownsWalkway goes around the edge of the peninsula that extends into Manukau Harbour, at one spot there are views through to Manukau Heads.
The day was very calm – the water was like a mirror, and there were also threatening grey clouds hanging overhead.
The walking route is also great for cyclists, prams/buggies and dog walkers (on leash and off leash dog exercise areas).
There are many points of interest along the way, and friendly people to say hello to. We stopped and spoke to a resident whose house looked out towards Manukau Heads – he told us that they get to view amazing sunsets over the harbour.
There are wetlands and ponds active with shore birds – if you are a keen bird watcher be sure to take your binoculars.
The only thing missing in the area is a cafe.
UPDATE March 2015 ** The shared walkway/cycleway has been extended from Hadley Wood Drive to Aberdeen Crescent.
Suitable for Family cycling: Frangipani Ave to Bluewater place, 10km each way.
Description: Mainly level paths, one set of steps (which can be avoided). Suitable for users of average fitness and mobility. Suitable for cyclists.
To see: Manukau Heads, Manukau Harbour, Wattle Farm Wetland Reserve, shore birds
Time: approx. 100 minutes (about 8.7 kms). Dog off-leash areas. Childrens playgrounds. No cafe. Public Toilets may not be open due to vandalism issues (see image below).
Start from: Wattle Farm Reserve MAP
Stay on track…get your detailed guide and map (AS-067 Wattle Downs Loop) over at our Walks Store and our Book Store (one of 12 walks featured in our books “Coastal part 1”, “Dog Friendly Walks part 1” and “Best of the South”).
Today we set out to explore another part of the Pakuranga Rotary Walkway, this time taking a loop behind Saint Kentigern College and through Manor Park.
This mainly flat 4km walk would suit workers at Pakuranga Plaza as well as residents. Views of Mount Wellington and water craft. Great for cyclists (cycle the full length of the walkway to Pigeon Mountain) and dog walkers (on leash – please refer to comments below), andfor prams/buggies .
The day was calm and the skies blue – perfect for a walk!
Description: Mainly level paths. Suitable for users of average fitness and mobility. To see: Views of Mount Wellington, water craft, residential homes Time: approx. 45 minutes. (about 4.0 kms) Start: Pakuranga Plaza MAP
Today we headed north out of Auckland to Orewa to walk around the Te Ara Tahuna shared path. This cycleway/walkway encircles the Orewa Estuary for a distance of 7.58km. It took us 1 hour and 45 minutes to walk it at a leisurely pace.
The tide was going out as we walked around anti-clockwise. It is a diverse walk, starting from the car park by the Estuary Arts Centre. MAP
We walked past beautiful houses and gardens set along the path, crossed bridges, walked on the edge of farmland with picturesque bales of hay and past mangroves – arriving back to the view of the ocean along the Hibiscus Coast Highway.
Look out for all the different wetland birdlife. You will also see kauri trees, pohutukawa trees, cabbage trees and flax. There are picnic tables available at the Orewa end, as well as a skate park. Benches provide views of the estuary and take the time to admire the beautifully carved wooden seats (six in total as of today’s date).
The cycleway is ideal for families with children who are competent cyclists. The pathway is a mix of concrete, bitumen and loose gravel. Be sure to have snacks and drinks with you to keep up the energy levels. And if the weather is appropriate, take beach gear for a refreshing swim afterwards.
There are now public toilets at MetroPark in Millwater (about halfway round) and a coffee lounge,dairy and other shops at the Millwater Parkway shops.
We stopped off at Olivers for a delicious lunch accompanied by a wonderful musician.
If you have been out to Highbrook Business Park in South Auckland, you may have noticed a walkway along the waters edge to the north. This has intrigued my friend and I for some time, so today we set out to explore and work out a way to include it an interesting circular walk.
Mission accomplished and rewarded with a delicious iced coffee at Highbrook Park’s Sierra Cafe! **Update December 2014** There is now a further selection of cafes and eateries at The Crossing (we had coffee at The Light Horse).
