Tag Archives: Mountain Bikes

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

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).

IMG_4918

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 AucklandPuhinui 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.