Category Archives: Walks in Auckland South

Heading to south Auckland takes you on walks to the shores of Manukau Harbour, a view from a volcano, a visit to a working farm, the home of Dotterel and other shore birds and more. Then further on to The Auckland Botanical Gardens and Totara Park for a taste of a wide variety of vegetation.

Highbrook Park Loop

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).

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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”).

Ambury Park Farm Walk

The walk around Ambury Park Farm is a fun, family friendly excursion. Close to Mangere Bridge Village, nestled on the foreshores of Manukau Harbour, with Mangere Mountain as the back drop, it is steeped in volcanic history and it’s intertidal mudflats form a birdwatchers wetland paradise. (We sighted many pukeko running about today).

Ambury Park Farm is named after Stephen Ambury, an English Immigrant who farmed in this area. Mr Ambury produced the first shipment of butter to leave New Zealand for the United Kingdom.

Ambury Park Farm
The farm itself has varied animals that young and old always enjoy. (A friend of mine, Robyn P Murray has written beautifully illustrated children’s books about Roger the Rooster and The Spirit of Cameron including other animals in residence at Ambury Park Farm).

On a hot day, be sure to have hats, sunblock and drinks on hand. There are picnic tables and benches throughout the Park.

The walking route is also suitable for mountain buggies.

If you enjoy cycling, there is an easy grade 7km mountain bike track (WaterCare Coastal walkway map) which takes you from Ambury Park Farm to Otuataua Stonefields Historic Reserve.

A fun place to take the whole family. Animals to see and pet (feed the new lambs in August), volcanic history, shore birds, picnic spots…You could spend half the day doing the walk and visiting the farm, have lunch in Mangere Bridge Village and then explore Mangere Mountain.

Other Mangere WalksMangere Bridge to Onehunga LoopMangere MountainMangere Esplanade Loop

Nearby places to visit: Watercare Coastal walkwayAmbury Regional ParkVilla Maria Winery and cafeButterfly Creek,  Otuataua Stonefields historic reserve , Mangere Strawberry and Vegetable Farm @ 127 Kirkbride Road.

Description: Mostly level paths across farmland and along gravel tracks. Suitable for users of average fitness and mobility. Suitable for mountain bikes. Sturdy shoes recommended.
To see: Manukau Harbour, Mangere Mountain, farm land and animals, shore birds, Ambury Park Farm
Time: approx. 60 minutes. (about 5.25 kms)
Start: Ambury Park Farm car park MAP

Download the map of Ambury and devise your own route or

Stay on track…get your detailed guide and map (AS-056 Ambury Park Farm Loop) over at our Walks Store   and our Book Store (one of 12 walks featured in our books “Coastal part 1” and “Best of the South”).

Puhinui Reserve Walkway

Puhinui Reserve Walkway was another new discovery for us today.  It is a huge (199 hectares of rural landscape) undeveloped area out near Auckland Airport (off Price Road, off Puhiniu Road).

Puhinui Reserve Walkway will eventually link up with Te Araroa – The Long Pathway.

walks in Auckland Puhinui Reserve forms part of the extensive Matukuturua volcanic field and is linked with pre-European settlements centred around Wiri Mountain (which has been extensively quarried) and Matukutura (McLaughlins Mountain). The area is used for a 3 day equestrian event once a year.  It is a great area for safe family cycling on mountain bikes. This is a mostly flat walk. Dogs are not permitted as it is a conservation area for birdlife (such as the rare or endangered NZ Dotterel, wrybill, fernbird, and black stilt). Take a picnic – there are no nearby cafes.

The walking route is suitable for mountain buggies. Puhiniu Reserve is a great place to visit from about the end of July to see the newborn lambs and calves.

Description: A mix of level paths and slightly inclined paths. Suitable for users of average fitness and mobility. May require boots in wet weather (mud and puddles), running shoes suitable in dry weather.
To see: Manukau Harbour conservation land, farmland and farm animals, view of McLaughlin Mountain (volcano), native bush.
Time: approx. 80 minutes. (about 6.50 kms)Best of the South: Short walks in Auckland
Start: Price Road (off Puhinui Road, Wiri) MAP

*** Download this walk AS-039 Puhinui Reserve Loop for free when you enter your details here. *** or…

One of 12 walks available in “Short Walks in Auckland: Best of the South”. Visit our book store to get your copy.