According to “Volcanoes of Auckland, the Essential Guide” Highbrook was developed as a racehorse stud farm before it was converted to a business park. The explosion crater’s proper name is Pukewairiki which means “the hill with the associated small lagoon”. The crater floor is now salt marsh and mangrove forest.
The pathway along Highbrook Park is safe for family cycling. This walk does not include a playground and would be suited for older children. Look out for the pohutukawa blossoms early summer. There is an off-leash dog exercise area on the Otara Creek (south) side of this walk.
Description: A mix of level and slightly hilly paths. Suitable for users of average fitness and mobility. Suitable for mountain bikes.
To see: Pukekiwiriki Crater, wetlands, views of Tamaki Estuary, Otara Creek, Pakuranga Creek, Mount Wellington and other volcanoes, Highbrook Model Airpark.
Time: approx. 75 minutes. (about 5.8 kms)
Start: Business Parade North, Highbrook MAP
Stay on track…get your detailed guide and map (AS-063 Highbrook Park Loop) over at our Walks Store and our Book Store (one of 12 walks featured in our books “Dog Friendly Walks part 1” and “Best of the South”).
Part of our Pakuranga Loop Walk is along the Pakuranga Rotary Walkway which currently extends to Pigeon Mountain, along the Tamaki Estuary and Whakaaranga Creek.
It is a safe cycling, jogging and walking route. The walkway is paved and relatively flat, making it suitable for wheelchairs, pushchairs and a range of fitness levels. The walkway along the estuary is safe for family cycling.
The walking route is also great for prams/buggies and dog walkers (on leash). There is an off leash dog exercise area – along the Pakuranga Rotary Walkway between the Panmure Bridge and Waakaranga Reserve which permits dogs off-leash under the owners control. This is a huge off leash walk but most people do not know about. This sign can be found at the entrance to the walkway at Kerswill Place. See Auckland Council dog rules.
These flat river plains were used to grow oats, hay and wheat up until the 1950’s. Pakuranga was then known as “the granary of Auckland”.
This walk section looks into the mouth of the Panmure Lagoon from the opposite bank.
Description: A mix of level paths and slightly inclined paths. Suitable for users of average fitness and mobility. To see: Estuary views, boats, wetlands, residential housing, Mt Wellington, Pakuranga Mall Time: approx. 40 minutes. (about 3.75 kms) Start: Pakuranga Mall Map
The Cascade Walkway (7.5km of shared paths between Meadowland Drive and Lloyd Elsmore Park, Pakuranga) is another area that has been on our list to explore. We set out from Howick Historical Village hoping to find well sign-posted walking paths. The best we found was a post with two arrows on it! (New signage has been installed since our first visit).
The paths are great for cycling and walking (with your dog and/or your children). There is diverse birdlife and native plants and trees. We were surprised by the lack of picnic/BBQ facilities, public toilets and children’s playgrounds within the Cascade Reserve. However, we did come across 3 children’s playgrounds in total, making this a short family friendly walk.
Near the Historical Village is an area to play with marbles, and another area for kids to ride their bicycles on a specially made track. There is a duck pond and some bench seats along the walkway nearby. We had lunch and coffee at the Homestead Cafe (the homemade bacon and egg quiche was very tasty).
You can find the Auckland Council’s information on the Cascade Walkway here.
Suitable for family cycling:Between Meadlowland Drive and Lloyd Elsmore Park, Pakuranga, 7.5km.
Description: Mainly level paths and a few slightly inclined paths. Suitable for users of average fitness and mobility. Mostly concrete paths with a small stretch of dirt track under trees. Buggy/pram friendly. To see: Creeks, birdlife, small waterfall, bridges, tunnel. View of Rangitoto Island, Pigeon Mountain, Mt Wellington, Waitakere Ranges and One Tree Hill Time: approx. 75 minutes. (about 6 kms) Start: Bells Road off Cascades Road/Pakuranga Road MAP