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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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!
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
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.
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.
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.
Beautiful gardens, huge Pohutukawa trees, history, sculptures, monuments, swimming and wonderful Harbour views ensure the Parnell Rose Gardens Loop is a walk for all to enjoy. Add to this the onsite Redwall Chinese Restaurant and famous Rosie Cafe and you have the perfect experience.
40 – 75 mins – 2.1km (yellow)
2/5 – some steep sections
3/5 – Steep up and down to/from Judges Bay. Lots of stairs to and from Parnell Baths. Check out your suitable options below.
Toilets, Water, BBQ, Tables, Seats, Swimming Pool and Beach, Restaurant/Cafe
This walk is a stunning outing including the beauty of the roses, the magnificence of huge Pohutukawa Trees, history of St. Stephens Church and the opportunity for views and swimming.
We commence this walk at the Entrance on the corner of Gladstone Rd and Judges Bay Rd. Very quickly you are enjoying a short bush walk, followed by the historic Nancy Steen Garden, named after the famous Rose collector and historian. There is a fountain and seats to enjoy.
Journey on via Judges Bay to St, Stephens Anglican Church, a beautiful and historic old building, commenced in 1859. The graveyard contains interesting history of early Auckland. Pass through the churchyard archway and towards the expensive St Stephens Avenue, famous as the street of Sir John Key, former Prime Minister of NZ.
Enjoy wonderful views across the Waitemata Harbour as you descend the stairs to the Parnell Baths and Judges Bay. Here you can connect to Tamaki Drive and Auckland’s Waterfront if you desire. Walk to the end of the pedestrian Bridge for great views, it literally hangs over the water!
The Parnell Baths and Judges Bay offer both beauty and a chance for swimming in the warmer months. Enjoy the jetty and you will also find a toilet block and BBQ.
Head up the hill once again back towards Dove Meyer Robinson Park, enjoying the bush and sprawling Pohutukawa Trees. Notice the Wedge monument on the grass hill on your left, reminding us to not allow wedges to be driven between us.
Once back in the Rose Gardens, enjoy exploring the Monuments and Roses of this picturesque park. Of particular interest is the Korean War monument nearby Gladstone Rd.
This is a very enjoyable walk with a lot of variety and activity. The complete loop does require an average level of fitness as there are steep sections and stairs. Wheelchairs and buggies are suitable through the Rose Gardens part of the walk.
Buggies and Wheelchairs
The track section around the Rose Gardens is very good for wheelchairs and buggies. The walkway is paved and generally not too steep.
However, getting to Judges Bay has quite steep tracks and will require care if pushing a wheelchair or buggie, particularly in the wet. There are plenty of stairs at the eastern end of the Parnell Baths also that should be avoided!
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.
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!
It takes only 30 minutes to walk around the Panmure Basin – another Auckland volcanic crater, but if you take young children with you then it may take longer. Take the tricycles and scooters – this is a mostly flat walk, as there are only two steep bits.
Panmure Basin is a fun family walk in Auckland with several distractions – there is access to 3 playgrounds, and on weekends there is a mini-train ride (runs on Sundays from 1pm to 4pm) and you can stop and watch people controlling their boats on the pond. Keep an eye on the tide chart – it does look prettier at high tide.
You can see the nearby volcano cone of Mt Wellington from the lagoon and if you look carefully from the Jubilee Bridge, One Tree Hill in the far distance.
Nearby is a skate park and theLagoon Leisure and Fitness Centre, Lagoon Dr, Panmure – Here you’ll find outdoor pools, a hydroslide, diving boards, and an adventure playground – all kid magnets in the summer. The outdoor area and gardens with barbecues and shaded picnic tables are great for family picnics and functions (source NZ Herald).
The walking route is also suitable for prams/buggies and dog walkers (on leash only). This walk has a fitness trail.
Also nearby is Mount Wellington Domain which is fun to explore and has great views of Auckland.
This area does lack nearby cafes but if you have a car you may want to venture to Pakuranga Plaza or Sylvia Park.
Description: Mostly level path, only 2 slight inclines. Suitable for users of average fitness and mobility. Running shoes suitable in dry weather. To see: Mt Wellington, boats, water birds Time: approx. 45 minutes. (about 4 kms) Start: Panmure Train Station MAP
Stay on track… download this walk (AC-045 Panmure Basin) for free
Kepa Bush is another short walk in Auckland treasure that contains bush trails and native trees, flora and fauna that is easy to get to.
The circuit takes about 30 minutes, and it provides views of the bush, 3 volcanoes (One Tree Hill, Mt Hobson and Mt Eden) and Orakei Basin, which all happen to be walks that we have documented. Kepa Bush Reserve is a cool shady walk for hot summer days. It is quiet and peaceful – and still in the city! The track is not well maintained, so be sure to wear sturdy footwear.
The grass reserve has picnic tables, and space to kick a ball around.
Kepa Bush Reserve is beside Eastridge Shopping Centre, where you can leave your car and stop for a coffee afterwards.
Download the FREE Kepa Bush Reserve guide and map here
Today was my first visit to St Johns Bush. This little gem of a nature walk is in a reserve of beautiful native trees and bush, with a stream and a mighty Kauri tree.
This is a great spot to take vistors to show them native New Zealand bush without having to drive to the Waitekere Ranges.
The only sounds we could hear were the calling of the birds, the rain dripping off the trees and the running of the stream. All this in an urban area!
We arrived via a back entrance so we got a little lost at first, however once we found the main entrance and a map, it all became clear.
There is no nearby cafe, so we drove up to nearby Meadowbank shops and found a choice of 3 cafes.