Tag Archives: Hidden Gem

Botany to Cascades Loop Walk

It continues to amaze us how the distances between places seem shorter when we are out walking compared to driving. This loop walk in Auckland from Botany Town Centre and back via Cascades Road, was one  that took us from an unfamiliar area to an area we have walked previously. When we start exploring a new area, we are never sure what we are going to find, and we found today’s walk very pleasant.

We made good use of reserve walkways and the suburban streets.  And we had three delightful surprises.

Our first surprise was finding a book –  a travelling book (from BookCrossing) left by someone to be picked up, read and released!

The second surprise was stumbling upon an old farm cottage which has been converted into a cafe that is surrounded by modern suburban housing. The grounds contain a tree that was planted in 1890. A hidden gem with a rural feel right in the middle of an urban wasteland with heaps of character and charm – Hawthorn Dene Historic Country Cafe.

Botany to Cascades Loop Walk Copyright 2014 Unleashed ventures LimitedThe third surprise was an amazing and wonderful wood carving which you would not know was there if you were travelling by car.

 
The walking route is also great for cyclists, prams/buggies and dog walkers . Dogs- Off leash exercise areas within reserves and parks.

Description: Mostly level paths. Suitable for most ages and levels of fitness and mobility, designed with flat shoes or running shoes in mind. Suitable for pushchairs.
To see: Historical sites, bridges, waterways.
Time: approx. 75 minutes (about 7kms).
Start:The Hub, Ti Rakau Drive, Botany. MAP

Stay on track…find this walk’s map and directions guide (AE-100 Botany to Cascades Loop) and other walk self-guides at our Walk Store and our Book Store (“Best of the East”).

Walks in Auckland City

While most of our walks are within urban Auckland, we would like to encourage you to explore Auckland city’s Central Business District (CBD). For visitors on short stays, walking around Auckland city is the best way to explore and discover the backstreets and character.

Many of these walks in Auckland City start from Britomart at the Auckland Harbour end of Queen Street.

The Auckland City CBD discovery walk – starts from Britomart. This walk brochure is free for people who download our FREE report ‘What to do and see in Auckland’. This walk takes you past historical buildings and through parks and reserves. We also take in lanes, arcades and courtyards.

Victoria Park and Markets – begins at Victoria Park Markets and takes you through the suburban streets of Freemans Bay up to Ponsonby Road via the well-hidden gem of Western Park.

Auckland Coast to Coast Walk – starts from Britomart and takes about 4 hours non-stop.  It is split into 4 stages, with directions on where to catch a bus to return to Britomart at the end of each stage. This walk is full of variety from kauri trees, to the Parnell shops and cafes, churches and cathedrals, views of the harbours, volcanoes and Waitekere Ranges and an art collection.

Karangahape Road and Parks – starts from BritomartWalk the back streets and parks of Auckland City.  This walk provides fine views of Mt Eden (down the side roads off Karangahape Road), the Harbour Bridge and the Sky Tower, and introduces you to the eclectic shopping strip of Ponsonby and Karangahape Road.

Auckland Harbour and Point Erin – starts from Victoria Park Market which is within an easy walk from Britomart. This Auckland walk not only has fabulous views, it is mostly flat (apart from the steep steps at Jacob’s Ladder ), Victoria Park has a great children’s playground and skate park, and there are beautiful old homes and moored yachts to enjoy. View the Auckland Harbour Bridge up close.

Wynyard Quarter Waterfront – starts from Britomart.  Explore the Viaduct Basin and Wynyard Quarter boating scene and cafes.  See where the America’s Cup yachts were based.  There is always something to see along the way…

Auckland Museum – starts from Britomart. This mini-tour walk takes in the Auckland Domain,Albert Park, Queen Street, Chancery Lane, Vulcan Lane, High Street, and old Government House.

Auckland Art Gallery – starts from Britomart. The route winds through parks, arcades and past historic buildings.

We have also put together 5 walks for the University of Auckland from their city-side Symonds Street campus.

If you have the time and wish to have a break from the City head to Devonport: Mount Victoria and North Head – start from Britomart and walk to the Ferry Building to catch the ferry to Devonport.  Explore the historic houses and buildings beneath Mount Victoria and/or walk up to North Head.  Stop in Devonport Village to browse the shops and refresh at cafes. Or catch a train or bus to Newmarket and spend the day walking and exploring.

Walks in Auckland – Victoria Park and Markets

How do you recover after last night’s fabulous TV screening of the wedding of Prince William and Catherine?  Go for a walk in Auckland of course!

Today’s walk begins at Victoria Park Markets and takes us through the suburban streets of Freemans Bay up to Ponsonby Road via the well-hidden gem of Western Park and the sculptural installation by John Radford on Ponsonby Road.

Currently, the Victoria Park Markets are a disgrace.  They are run-down, parts are under construction and what few shops are open sell touristy junk (apart from a sports wear shop and a shoe shop).  Hopefully once the Victoria Park tunnel construction is complete someone will spend some money on the markets to bring them up to International standards.  Did you know that these buildings started life as “The Destructor; Auckland’s first rubbish depot”?  Read more at Suite101: History of Victoria Park Market

However in contrast Western Park is a delight.  There is a comprehensive children’s playground that includes a flying fox and long slide, a fitness trail and wonderful trees such as the massive Moreton Bay Fig trees and Kauri trees and Cyprus trees to name a few. This is a dog friendly walk with an off-leash area. (See other Dog Friendly Walks)

This video gives a taste of Western Park.

Colourful Ponsonby Road is worth exploring and there many cafes and restaurants to choose from.  This area is also full of heritage buildings and places of interest.  Choose from four Ponsonby Heritage Walks.

A mix of level and steep paths. Suitable in dry and wet weather. Suitable for most ages and levels of fitness and mobility, designed with flat shoes or running shoes in mind. Not suitable for wheelchairs. To see : City dwellings, City tourist market, park with mature trees, character shopping street with cafes and restaurants. Dogs: Off leash area. Children’s Playground=Yes Time : approx. 60 minutes. Allow extra time to explore.
Start Point: Victoria Park Market


Find this walk and other walk brochures in Central Auckland here.