Category Archives: Uncategorized

Clevedon Reserve – Stairway to Heaven

The walk to the Clevedon Reserve lookout, known as the Stairway to Heaven, was suggested to us by some of my wife’s work colleagues and what a great surprise. Large kauri, Kahikatea, Puriri and Puka trees grace the slopes and make for an impressive bush canopy. Plenty of birdlife is enjoyed, as is the view across the Auckland City in the distance and the Hunua Ranges to the East. Adding to the value of this amazing walk is exploring the quaint Clevedon Village.

Be aware that this walk is uphill to the lookout and then downhill back to the start – there is very little flat and hundreds of stairs – the new wooden stairs on the northern section of the track are exceptionally well made and well spaced, making it a more comfortable climb. We completed the walk anti-clockwise, suggested to us by our local guide – very good advice.

Take some time to view some of the tree specimens. Our friend and guide took the time to point out some of his special trees – there really are some unique and fascinating specimens.

Walk Time60 – 75 mins
SurfaceWooden Stairs, gravel, dirt
Difficulty 3 – steep and stairs requires reasonable fitness and stability
Buggies/WheelchairsNot suitable except for the short walk to the quarry
Dog FriendlyYes – welcome on leash
FacilitiesToilets, Picnic tables, Parking, Kauri dieback cleaning station, confidence course, Burma trail,
HighlightsHuge native trees, views, birdlife, quarry environment

Click to open Google Map is a separate tab or tap on the icon in the top right of this map.

Clevedon Reserve Loop Walkway

A fantastic walk and one for the whole family. The native bush is fantastic and quite unique with large kauri being the highlight. This bush also benefits from relatively spaced undergrowth (for NZ bush), enabling you to enjoy the uniqueness of each large specimen.

Drive through Clevedon and turn left into Thorpes Quarry Rd and drive to the end, where you will find the carpark. Next to the carpark is the local scout hall, toilets and confidence course. Head beyond the scout hall and to the bridge that takes you across the Tataia Stream, a pretty waterway that joins into the Wairoa River before heading all the way to the sea between Duder and Waitawa Parks. Presently there is Kauri Dieback cleaning stations to disinfect your shoes.

Once across the bridge, continue on the track straight ahead to complete the loop walk in an anti-clockwise direction. This enables you to enjoy the new stairs on the way up the hill and take in the more original track on the downhill return. The stairs are very impressive, built to keep foot traffic off the path to protect the kauri and other large trees. You will climb 30 – 40 minutes up and up until you reach the lookout at the top of the hill. From here, enjoy the 360 degree views that take in the Clevedon Plains, Hunua Ranges, Hauraki Gulf, Waitakere Rangers and Auckland City.

We completed the return journey by continuing on the loop, offering more magnificent bush and trees on your descent. You’ll notice a couple of large kauri not far from the path, very impressive specimens.

Once at the base of the hill again, you will be at a junction – it is worth turning left and taking the short walk (5 minutes) to the quarry. This is amazingly beautiful and has picnic tables for your enjoyment.

This is a really enjoyable walk that should be added to your list of walks to do that are unique and a little ‘out-of-the-way’. We hope you enjoy it as much as we did.

Buggies and Wheelchairs

This walk is not suitable for buggies or wheelchairs with the majority of this track being stairs or relatively steep terrain.

Buggies and Wheelchairs could be used for the short walk to the quarry.

Stairway to Heaven Elevation Chart

Clevedon Reserve Elevation 2
Clevedon Reserve Elevation

Useful Links

Clevedon Scenic Reserve Information

Volcanic Kohuora Park

This is one of our smaller loop walks but a delightful one, boasting native bush and many birds. Kohuora Park is full of surprises – not only is it one of Auckland’s 50 volcanoes but is the home of the Papatoetoe Panthers Rugby League Club. The kids will also enjoy the playground.

Kohuroa Volcano Boardwalk
Enjoy the elevated boardwalk through the wetland

The volcano at Kohuora Park is about 600m across and defined by a tuff/rim that is about 30m high, some of which still remains today. The track is mostly flat and incorporates paved walkways and boardwalks.

Walk Time15 – 40 mins
SurfacePaved or Boardwalk
Difficulty1
Buggies/WheelchairsFlat and easy walkway
FacilitiesToilets, Water, Playground
HighlightsNative Bush, Grass Fields

Click to open the Google Map is a separate tab or tap on the icon in the top right of the map.

Kohuora Park & Volcano Walk Descriptions

Kohuora Park is one of Auckland’s hidden parks, probably one only known by locals and rugby league fans – it is the home ground of the Papatoetoe Panthers Rugby League Club. It is also one of Auckland’s 50 volcanoes, measuring about 600 meters across and 30m deep.

Kohuroa Park Paved Pathway

The tracks consist of primarily two large loops that thread their way between native bush and grass fields. The walkways are paved or boardwalk and mostly flat, with just some smaller undulations. There are marshlands that can in places overflow sections of the track in seasons where there is heavy rain – certainly, there were aspects of the track that were underwater when we completed it but it was still all passable. The local ducks were celebrating :).

Kohuroa Park Native Bush and Birds
Kohuroa Park Native Bush and Birds

We commenced our walk at the carpark closest to the tracks and walked clockwise. If you have the time, make the effort to complete the outer circuit, approximately about 2km – its a peaceful native bush walk, interrupted by plenty of wonderful birdlife – pukeko, kingfisher, white-faced herons and more waders. The northern part of the track contains a little undulation as it rises up some of the crater tuff.

The Tohuora Park can via the Papatoetoe Train Station, with just a few minutes walk.

Buggies/Wheelchairs

This walk is great for buggies and wheelchairs due to its relatively flat nature and paved walkway.

Dog Friendly

Kohuora Park is suitable for dogs and includes an off-leash dog area also. As with all Auckland Parks, dogs should not be on the sports fields.

Kohuora Park Information and History

Pigeon Mountain Volcanic Cone

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.

Pigeon Mountain Ōhuiarangi
Pigeon Mountain Ōhuiarangi fields and view towards the summit

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.

Walk Time45 – 90 minutes
SurfaceGrass tracks and some rocks near quarry
Difficulty2
Buggies/WheelchairsOffroad buggies could be pushed up the grass slopes if fit & strong. Wetlands Section is wheel friendly.
FacilitiesToilets, Carparking
HighlightsViews of Auckland City and Hauraki Gulf

Click to open the Google Map is a separate tab or tap on the icon in the top right of the map.

