Tag Archives: Rocks

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

Long Bay regional park

Long Bay Regional Park is situated on the northeast coast of Auckland and is one of the cities most popular recreation destinations. The long sandy beach, extensive park facilities and range of walking tracks make it a great place to walk. Enjoy the open fields or native bush. Be refreshed by the ocean air and the stunning views of the Hauraki Gulf and its many islands.

Long Bay beach
Northern end of Long Bay Beach

Parking is plentiful at Long Bay and there are toilets, water fountains, children’s playground and BBQ’s within the park area behind the beach. Take in some history with the Vaughan Homestead or a walk to the military pillbox.

Long Bay Regional Park offers explorers a range of walks from 15 – 20 minutes up to 3 – 4 hours, all of which are highly rated. There is more detail on each of the walks provided below, but here is a brief overview:

Nature Walk: this is a short loop walk through native bush of about 15 – 20 minutes.

Granny’s Bay Walk: this loop takes you through the wetlands and bush to the ridge, detour to the pillbox and then to Granny’s Bay.  Return via the rocks if the tide is low enough.  Time approx 45 – 60 minutes.

100 Acre Walk: add this detour to the Granny’s Bay walk and enjoy a kilometre walk through the regenerating native bush. Time is approx 15 mins from the Granny’s Bay walk.

Okura River Walk: this is a good half-day trek and extends beyond Granny’s Bay to the Okura River mouth.   At lower tides, you can return along the rocks and beaches.

Walk Time15 – 20 minutes, 1.1km (Nature Trail loop)
45 – 75 minutes, 3.8km (yellow)
2.5 – 4 hours, 9km (yellow & red)
SurfaceGravel or Grass Tracks
Difficulty2/5 – some steep sections
Buggies/Wheelchairs3/5 – the initial track to Granny’s Bay is fine,
although some parts are steep. There are stairs
beyond Granny’s Bay.
FacilitiesToilets, Seats, Playground, BBQ’s, Swimming
HighlightsViews, Swimming & Water Sports, Array of tracks

Click here to open the Google Map in a separate tab or tap the icon in the top right of this map.

Download a pdf version of the Long Bay Reserve Walks Printable Map

Long Bay Reserve Walking Tracks Description

Select from short walks of just 15-20 minutes up to a full half-day adventure. Enjoy the sea, the views, the bush and birdlife – Long Bay is simply a wonderful place to explore and enjoy.   

Vaughan Homestead Long Bay
Vaughan Homestead

The Vaughan Homestead is worth a detour and is a little beyond the entry to the main track.  This historic home is situated at the northern end of the beach.  More historic information can be found here. 

Nature Walk: 15 – 20 minutes, 1.1km

This short walk is a loop that commences from the end carpark of the Long Bay and takes in the Wetland and Nature Trail tracks.  Once at the far carpark, walk northwards through the chain across the driveway.  About 100m from the start, turn left at the coastal track sign and head into the flat wetland area.  Follow the pathway for a further 300m until you reach the bridge where you will cross the stream that heads to Long Bay Beach.  Keep a lookout for a variety of swamp birds.

Long Bay Bush Track
Track to Nature Trail

Head across the bridge and up the hill.  100m on the right is the Nature Trail which follows the stream for about 250m before existing just below the historic Vaughan Homestead.  The Nature Trail tracks through attractive NZ native bush.  Turn left to view the Vaughan Homestead or right to head back to the start.

Granny’s Bay Walk: 45 – 60 minutes, 3.8km

Grannys Bay at Long Bay
Beautiful Grannys Bay

This is the most popular walk at Long Bay Reserve as it provides stunning views across the Hauraki Gulf and access to the less busy and beautiful Granny’s Bay.   

View to Rangitoto from Long Bay Track
View to Rangitoto Island

Take the same route as described above for the Nature Trail, however, continue to climb the hill track until you reach grass fields. Once at the top of the hill, walk through the grasslands towards the clifftop.  This is where you get your best views across the water and all the way to Auckland. 

