This short loop walk exploring the reserves from Botany Town Centre to Dannemora is suitable for people who work at Botany Town Centre and enjoy a short walk in their breaks, families with young children (playground, ducks) and dog owners.
The walkways are flat and concrete – ideal for wet days, and for buggies and scooters. We saw ducks, pukeko and shags on the waterways. There is a children’s playground en-route, picnic tables and off leash dog exercise areas.
The walking route is great for cyclists, prams/buggies and dog walkers.
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: Reserves and waterways. Time: approx. 45 minutes (about 3.4 kms). Start: Town Centre Drive, Chapel Road, Botany. MAP
Today we headed north out of Auckland to Orewa to walk around the Te Ara Tahuna shared path. This cycleway/walkway encircles the Orewa Estuary for a distance of 7.58km. It took us 1 hour and 45 minutes to walk it at a leisurely pace.
The tide was going out as we walked around anti-clockwise. It is a diverse walk, starting from the car park by the Estuary Arts Centre. MAP
We walked past beautiful houses and gardens set along the path, crossed bridges, walked on the edge of farmland with picturesque bales of hay and past mangroves – arriving back to the view of the ocean along the Hibiscus Coast Highway.
Look out for all the different wetland birdlife. You will also see kauri trees, pohutukawa trees, cabbage trees and flax. There are picnic tables available at the Orewa end, as well as a skate park. Benches provide views of the estuary and take the time to admire the beautifully carved wooden seats (six in total as of today’s date).
The cycleway is ideal for families with children who are competent cyclists. The pathway is a mix of concrete, bitumen and loose gravel. Be sure to have snacks and drinks with you to keep up the energy levels. And if the weather is appropriate, take beach gear for a refreshing swim afterwards.
There are now public toilets at MetroPark in Millwater (about halfway round) and a coffee lounge,dairy and other shops at the Millwater Parkway shops.
We stopped off at Olivers for a delicious lunch accompanied by a wonderful musician.
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.
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 mountainbuggies.
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.
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
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”).
Another sunny winter morning in Auckland and no wind – perfect for a walk in Mangere and Onehunga! The Manukau Harbour tide was in and the water was like a mirror!
Many people were out walking, running, cycling and fishing.
This walk takes in views of Mangere Mountain and Manukau Harbour, the harbour shore birds, mangrove swamp area, Onehunga Wharf, Onehunga Mall, a dog off-leash area in Onehunga Bay Reserve, Jellicoe Park (with it’s historical houses, picnic tables, children’s playground and public swimming pool). With a distance of 7.5kms, it is a bit longer than our usual walks.
There are several cafes to choose from at Mangere Bridge village along Coronation Road as well as a good choice of funky cafes in Onehunga.
You could even catch the train to Onehunga and pick up the walk from the station!
The New Zealand Transport Agency is proposing to replace the old Mangere Bridge. Stop and relax at Onehunga’s beach Taumanu. Discover more about Onehunga’s rich past, click here.
Description: A mix of mainly level paths, steps and inclined paths. Suitable for users of average fitness and mobility. May require boots in wet weather, running shoes suitable in dry weather. To see : Views of Mangere Mountain and Manukau Harbour, the harbour shore birds, mangrove swamp area, Onehunga Wharf, Onehunga Mall, a dog off-leash area in Onehunga Bay Reserve, Onehunga’s beach Taumanu, Jellicoe Park (with its historical houses, picnic tables, children’s playground and public swimming pool) Time : approx. 90 minutes. (about 7.5 kms) Start from: Coronation Road or Church Road
It takes only 30 minutes to walk around the Panmure Basin – another Auckland volcanic crater, but if you take young children with you then it may take longer. Take the tricycles and scooters – this is a mostly flat walk, as there are only two steep bits.
Panmure Basin is a fun family walk in Auckland with several distractions – there is access to 3 playgrounds, and on weekends there is a mini-train ride (runs on Sundays from 1pm to 4pm) and you can stop and watch people controlling their boats on the pond. Keep an eye on the tide chart – it does look prettier at high tide.
You can see the nearby volcano cone of Mt Wellington from the lagoon and if you look carefully from the Jubilee Bridge, One Tree Hill in the far distance.
Nearby is a skate park and theLagoon Leisure and Fitness Centre, Lagoon Dr, Panmure – Here you’ll find outdoor pools, a hydroslide, diving boards, and an adventure playground – all kid magnets in the summer. The outdoor area and gardens with barbecues and shaded picnic tables are great for family picnics and functions (source NZ Herald).