Short Walks In Auckland alternative Pigeon Mountain Walk here.

Pigeon Mountain and Wetland Walk Descriptions

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.

Left over from the quarry
Interesting rock outcrops remaining from the quarrying

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.

The view of Rangitoto from the summit
The view of Rangitoto from the summit

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

Buggies/Wheelchairs

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.

Dog Friendly

The Pigeon Mountain Walkway allows dogs on a leash.

Pigeon Mountain Volcano Additional Information

Further history of Pigeon Mountain

Council Upgrade of Pigeon Mountain

Coastal Rotary Walkway Pakuranga

One of East Auckland’s most scenic and popular walkways, the coastal Rotary Walkway in Pakuranga is a most do! It winds its way along the verge of the Tamaki River from Panmure Bridge, eventually finishing at Halfmoon Bay (via a few extra streets and paths).

The distance is 10.5km one way, so a significant walk if you are to do the return trip, but well worth it! There are plenty of options to complete portions of the walkway also and our Google Map will display all the possible entrances/exits along the Rotary Walkway. You will also find the Map will assist you greatly in navigating the Halfmoon Bay section of the walk.

Rotary Walkway
Rotary Walkway: photo from Auckland City Council

This walk is suitable for bikes, buggies and wheelchairs, so great for any person/family, although at the halfmoon Bay end of the adventure there are a couple of flights of pretty steep stairs.

Walk Time1 – 5 hours (10.5km one way)
SurfacePaved and Boardwalk
Difficulty1 – 2 – the first 8.5km is mostly flat and on the Rotary Walkway. The final 2km has hills and stairs as it traverses through various streets and walkways to Halfmoon Bay.
Buggies/WheelchairsExcellent walkway for buggies & wheelchairs. The final 2km towards Halfmoon Bay will present some challenges, especially the stairs at the far end of Eclipse Place.
FacilitiesPlayground, Fishing, Swimming, Toilets, Water, Seats, Picnic Tables
HighlightsCoastal, Views, Great track, Boardwalks over the water and through mangroves.

Click to open the Google Map in a separate tab or tap on the icon in the top right of the map.

Rotary Walkway Description

One of Auckland’s great walkways, this purpose built coastal path hugs the east-side of the Tamaki River from Panmure Bridge to Halfmoon Bay. The track winds its way in and out of pretty inlets, with boardwalks traversing through bush and mangroves. Enjoy the sea-breeze, water views, bird life and opportunities presented by the famous ‘snakes & ladders’ playground or some land-based fishing.

Pakuranga Rotary Walkway
Paved Rotary walkway Track

There are many places you can commence this track and a lot of options for varying length walks. The Google Map clearly shows the various entrances to the path if you want to create your own loop walk. However, the complete 10.5km walk is full of highlights and worth the effort, even if it means completing it return for a 21km half marathon! The alternative is to drop a vehicle at each end of the walkway.

We have walked, run and biked this track on a many occasions – it is definitely a favourite. We normally commence at the Panmure Bridge end, especially as the first few kilometres contain so much variety, interest and beautiful coastal scenery.

Please note: Currently there are extensive roadworks around Panmure Bridge for the new busway and so parking by the bridge is closed. The best access will be via Kerswill Place or further along via Riverlea Ave.

Once strolling along the walkway, you will wind your way along the foreshore, mostly on paved undulating track. This paved track is interspersed with boardwalks that venture over the water and through the mangroves, at high tide you are walking just a little above the lapping water. The hills on this section of track are small but add interest to the first 2-3 km The middle section of the track is almost completely flat as it circumvents the coastline.

After passing your way around the second significant inlet, the impressive St Kentigern College campus will be on your right and you pass their rowing jetty on the left. The next significant landmark is the Farm Cover Reserve where you will find toilets and water. 150m past the reserve is the famous ‘Snakes & Ladders Playground’ – worth a visit even if you don’t have kids with you!

Farm Cover Snakes & Ladders Playground
Farm Cove Snakes & Ladders Playground

Another significant inlet follows the playground as you wind your way towards Wakaranga Creek Reserve. This is another beautiful section with lovely houses, mangroves, pockets of bush and eventually opening to the green spaces of the Reserve.

A short detour from the Rotary Walkway takes you to the Prince Regent Playground, best known for its long tube slide. Another 250m – 300m through Pigeon Mountain Wetlands and you can visit Pigeon Mountain for a spectacular view of the local area and Auckland isthmus!

Pass through Wakaaranga Creek Reserve and take the western exit to Curacao Place. The trek now leaves the Rotary Walkway and traverses a series of quiet streets and walkways across the clifftop of the Halfmoon Bay suburb. Enjoy the varied views across the city and Waitemata Harbour, as well as many beautiful homes. This approximately 2km section takes you to the Halfmoon Bay marina, shopping centre and wharf. Enjoy a refreshing ice cream at Delishimo. There are also a range of restaurants at Halfmoon Bay if you want to stop for lunch before starting a return journey!

The track across the last 2km to Halfmoon Bay has a lot of variety. Once completing the various streets, a flight of stairs takes you back to a track that hugs the coastline and clifftop. There are stairs heading down form the end of Clyside Ave, with a semi-accessible small beach just off the track. Another set of stairs climbs back up to the clifftop track – continue along here until you reach the stairs down to Halfmoon Bay.

You are here! Enjoy the ice cream, restaurants and other services. This is also where you catch the ferry to Auckland City or Waiheke Island.

Rotary walkway Elevation Map

Rotary Walkway Elevation:
Panmure to Halfmoon Bay

Additional Links:

Rotary Walkway Google Map

Snakes & Ladders Playground

Delishimo Ice Cream Shop

Restaurants in Halfmoon Bay

Busway Construction Updates

Waiheke Island Ferry

Ferry to Auckland City

Hamlins Hill – historic gem

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.

Walk Time60 – 90 mins
SurfaceGrass or gravel track
Difficulty 2 – undulating with uneven surfaces
Buggies/WheelchairsOnly suitable for off-road buggies. There are also lots of gates to go through -some may require a buggy to be passed over.
FacilitiesPicnic Table, Park Benches, Portaloo near the picnic site (has been there when we have visited)
HighlightsBush, Farmland, Curious Cattle, Views of Auckland, Historic Rock Wall

Click to open Google Map is a separate tab or tap on the icon in the top right of this map.