Botanic Gardens and Totara Park Loops

walks in AucklandA beautiful sunny morning made our trip south for a walk around the Auckland Botanic Gardens and Totara Park walking tracks and the Puhinui Stream forest, a wonderful experience.

We had set out to do a 5km walk but we ended up getting lost due to poor signage.

There was a good side to getting lost 1) we walked further than we had planned and 2) we found a look-out that we did not know existed which gave us a clear view all the way to the Auckland city skyline and across to Manukau Harbour.

The Puhinui Stream Forest Trail (the full loop trail is approx 4 kms) in Totara Park was gorgeous with the sunlight dappling the native ferns and palms. The trail took us past beautiful totara, puriri, nikau and kauri trees. We enjoyed soaking up the beauty of the lush native forest.

There are great spots to stop and picnic along the trail and children’s playground areas (including a  children’s flying fox). Dogs on-leash on the trail, but there are off-leash areas. It makes for a great family day out. (And if you are into mountain biking or want to give it a try, there is a 15 km mountain bike track here too).

Dogs – off leash exercise area between north side of the Gardens and Totara Park.

If you have children then we do recommend a visit to the Potter Children’s Garden (within the Botanic Gardens) – and as adults we enjoy visiting them too! The Auckland Botanical Gardens are magnificent and a wonderful place to visit all year round – the spring blossoms are stunning.

Description: A mix of level paths, steps and slightly inclined paths. Suitable for users of average fitness and mobility. May require boots in wet weather, running shoes suitable in dry weather.
To see: Auckland Botanic Gardens, native bush and palms
Time: approx. 75 minutes. (about 6 kms)
Start: Auckland Botanic Gardens Carpark MAP
Miko Cafe at Auckland Botanic Gardens Visitor Centre provided us with much needed refreshments (we especially enjoy the Piazza D’Oro coffee).

Stay on track…get your detailed guide and map (AS-037 Botanic Gardens and Totara Park Loops ) over at our Walks Store  and our Book Store (one of 12 walks featured in our books “Urban Bush”, “Dog Friendly Walks part 2” and “Best of the South”).

Mangere Mountain Walk

walks in aucklandI have driven past Mangere Mountain many times without realising where it was. I knew of it, but hadn’t seen it. I discovered it last year and found that it’s a huge and unspoiled volcano with fabulous views across the Manukau Harbour. Mangere Mountain has little exposure from the motorway to the airport, but on it’s western side it looms high (106 metres above sea level), from the Harbour shores. This volcano does not have paved paths and roads like Mt Eden or One Tree Hill. It erupted about 18,000 years ago and is in the most original condition.

Dogs – off leash exercise areas within reserve.

Other Mangere WalksMangere Bridge to Onehunga LoopAmbury Park Farm WalkMangere Esplanade Loop

Nearby places to visit: Watercare Coastal walkway, Ambury Regional Park, Villa Maria Winery and cafe, Butterfly Creek,  Otuataua Stonefields historic reserve , Mangere Strawberry and Vegetable Farm @ 127 Kirkbride Road.

Description: A mix of level paths and steep paths. Caution: Muddy and slippery when wet. Suitable in dry weather. Suitable for most ages and levels of fitness and mobility, designed with flat shoes or running shoes in mind. Not suitable for wheelchairs and pushchairs.
To see: Volcano crater and rim, Manukau Harbour views, views of other volcanoes.
Time: approx. 45 minutes (3.69kms)
Start: Coronation Road, Mangere Bridge Village There is a children’s playground and an off-leash dog area.  (See other Dog Friendly Walks) Mangere Village has several cafes.

Find this walk and other walks over at our Walks Store  (GS006 Mangere Mountain) and our Book Store (“Volcanoes”  and “Best of the South”).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

12 Volcano Walks
12 Volcano Walks

Mangere Mountain is featured in our book “Volcanoes”. Available from AmazonShort Walks in Auckland: Volcanoes (and on Kindle)