The walking route is also suitable for prams/buggies and dog walkers (on leash only). This walk has a fitness trail.
Also nearby is Mount Wellington Domain which is fun to explore and has great views of Auckland.
This area does lack nearby cafes but if you have a car you may want to venture to Pakuranga Plaza or Sylvia Park.
Description: Mostly level path, only 2 slight inclines. Suitable for users of average fitness and mobility. Running shoes suitable in dry weather. To see: Mt Wellington, boats, water birds Time: approx. 45 minutes. (about 4 kms) Start: Panmure Train Station MAP
Stay on track… download this walk (AC-045 Panmure Basin) for free
Kepa Bush is another short walk in Auckland treasure that contains bush trails and native trees, flora and fauna that is easy to get to.
The circuit takes about 30 minutes, and it provides views of the bush, 3 volcanoes (One Tree Hill, Mt Hobson and Mt Eden) and Orakei Basin, which all happen to be walks that we have documented. Kepa Bush Reserve is a cool shady walk for hot summer days. It is quiet and peaceful – and still in the city! The track is not well maintained, so be sure to wear sturdy footwear.
The grass reserve has picnic tables, and space to kick a ball around.
Kepa Bush Reserve is beside Eastridge Shopping Centre, where you can leave your car and stop for a coffee afterwards.
Download the FREE Kepa Bush Reserve guide and map here
Waiatarua Reserve has something for everyone. The reserve is a large wetland (see the pukeko and other water birds) with paths suitable for walking, jogging, wheelchairs (not electric wheelchairs) and cycling (paths not suitable for small wheels like scooters).
The walking route is also suitable for prams/buggies with large wheels.
It has a children’s playground, picnic tables, viewing platforms, a Basketball half court, a Skate park.
This is a dog friendly, mostly flat walk (watch out for puddles after rain) with an off-leash exercise area. It has been called “Auckland’s best dog park” (See other Dog Friendly Walks).
In some places, you could imagine that you are a long way from civilization, because all you can hear are the birds and all you can see are trees.
The walk is signposted to be 60 minutes long, we walked just over 3 kms, which makes it a short family friendly walk.
Description: Mostly level paths with very slight inclines. Suitable for users of average fitness and mobility. May require boots in wet weather, running shoes suitable in dry weather. To see: Wetlands, Ducks and Pukeko birds habitat. Time: approx. 30-60 minutes depending on what you decide (about 3.3 kms) Start: Car park off Grand Drive MAP Suggested Cafe:Hollywood Bakery in Lunn Avenue
It was great to see so many people, with their children and their dogs, out enjoying walking today at Western Springs and Meola Reef.
Other things to do here are to visit the Auckland Zoo and MOTAT – Auckland’s Museum of Transport and Technology. And have a tram ride!
Western Springs Park has a warm spot in my memories. My son loved coming here when he was little. He would ride his tricycle (and bicycle when he got bigger) around this man made lake. He had special places where he would have to stop to participate in the imaginative story he had going on in his head with characters from books we used to read.
Western Springs has a mostly level path suitable for wheelchairs, pushchairs and children’s scooters and trikes. There are ducks, geese, swans and eels to feed, so be sure to bring your bread scraps. And there is a fabulous playground with a BBQ area nearby. “Timespanners” view: War, water and birds at Western Springs
And when your dog gets tired, there is a seat to rest on…
There are two great places to enjoy your picnic – on the many picnic tables in Western Springs, or out at the point of Meloa Reef.
Unfortunately there is not a cafe within walking distance. But there is a van that sells coffee in a paper cup and icecreams in a cone just by the entrance to Western Springs from the Zoo carpark and not far from the children’s playgrounds. (Weekends only, not July and August).
Description: Mainly level paths plus steps. 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: Waitemata Harbour views, a natural spring-fed lake with ducks, swans, geese and long-finned eels; stream, trams, planes. Time: approx. 90 minutes. (about 7 kms) Start: Great North Road (Western Springs gardens) opposite Western Springs. MAP
Stay on track…get your detailed guide and map brochure (AC-011 Western Springs – Meola) over at our Walks Store and our Book Store ( one of 12 walks featured in our three books “Volcanoes”, “Coastal part 2”, “Dog Friendly part 1”).
Self guided short circular walks in Auckland for health, fitness and fun