Hamlins Hill – Mutukaroa Walk Description

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.

Auckland Council Hamlins Hill Mutukaroa Webpage

Downtown and pink pathway loop

Enjoy a circular 8.5km central Auckland walk that takes in some of our cities great sites, including the historic Downtown Ferry Building, buzzing Wynyard Quarter, Victoria Park, eye-catching Pink Pathway and Auckland University. This adventure provides stunning views across Auckland, plenty of opportunities for cafe’s & ice creams and essentially circumnavigates the central city.

Auckland Pink Bike Path
The iconic Auckland Pink Pathway for walking and biking

We completed the route by starting by the Spark Indoor Arena (as more parking opportunities) and venturing in an anti-clockwise direction. Catching a bus or train to Britomart and walking to the Ferry Terminal and commencing from there would make a great starting point if you were making use of public transport.

Walk Time 2 – 2.5 hours (approx 8.5km)
SurfacePaved
Difficulty2 – hills from downtown to the pink pathway
Buggies/WheelchairsSuitable
FacilitiesToilets, Cafe’s, Drinking Fountains, Dedicated cycleway/walkways
HighlightsWaterfront, Pink Pathway, City Sites

Link to open Google Map in a separate tab or tap the icon in the top right of this map.

Download a printable version of the Downtown and Pink Pathway Loop Walkway Map.

Downtown and Pink Pathway Loop Description

Auckland Historic Ferry Building

We commenced our walk by the Spark Arena due to better parking but quickly made our way past the historic Auckland Ferry Terminal as we enjoyed the views of Auckland’s waterfront and harbour.

This is always a busy and bustling part of town as people come and go from the Britomart Bus & Train Terminal and Auckland’s Ferries.

At the Ferry Terminal are a range of cafe’s and restaurants, including the Island Gilato ice cream cafe. If you want to make a whole day of it, perhaps take a trip to Devonport also on a Fullers ferry. As you pass the wharf, maybe there will be a cruise ship to admire or just enjoy the sparkling Waitemata Harbour.

Check out Devonport walks here.

Cruise Ship in Auckland

Continue your journey heading to Wynyard Quarter, including a view of the historic vehicle lighter-basin draw-bridge before crossing the newer pedestrian draw-bridge. Take in the views of the large launches and yachts moored at the wharves. Wynyard Quarter and Tank Farm have been extensively redeveloped over the past few years and often have a variety of interesting entertainment and feature events.

Downtown Drawbridge

Next, head to ‘greener pastures’ as you leave the Wynyard Quarter via Beaumont St and enjoy the open spaces of Victoria Park, home of Grafton Cricket Club. There are also toilets and water, as well as playgrounds and a skate park. Enjoy the many beautiful large trees that inhabit this Downtown Auckland park. You may also want to take a small detour to Victoria Park Market, the most famous of Auckland’s markets.

Its now time to start your ascent which will eventually get you to the famous Pink Pathway. You have a choice of walking via Fanshawe St or Victoria St, both options include a steep climb and arrive on Nelson St, just a block away from the Sky Tower. This part of the walk includes plenty of road crossing and traffic lights but is safe and easy to navigate.

At the top of Nelson St, you are greeted with the entrance to Aucklands Pink Pathway, constructed to efficiently join the west side of the city center with the eastern side over the top of Auckland’s busy motorway spaghetti junction. It enables direct access to Grafton Gully and Auckland University, while also joining the Western bikeway. The Pink Pathway is well illuminated at night, making it a safe option even in the dark. Experience the hum of the city as you walk on top of the motorway and the views from the transparent sides.

As you leave the pink walkway, you head to Upper Queen St and follow the signs to the Grafton Gully bike-path/walkway. Follow this path downhill all the way back towards the bottom of Parnell. On your left is Auckland University and on your right is the Auckland Domain, Its a beautiful walkway and all the better enjoying it heading downwards! Once you return to near sea level, the path cuts through the base of Constitution Hill and along Beach Rd until making your way back to the Spark Arena or Ferry Terminal.

Buggies and Wheelchairs

The walk is suitable for buggies and wheelchairs. Just be prepared for some effort pushing them up Victoria and Nelson Streets,

History of Aucklands Ferry Terminal

Devonport Walks

Victoria Park Market

Pink Pathway

Long Bay regional park

Long Bay Regional Park is situated on the northeast coast of Auckland and is one of the cities most popular recreation destinations. The long sandy beach, extensive park facilities and range of walking tracks make it a great place to walk. Enjoy the open fields or native bush. Be refreshed by the ocean air and the stunning views of the Hauraki Gulf and its many islands.

Long Bay beach
Northern end of Long Bay Beach

Parking is plentiful at Long Bay and there are toilets, water fountains, children’s playground and BBQ’s within the park area behind the beach. Take in some history with the Vaughan Homestead or a walk to the military pillbox.

Long Bay Regional Park offers explorers a range of walks from 15 – 20 minutes up to 3 – 4 hours, all of which are highly rated. There is more detail on each of the walks provided below, but here is a brief overview:

Nature Walk: this is a short loop walk through native bush of about 15 – 20 minutes.

Granny’s Bay Walk: this loop takes you through the wetlands and bush to the ridge, detour to the pillbox and then to Granny’s Bay.  Return via the rocks if the tide is low enough.  Time approx 45 – 60 minutes.

100 Acre Walk: add this detour to the Granny’s Bay walk and enjoy a kilometre walk through the regenerating native bush. Time is approx 15 mins from the Granny’s Bay walk.

Okura River Walk: this is a good half-day trek and extends beyond Granny’s Bay to the Okura River mouth.   At lower tides, you can return along the rocks and beaches.

Walk Time15 – 20 minutes, 1.1km (Nature Trail loop)
45 – 75 minutes, 3.8km (yellow)
2.5 – 4 hours, 9km (yellow & red)
SurfaceGravel or Grass Tracks
Difficulty2/5 – some steep sections
Buggies/Wheelchairs3/5 – the initial track to Granny’s Bay is fine,
although some parts are steep. There are stairs
beyond Granny’s Bay.
FacilitiesToilets, Seats, Playground, BBQ’s, Swimming
HighlightsViews, Swimming & Water Sports, Array of tracks

Click here to open the Google Map in a separate tab or tap the icon in the top right of this map.

