About Us

  have never been in a natural place and felt that it was a waste of time. I never have. And it’s a relief. If I’m walking around a desert or whatever, every second is worthwhile.” Viggo Mortensen

Helen Wenley – Urban Explorer, Walker and Author

Helen is fiercely committed to guiding keen urban explorers to achieve a sense of excitement and wonder so you can have a lifelong memory of the beauty, uniqueness and diversity of Auckland.

If you live in Auckland and even if you are just visiting, and are looking for a wonderful way to appreciate Auckland’s beauty together with some TLC for your body – walks in Auckland will provide you with all of that and more. Like Helen, you would probably be surprised to find how many hidden gems are there right under your nose.

Helen’s path to becoming an Auckland urban explorer and walker became clear at an early age.  On her first day of school at age five, she fearlessly insisted on walking on her own, the 1 km from her home to the school gate.  She has not looked back – Helen has enjoyed walking all her life.

Growing up in Australia, she loved going out bush walking, and then later on when she lived in England Helen spent her leisure time exploring the countryside by foot and by bicycle.

Helen arrived in New Zealand in 1989, where she continued walking (mostly around One Tree Hill). With her husband and two children, Helen endeavored to encourage family walking but found it difficult to find the information required to make the outing fun and rewarding.

Over the last few years here in Auckland (since 2008), she has been discovering new walkways with her friend Grace. What amazes Helen about Auckland, is that there is heaps to see and it is all different depending on where you are, and there is no other city in the world like it.

With over 4 years of immense joy and fun, exploring  Auckland and documenting the routes, Helen’s mission and commitment is to encourage residents, families and visitors to get out and discover Auckland on foot so that they can feel a real sense of belonging and excitement about what this diverse and unique city has on offer.

Helen enjoys finding routes that surprise and rewards the walker with new discoveries.  In the process,  Helen has ignited an interest in photography and delights in capturing the scenery to share with her fellow walkers.

As of 2016, Helen and Grace reside in Hawkes Bay.

See Helen’s author profile and book list on Amazon.


Duck Pond
One of many magical surprises that Helen finds when she is out walking

Here is what Emma Haigh (Auckland Council’s Sport Waitakere) said about Short Walks in Auckland:

Helen and Grace have been integral in the success of our Walk It Series. I was able to meet with them and discuss my crazy ideas of increasing walking out west without any sideways glances  Sport Waitakere is very grateful for their willingness to map some of our walks for the series, taking our participants on a fun filled off-the-beaten-track walk on several occasions. It has created some talking points along the way and the participants will always remember their walks, which has helped in our promotion of the series.

Short Walks in Auckland website has been brilliant find for Sport Waitakere as we are both working towards a common goal.

Thank you Grace and Helen for your vision and enthusiasm.

Emma Haigh | Active Communities Advisor | Sport Waitakere www.sportwaitakere.co.nz

Great Service – Comprehensive Listing! What a fantastic website! It’s great to know before hand what a walk is going to be like, whether I can take my dog, do it in a few hours, or a whole day! I love this site for planning activities and will be using it this summer to get out and about in my beautiful city! Thank you!

Sport and Recreation On behalf of The University of Auckland, I would like to thank Helen for the custom route maps she has produced for our popular ‘Walk the Talk’ programme.  The maps are perfect for our needs, professionally made and  well received by participants.
On a personal level, Helen is a pleasure to work with.  She is very responsive to our specific requirements and highly industrious, producing the routes in short order. Her love of walking is evident in the enthusiasm with which she devotes herself to task.

Hugh Markham
Active Recreation Manager
The University of Auckland

If you are looking for a self-guided walking and exploring program that can make it easy to find your way along the many paths and walkways (so you won’t get lost); find views and nature that will take your breath away and will point out little tidbits of history, then you have come to the right place.

We hope you too enjoy discovering Auckland’s backyard secrets and we encourage you to share the beauty of this city with your friends and family.



Story about us in the Central Leader October 2013
Short Walks in Auckland