Download a pdf version of the Long Bay Reserve Walks Printable Map

Long Bay Reserve Walking Tracks Description

Select from short walks of just 15-20 minutes up to a full half-day adventure. Enjoy the sea, the views, the bush and birdlife – Long Bay is simply a wonderful place to explore and enjoy.   

Vaughan Homestead Long Bay
Vaughan Homestead

The Vaughan Homestead is worth a detour and is a little beyond the entry to the main track.  This historic home is situated at the northern end of the beach.  More historic information can be found here. 

Nature Walk: 15 – 20 minutes, 1.1km

This short walk is a loop that commences from the end carpark of the Long Bay and takes in the Wetland and Nature Trail tracks.  Once at the far carpark, walk northwards through the chain across the driveway.  About 100m from the start, turn left at the coastal track sign and head into the flat wetland area.  Follow the pathway for a further 300m until you reach the bridge where you will cross the stream that heads to Long Bay Beach.  Keep a lookout for a variety of swamp birds.

Long Bay Bush Track
Track to Nature Trail

Head across the bridge and up the hill.  100m on the right is the Nature Trail which follows the stream for about 250m before existing just below the historic Vaughan Homestead.  The Nature Trail tracks through attractive NZ native bush.  Turn left to view the Vaughan Homestead or right to head back to the start.

Granny’s Bay Walk: 45 – 60 minutes, 3.8km

Grannys Bay at Long Bay
Beautiful Grannys Bay

This is the most popular walk at Long Bay Reserve as it provides stunning views across the Hauraki Gulf and access to the less busy and beautiful Granny’s Bay.   

View to Rangitoto from Long Bay Track
View to Rangitoto Island

Take the same route as described above for the Nature Trail, however, continue to climb the hill track until you reach grass fields. Once at the top of the hill, walk through the grasslands towards the clifftop.  This is where you get your best views across the water and all the way to Auckland. 

Long Bay Gun Emplacement
Gun Emplacement Detour

A small detour on a bush track, through the fence line, near the cliff takes you to a historic pillbox.  There are glimpses of views back down Long Bay Beach from here.  The track at times is closed due to slips, so be mindful of its condition.

At the fence, take a left and continue to follow the track down the hill to the Beach.  At high tide, it is a beautiful swimming beach and very private.  As the tide recedes, it becomes part of the ongoing coastline and not so attractive for swimming.

There is a second Bay over the next hill that is also pretty but be aware that clothing is optional here and so most may not want to stop here for the swim and picnic!

Walk around the rocks to Long bay
Return to Long Bay via the coast

The return to Long Bay can be achieved by walking around the rocks if half-tide or lower, or by retracing your steps up and over the hill.   Take care though as it can be slippery when wet.

100 Acre Walk: 15 – 20 minutes, 1.6km

100 Acre Long Bay Tea Tree
100 Acre Tea Tree

Enjoy a tranquil stroll through native bush on the 100 Acre Track.  This is a regenerated area of native bush and enjoys great birdlife.  The track is wide and grassy, a little muddy in the wet.  The flowering Tea Tree and birdsong are highlights.

100 Acre Track Long Bay
Track through 100 Acre

Access the 100 Acre track from the walkway to Granny’s Bay or from directly adjacent to Granny’s Bay.   

Okura River Walk: 2.5 – 4 hours, 9km

Make a day of your time at Long Bay Reserve and complete the Okura River Walk. This is pleasant and spectacular. The track these days is pretty good, although still has some muddy patches in the wet towards Okura River.

This walkway can be completed as an out and back walk or using the track one way and the coast the other. The coastal return should only be attempted when it can be completed within 2 hours of low tide for the entire trip. It can also be very rocky and slippery but is a great option for more confident walkers. I have completed this one many times when it was a route I ran a lot and it is amazing but requires care.

Looking to Okura River Mouth

Take the track to Grannys Bay and then continue over the next hill to Pohutukawa Bay. The track then climbs again upwards adjacent to farmland on the left and clifftop bush on the right. The walk is grassy and undulating, with views along the way. As you get closer to the Okura River Mouth, the track heads more westerly until you drop to the Okura River.

If the tide is low enter the ‘beach’ and then turn right to return via the coast to Long Bay. If the tide is not low, retrace your steps to return to Long Bay.

Buggies and Wheelchairs

Many of the Long Bay tracks can be accessed by buggies and wheelchairs.  The constraint is more the hills as some are steep.    

Other useful Links:

Long Bay Regional Reserve DOC

Vaughan Homestead

Bike the trail

Unsworth heights to rosedale park

The Unsworth Heights to Rosedale Park walkway is a spectacular ‘there & back’ walk with many activities and options for variety to make it a loop. Enjoy native bush, streams, playgrounds, fields and even frisbee golf! The core tracks are paved and wide with some more adventurous options of natural bush tracks if desired. It really is a walk (or bike) for the whole family.

Unsworth walkway
Unsworth walkway with grass, bush and activities
Walk Time1 hour to 3 hours
SurfacePaved (plus options for bush-walking)
Difficulty1 (bushwalks 2)
Buggies/WheelchairsSuitable for both on the paved walkway
FacilitiesPlaygrounds, toilets, drinking water, sports fields, frisbee golf course, cafe closeby
HighlightsEasy access, beautiful native bush, open spaces and many activities.

Link to open Google Map in a separate tab or tap the icon in top right of this map.  

Unsworth to Rosedale Walkway Description

Boardwalk in native bush
Unsworth Heights boardwalk

This is a wonderful and picturesque walk, with options for all abilities.  Enjoy walking on the paved walkway or for more adventure and variety add in some undulating bush track, enabling this to become more of a loop walk.   

Unsworth walkway
Unsworth walkway with grass, bush and activities

The walkway has wide paths and boardwalks that at times follow alongside the stream through extensive native bush.  The more challenging route runs parallel on the other side of the stream, through bush until it joins the shared path after Barbados Rd.  Beyond the bush, there are lovely grass areas, a variety of playgrounds, many sports fields and even a free 9-hole frisbee-golf course en route for your enjoyment. 

This track is suitable for buggies and wheelchairs, making it an adventure for families and groups.  The walk can be completed one-way by leaving a vehicle at each end or could be completed as a return trip, which can involve a few variations to heighten interest and effectively make it a loop track.  If completing one-way, commence at the Unsworth end of the path as most of your journey is downhill.

Unswroth Reserve Entrance from Goldfinch Rise
Unswroth Reserve Entrance from Goldfinch Rise

If completing your walk from the Goldfinch Rise entrance, park your vehicle in Azure Grove.  Enter the walkway at the intersection of Azure Grove and Goldfinch Rise.  The path winds its way downhill, initially past an excellent playground, grass areas and exercise equipment before entering the bush on a wide, fully- fenced boardwalk.  The next section is stunning with dense native bush, birds and stairs to little sidewalks through the bush, often ending up near the stream.  The river is also alive with wildlife, including eels.  At the end of this section, cross the road and either follow the narrow dirt path beside the bush or head to Rook Place and re-join the track at the end of this cul-de-sac.  An underpass takes you safely under Upper Harbour Drive and more picturesque pathway to Rosedale Park.

Unsworth bush track can get muddy when wet
Unsworth bush track can get muddy when wet

The bushwalk option commences off Caribbean Drive – use the lower of the two entrances – the other entrance joins directly back to the shared walkway.  This walk is undulating and winds through pretty bush on a formed dirt track.  The bush is wonderful with sounds of tui’s and other birds singing and plenty of ferns, rimu and other natives along the path. This walkway gets muddy in the wet, so be prepared for this during rainy times.  There are also many exposed tree roots along the path, you will need to watch where you put your feet!  At the end of this track, it uses Mallard Place to reconnect with the shared path.  Once across Barbados, take the short bush track on the left or use Rook Place to continue your journey.

Cafe Drina
Cafe Drina on Paul Matthews Drive

Paul Matthews Rd requires crossing to get to enjoy Rosedale Park.   This is quite a busy street and so some patience and care are required, especially for children.  There are also bus stops at this point making the path accessible via public transport.  Cafe’s are also closeby, Cafe Drina is about 60m from the track, heading west.

Unsworth Heights Playground
Unsworth Reserve Playground

Rosedale Park frisbee golf course target
Rosedale Park frisbee golf

Once in Rosedale Park, there is a lot to do.  Bring your frisbee and enjoy the 9-hole frisbee golf course or make use of the playground beside the football fields.  There is plenty of seating with various vistas and some picnic tables. 

Rosedale Park has many fields, primarily soccer, so bring a ball and have a kick around. It also hosts softball and hockey.  As you progress through the park via walkways or the road, you eventually leave the fields behind you and arrive at the far entrance to the walkway on Rosedale Rd where you can finish or turn around and return Unsworth Heights.

On the return, there are a few variations you can add as shown on the Google Map. 

The Loop Track!

Add variety by adding a number of loops to this walk as shown on the Google Map.

  1. Follow the main paved pathway from the start at either Goldfinch Rise, Unsworth Heights or Jack Hinton Drive off Rosedale Rd, depending on which way you are completing the walk. This review assumes walking from Goldfinch Rise.
  2. Complete the walk to Rosedale utilising the main paved/boardwalk. This is a wide and easy walk, suitable for buggies and wheelchairs.
  3. On the return walk, add a number of different routes that add significant interest to this walk and almost make it a loop walk. These are detailed below.
  4. Follow the track through the sports field, rather than follow the track around the road.
  5. Continue past the soccer club and along the road, up the hill and past the pretty duckponds. The frisbee golf-course is on your right. At the top of the hill turn right and walk down the footpath back towards the main track.
  6. Head on the main track until after the Upper Harbour Drive Underpass and then turn left on to the tracks that take you to Rook Place and Mallard Place.
  7. Walk along Mallard Place about 120m and then take the bush track on the right. This winds its way up and down through native bush and some pines until you reach Caribbean Place. This walkway is undulating and has plenty of tree roots, so requires an average level of fitness and health.
  8. To return to the start, you have the choice of using the roadway or hanging a hard right and back into the bush. The bush track joins back to the main pathway and a left turn on to this will take you back to the start. If walking the road, continue on Caribbean Drive and then turn right into Goldfinch Rise.
Unsworth bush showing the fauna and track
Unsworth bush track accessed from a range of entrances

Buggies and Wheelchairs

The main walkway is excellent for wheelchairs, buggies and bikes.  It is up and downs, with it slowly descending towards Rosedale. The bish tracks are not suitable for wheels!

Unsworth to Rosedale Elevation
Unsworth Heights to Rosedale Elevation

Links to other walk information:

Unsworth Reserve Loop Track

Find information on the “Explore the Shore” series of books which lists Rosedale Park in its walks

Cafe Drina

7 creative walking ideas for covid-19 lockdown

As we enter the second half of our Covid-19 lockdown in New Zealand, we thought it might be a great idea to put together a list of some creative ideas you could try while walking!  Of course, all this must be completed locally, in your bubble, with 2m physical distancing and not touching objects such as park benches.

Here are 7 ideas we thought you could try with your Bubble!

1. GPS Walking Pictures

My sister sent me a Facebook post of a guy in the Hibiscus Coast who took to making pictures as he walked using his GPS and running app Strava. 

You can use your GPS enabled sports watch or an App on your phone such as Google Maps or MapMyRun.

Scavenger Hunt

Construct a list of items you and your bubble must find and ‘collect’ on your walk.  This can include physical collection that you can put in a bag or a photo collection using your phone to record your ‘find’. 

A sample list of ideas could include:

  1. Collect a leaf
  2. Take a photo of a house with at least 3 teddy bears in the window
  3. Collect a piece of rubbish
  4. Find and photograph a red car in your neighbourhood.
  5. Find and photograph a bird
  6. Find signs around your neighbourhood that start with every letter of the alphabet
  7. Collect a seed, nut or cone or similar that has fallen from a tree
  8. Photo of a road sign
  9. Collect a random object like a discarded ball, sock, pen, tin or similar – anything random that should not normally be just lying around on the footpath, park or roadside
  10. Photo of a rubbish bin
  11. Photo of a power transformer or phone exchange box
  12. Photo of a sign in your area related to Covid-19 eg. Playground closed due to Covid-19 etc

Orienteering Locally

Orienteering is a fantastic family event and while its not quite the same around your local streets, it can still be accomplished.  Your unique ‘Bubble’ orienteering can be organised as follows:

  1. Print a Google Map of your immediate area.  An example produced for my local area can be found here.
  2. Number various stations on your map where you feel you can place a marker.
  3. Prepare a list of clues for each station that provides participants with a little more information about where the Station is located.  You can choose to mix up the numbers for various participants, so they are not simply following each other eg. One list goes numbers 1 to 15, the other list is numbered 15 to 1.  An example of our sheet can be found here.
  4. Determine what you will use to identify your stations – small flags, cones, stones, wood, tin cans or other things you can find.  Try to make them a little bright if possible and then add the ‘Station Number’ and a ‘random 2-digit number’ to each marker.  The participant must write the random number on the form for the correct Station as evidence they located the correct point.
  5. Take a walk and set-up the course, dropping your station markers at each location.
  6. Give the participants their Map, Station List and Pencil.  This could be done as individuals or pairs/groups depending on the ages of the participants.
  7. Explain the orienteering rules and reiterate the Covid-19 lockdown walking rules and send them on their way.

Click here for examples of the Orienteering Map and List of Orienteering Course Points.

Photography Walk

Pick up your phone, camera or ipad and head outdoors for your walk and focus on recording your lockdown walking experience in pictures. You will be amazed at the extra things you notice in your neighbourhood as you look more closely.

Perhaps you can then produce a presentation using your favourite photo or presentation app/software.

Add Exercises into your Walk

During your walk, simply add in a range of exercises to complete.  This provides variety and extra health benefits.  Some exercises can include:

Image by Terri Sharp from Pixabay 

  • Squats
  • Lunges
  • Press-ups
  • Backwards jog
  • Butt-kicks
  • Sideways skips
  • High knees
  • Jumps
  • Plank
  • Single leg balancing
  • Short jog or sprints

Nature Walk

Take a sheet of paper (or record on your phone) to spot and record as many types of trees and birds as you can find in your area. 

The NZbirds website http://nzbirdsonline.org.nz/ has superb tools to assist in identifying birds found in NZ.  This can easily be done using your phone while walking.

Trees and plants are much harder as the variety is almost endless.  For native trees, try DOC or Terrain.net.nz

https://www.doc.govt.nz/nature/native-plants/

http://www.terrain.net.nz/friends-of-te-henui-group/table-1.html

Walk Every Street In Your Area

Use one of your walks to explore every street in your area – you may just find something you never knew existed!

For additional information about walking during the Covid-19 Lock-down, read this post.

Walking during covid-19

covid-19 logo

Wow – never thought I would ever see NZ in lockdown, but here we are, as we join together as a Nation to fight Covid-19.  This brings change and challenge to us all, but it is a sacrifice we all must make for the greater good of society.  So, what does walking look like during the COVID-19 lockdown?

wide path with grass
Paths with wide spaces for physical distancing

As we are all isolated with our bubble for the next 4 weeks or more, we have been allowed at least the simple privilege of heading outdoors for some walking.  It is important for our own sense of well-being and fitness that we make the most of these limited opportunities and enjoy some fresh air and nature. 

The government have been very clear on some distinct rules around walks:

Current advice from the covid19 NZ website (3rd April 2020):

“As long as you’re not unwell, you can leave your house to:
– access essential services, like buying groceries, or going to a bank or pharmacy
– go to work if you work for an essential service
– go for a walk, or exercise and enjoy nature.

If you do leave your house, you must keep a 2-metre distance from other people at all times. Police may be monitoring people and asking questions of people who are out and about during the Alert Level 4 lockdown to check what they are doing.”

Helpful guidelines that assist in enjoying your walk and staying safe :

  1. Walks must be local – they do not want people driving to locations such as beaches and parks.  There is some discussion about whether it is okay in some situations to drive a little distance.
  2. You can only walk by yourself or those you are isolated with (in your bubble).  You must not have others outside your isolation group join you for walks during the lockdown period.
  3. While walking, you must maintain at least 2 meters from any person that is not in your isolation group.
  4. Be aware not to touch common surfaces – playgrounds are closed.
  5. Keep in touch with the latest and more specific information on www.covid19.govt.nz

The Auckland Council website (https://www.aucklandcouncil.govt.nz/Pages/covid-19.aspx) provides information on parks during the crisis.

Playgrounds Closed Keep children off equipment.
Regional parks Open for excercise ​Maintain social distancing from other visitors and do not use equipment in the park. No vehicle access.

Please note that the information in this blog is not an official government document but designed to assist people in understanding their walking opportunities. Please visit the covid19 website for the most current information.

Mangere Mountain: historic & spectacular

Mangere Mountain and Domain are one of Aucklands true gems to explore. It is full of spectalular views of Aucklands Harbours and City, as well as many geological and history highlights.  Our recommended route requires a good level of fitness as the loop encounters a range of steep slopes and uneven terrain.  There is a good pathway to the summit on a braod track suitable for buggies if you walk the route clockwise, however this is only out & back and misses many interesting features of this mountain. 
Landscape view of Auckland from Mangere Mountain
Views of Auckland from Mangere Mountain
Walk Time60 – 90 mins – 2.92km (yellow)
SurfaceGravel or Grass Tracks
Difficulty3/5 – some steep sections
Buggies/Wheelchairs3/5 – the summit track is hilly but gradual if
sticking to the main route and only completing
the out & back walkway. The walkway to the
Mangere Education Centre includes a lot of stairs.
FacilitiesToilets, Seats, Football Fields, Playground,
Skatepark
HighlightsCity Views, Harbour Views, Craters,
Maori History

Click here to open the Google Map in a separate tab or tap the icon in the top right of this map.

Download a pdf version of the Mangere Mountain Printable Map

Mangere Mountain Tracks Description

Mangere Mountain ranks as one of the most amazing places to explore in Auckland.  It is full of surprises – three craters, fantastic 360-degree views, football & softball fields, playground and plenty of historic  Maori heritage.  Allow an hour or two to explore this volcanic mountain, plus additional time for the Mangere Education Centre if you are able.

Mangere Mountain Trig
Mangere Mountain Peaks

We commenced our walk at the carpark near the soccer clubrooms and headed through the nearby gate.   Our route takes us anti-clockwise on the eastern edge of the main crater and towards the playground.  We then join the trail towards the Mangere Education Centre – well worth the walk.  You will experience aspects of Maori history and heritage along this walkway.

Maori Terracing and Palisades

Now its time to climb!  If you have good fitness and are up for narrower and bumpy terrain continue on our recommended route by following the yellow trail on the Google Map.  If you have a buggie or want something a bit less challenging, head clockwise up the main trail to the summit.

Mangere Mountain grass track to summit
Mangere Mountain Track to Knoll

Our route passes adjacent to the second crater (the 3rd crater was quarried and is where the Soccer Fields and Education Centre are now situated).  The views South and East and to the North as you climb will have you clicking your cameras.  Continue upwards towards the upper rim of the main crater – the track is a little narrow and steep in places and can be a bit slippery in the wet – but worth the walk.  Take in the sights at first high knoll plus the Trig for stunning views of Auckland.

As you venture around the rim you will pass numerous large kumera pits and other significant Maori heritage.    It is worth following our recommended high route instead of the wider track back to the carpark.

To extend your walk you can also consider returning via the lower track that circumnavigates the mountain.  It is a narrow but pleasant track through the grass but contains few noticeable special features that demand your attention. 

Buggies and Wheelchairs

The Mangere Mountain Domain contains some wide unsealed tracks that are suitable for ‘off-road’ buggies.  These include the initial part of the Mangere Education Trail and the Trig Track walking in the clockwise direction.

Wheelchairs and standard strollers would be a challenge but with a strong person pushing might be okay.

Mangere Mountain Domain Elevation
Mangere Mountain Domain Walkways Elevation

Other useful Links:

Mangere Mountain Education Centre

Geological Information

Auckland Council Mangere Mountain Restoration Article

Mangere Bridge Website with current local news

Cudlip Point Walk – NORTH AUCKLAND

Cudlip Point Loop Track is a stunning walkway in the Mahurangi Regional Park, about 50 minutes drive north of the Auckland Harbour Bridge.  This track is one of three main walks in the park and includes amazing coastal views, beautiful beaches and a range of grasslands and native bush.  It is quite hilly, so requires a reasonable standard of fitness. 
Views of Mahurangi Harbour
Views of the stunning Mahurangi Harbour
Walk Time45 – 75 mins – 3.2km (yellow)
SurfaceGravel or Grass Tracks
Difficulty3/5 – some steep sections
Buggies/Wheelchairs1/5 – Steep up and down sections plus the
surface can be slippery. Buggie’s may be
possible if dry and you are very fit and strong.
No good for wheelchairs except by beach.
FacilitiesToilets, Water, Seats, Swimming, Beach,
Camping
HighlightsBeach, Views, Nature. Rocks for fishing

Click here to open the Google Map in a separate tab or tap the icon in the top right of this map.

Download a pdf version of the Cudlip Point Loop Map

Cudlip Point Loop Track Description

This Loop Track surprised me with its beauty, variety and challenge.  The views are superb as the Mahurangi Penninsula juts out into the Ocean, providing water and beaches on both its ‘coasts’.  The track is quite steep in places and is a mix of gravel and grass trail. 

Views across the Inlet to Te Muri Beach Mahurangi Regional Park
The Inlet to Te Muri Beach can be crossed at low tide

We commenced our walk at the higher carpark, the parking spot that greets you after entering the Regional Park.   You could also opt to veer left and head down the hill to Sullivans Bay and start your walk there.  This is probably recommended if you want to swim and picnic at the beach.

If starting at the top carpark, take the further right track entrance that heads towards Te Muri Bay.  This winds its way downhill for 10-15 minutes on a good gravel track until it reaches the water’s edge.   If starting at the carpark, follow the road or grass track as per the GPS Map up to the top carpark and then continue as above.

Upon reaching the inlet, you track alongside the waterway, through bush and patches of grass for about 10 minutes before turning left and heading up a steep incline.  You could also have crossed the inlet to Te Muri Beach if you desire and walk to the campsite or follow the track towards the end of the inlet.  Note: the inlet can only be crossed at low tide and remember you do need to get back again also!

Mirror views on the Te Muri Esturary
Mirror views on the Estuary

Head up the hill and towards the top of the ridge where you start to get the reward with some stunning vistas.  When we completed the track, there was a detour that took us to the ridge as the cliff-top track through the bush was unstable.   You have the choice of going right and heading through the gate to Cudlip Point Lookout or turning left and heading back along the ridge towards Sullivans Bay.  The  Lookout here gives views across the Gulf, looking East – they are ok but there are a lot of trees that block aspects of the view.

The walk along the ridgeline to Sullivans is stunning.  Views looking north up the coast are ‘million dollars’ and ahead are the views into beautiful Mahurangi Harbour.   prior to your decent to the beach, you can choose to go straight ahead or veer right and down the fenceline, which is the shorter option.

The red markers indicate the Cudlip Point Mahurangi track
Red markers indicate the track

Sullivans Beach is beautiful and fine for swimming, especially with higher tides.  There are good facilities here, including toilets, water fountains, an information kiosk and a campground if you wish to stay overnight.

If you started at the top carpark, walk back along the beach and up the steep grass hill back to the car.  If you started at Sullivans Beach, you are finished!

If you still desire more walking and even more stunning views, add the option of the Mita Loop Track that commences at the western end of Sullivans Bay. 

Buggies and Wheelchairs

The tracks in Mahurangi Regional Park are steep and unsuitable for wheelchairs.  If you are get and strong, you should be able to push a buggie with a baby around the Cuplip Point Loop Track but be aware that places are a bit slippery under foot and steep.  The Mita Loop is not suitable for buggies or wheelchairs.

Other useful Links:

Auckland Council Map and Information

Mahurangi West Wing Luxury B&B

Book one of the Park Campgrounds here

Sullivans Campground Information

Interesting article about Mahurangi Regional Park development

Parnell rose gardens loop

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. 
Historic St Stephens Church and Cemetary
Historic St Stephens Church and Graveyard – built 1859
Walk Time40 – 75 mins – 2.1km (yellow)
Surface99% Paved
Difficulty2/5 – some steep sections
Buggies/Wheelchairs3/5 – Steep up and down to/from Judges Bay.
Lots of stairs to and from Parnell Baths.
Check out your suitable options below.
FacilitiesToilets, Water, BBQ, Tables, Seats, Swimming
Pool and Beach, Restaurant/Cafe
HighlightsGardens, Views, History

Click here to open the Google Map in a separate tab or tap the icon in the top right of this map.

Download a pdf version of the Parnell Rose Gardens Loop Map

Parnell Rose Garden Loop Track Description

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.

Parnell Rose Gardens Nancy Steen Garden Fountain
Relax by the Nancy Steen Garden Fountain

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.

Views from Dove Meyer Robinson Park and Parnell Rose Gardens Track
Views from Dove Meyer Robinson Park Track

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.

Once the walk is completed, consider lunch or dinner at the Redwall Chinese Restaurant or some food/coffee at the famous Rosies Cafe.

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!

Parnell Rose Gardens and Judges Bay levation
Parnell Rose Gardens Elevation

Other useful Links:

Sir Dove Meyer Robinson

Parnell Rose Gardens Information

Parnell Baths 

St. Stephens Church

Redwall Chinese Restaurant

Rosie Cafe – Gladstone Rd

Rangitoto island

One of Auckland’s iconic landmarks, Rangitoto Island is an amazing day out. Arrive by ferry or private boat and explore, The 360-degree views of Auckland and the Hauraki Gulf from the summit are spectacular. There are plenty of other walking tracks if you are keen to explore further and short lava caves that are worth investigating.

Walk Time1.5 – 2 hours return to summit, plus side walks.
1/2 day to full day to circumnavigate the island.
SurfaceFormed track – lots of loose, fine scoria
Difficulty3/5
Buggies/Wheelchairs0/5 – most tracks not suitable. Vehicle Road is ok.
FacilitiesToilets
HighlightsViews, Lava Caves, Bush, Geology, Swimming

Get there by Ferry, your own boat or kayak!

Catch a short ferry ride from the Auckland Downtown or Devonport Ferry Terminals. Click here to access Fullers Ferry information and purchase tickets.

Fullers Ferry takes you to Rangitoto Island
Fullers Ferry takes you to Rangitoto Island (photo from HERA)

What to see and do?

Rangitoto Island is one of Aucklands most famous volcanoes, seen from many parts of the Auckland Isthmus. Its impressive ’round’ shape and obvious volcanic look make it instantly recognisable.

Rangitoto feels like a volcanic island. The black, rough scroria rock is all around and the many shapes of hard set lava are spectacular and at times dangerous looking! These days the bush has grown a lot on Rangitoto Island, making it a more pleasant and quite stunning
walk, even on hot days.

Walking through native bush on  Rangitoto Island
Walking through native bush on Rangitoto Island

Top suggestions to see:

  • Spectacular views of Auckland City and the Hauraki Gulf from the summit
  • Volcanic rock and formations
  • NZ Native bush
  • Lava caves – some which you can explore – they are only about 30-40m in length and marked on the map above
  • Swim – there is a lot of rocky coastline but the water is beautiful in summer!  You can take the trek to Islington Bay for a sandy beach but this is up to 2 hours!  I will add this to the Google Map when I get the chance to GPS the other tracks.
  • View the remaining historic and original waterfront cottages.
  • Swimming – brave the rocky rugged coastline for a dip or swim at sandy MacKenzie Bay and Islington Bay.

You will want to allow at least half day for exploring this amazing and unique island and can easily take a full day to circumnavigate the island and take in the summit.  Some of the bush is so beautiful and the views back towards Auckland give a unique and picturesque perspective. 

Rangitoto Island Elevation to the summit and the Lava Caves (far right point)
Elevation for the around the Island Track, finishing prior to returning to the wharf

Walking Difficulty and Suitability

Rangitoto is a steady walk and requires average fitness and steadiness on your feet.  It is not suitable for wheelchairs or baby buggies, having stairs.  Underfoot, the scoria can be slippery but fine if you stay aware.

Walking to the summit (260m) is uphill all the way.  There are plenty of beautiful views you can take in to have a break if needed.  It can also get hot – so have plenty of water, along with some snacks. 

There is also plenty of options for easy walks if a person uses the Vehicle Track around the perimeter of the island.  Once off the vehicle track, the routes are generally quite steep and unsteady.

Wheelchair and Buggie Suitability

Rangitoto is generally not suitable for wheelchairs and Buggies unless you stay on the Vehicle Track. This is a dirt road and gets reasonably close to the summit but a 20 – 30 min walk up stairs and steep hills will still be required to reach the summit.

West Harbour Loop

Have  a picnic with a view to Auckland City
Have a picnic with a view of  the Harbour & Auckland City
Starting by the West Harbour Marina, the West Harbour Loop walk is fully paved, winds through wonderful bush and provides stunning views over the water back to Auckland city.  There are a range of facilities at Luckens Reserve to make this walk more comfortable.

This is a walk to add to your list!
Walk Time60 – 75 mins – 4.5km (yellow)
Surface99% Paved
Difficulty2/5 – some steep sections
Buggies/Wheelchairs3/5 – Steep around & past Luckens Reserve
FacilitiesPlayground, Tpilets, Water, BBQ, Tables, Seats
HighlightsViews, Coastal, Native Bush, Park

Click to open the Google Map in a separate tab or tap icon in top right of this map.

Download a pdf version of the West Harbour Loop Map

West Harbour Loop Track Description

This is a lovely coastal track that makes its way from the West Harbour Marina alongside the harbour and through Luckens Reserve.  

The track could be walked out and back along the coast or use our suggested loop.  The loop is about 4.5km and takes just over an hour.  It could be shortened by looping back through Luckens Reserve. 

The track is paved 99% of the way and does not contain any stairs.  There are some steep sections around Luckens Reserve and through to the turn-around.

There are seats periodically placed along the walk for a nice resting spot.

Luckens reserve is excellent with lovely gently large sloped grass areas, children’s playground, toilets, drinking fountain and plenty of parking.

Buggies and Wheelchairs

The track is paved 99% of the way and does not contain any stairs.  It is suitable for buggies and wheelchairs, although parts before Luckens Reserve and beyond Luckens Reserve to the turnaround are very steep and probably too difficult for wheelchairs. Lighter buggies with a fit ‘pusher’ should be ok – although in wet conditions it may become dangerous.

West Harbour Loop Elevation Map – note the steep sections up to Luckens Reserve and then to the turn around point.

Other useful Links:

West Harbour Circuit Information

West Harbour Circuit Brochure

Luckens Reserve and Beach Information