Long Bay Gun Emplacement
Gun Emplacement Detour

A small detour on a bush track, through the fence line, near the cliff takes you to a historic pillbox.  There are glimpses of views back down Long Bay Beach from here.  The track at times is closed due to slips, so be mindful of its condition.

At the fence, take a left and continue to follow the track down the hill to the Beach.  At high tide, it is a beautiful swimming beach and very private.  As the tide recedes, it becomes part of the ongoing coastline and not so attractive for swimming.

There is a second Bay over the next hill that is also pretty but be aware that clothing is optional here and so most may not want to stop here for the swim and picnic!

Walk around the rocks to Long bay
Return to Long Bay via the coast

The return to Long Bay can be achieved by walking around the rocks if half-tide or lower, or by retracing your steps up and over the hill.   Take care though as it can be slippery when wet.

100 Acre Walk: 15 – 20 minutes, 1.6km

100 Acre Long Bay Tea Tree
100 Acre Tea Tree

Enjoy a tranquil stroll through native bush on the 100 Acre Track.  This is a regenerated area of native bush and enjoys great birdlife.  The track is wide and grassy, a little muddy in the wet.  The flowering Tea Tree and birdsong are highlights.

100 Acre Track Long Bay
Track through 100 Acre

Access the 100 Acre track from the walkway to Granny’s Bay or from directly adjacent to Granny’s Bay.   

Okura River Walk: 2.5 – 4 hours, 9km

Make a day of your time at Long Bay Reserve and complete the Okura River Walk. This is pleasant and spectacular. The track these days is pretty good, although still has some muddy patches in the wet towards Okura River.

This walkway can be completed as an out and back walk or using the track one way and the coast the other. The coastal return should only be attempted when it can be completed within 2 hours of low tide for the entire trip. It can also be very rocky and slippery but is a great option for more confident walkers. I have completed this one many times when it was a route I ran a lot and it is amazing but requires care.

Looking to Okura River Mouth

Take the track to Grannys Bay and then continue over the next hill to Pohutukawa Bay. The track then climbs again upwards adjacent to farmland on the left and clifftop bush on the right. The walk is grassy and undulating, with views along the way. As you get closer to the Okura River Mouth, the track heads more westerly until you drop to the Okura River.

If the tide is low enter the ‘beach’ and then turn right to return via the coast to Long Bay. If the tide is not low, retrace your steps to return to Long Bay.

Buggies and Wheelchairs

Many of the Long Bay tracks can be accessed by buggies and wheelchairs.  The constraint is more the hills as some are steep.    

Other useful Links:

Long Bay Regional Reserve DOC

Vaughan Homestead

Bike the trail

Mangere Esplanade Loop Walk

Mangere Bridge - Kiwi Esplanade copyright 2013 Unleashed Ventures Limited

It was a treat to walk along Kiwi Esplanade (Mangere Bridge) at high tide in the sunshine this morning. We had clear views to One Tree Hill and nearby Mangere Mountain, and sighted the migratory South Island Pied Oyster Catchers sitting on the rocks and reserves.

It’s always a pleasure to visit Mangere Bridge Village, with it’s parade of cafes and interesting folk. The area was busy today with walkers and cyclists. 

The walking route is also great for prams/buggies and dog walkers (on leash only).

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.

Other Mangere WalksMangere Bridge to Onehunga LoopAmbury Park Farm WalkMangere Mountain

Description: Mainly level paths, with just one gentle downhill slope. Suitable for users of average fitness and mobility.
To see: Views of Manukau Harbour, One Tree Hill, Mangere Mountain, Pukeko and shore birds habitat.
Time: approx. 75 minutes. (about 6.23 kms)
Start: Coronation Road, Mangere Bridge Village  MAP

Stay on track…get your detailed guide and map (AS-071 Mangere Esplanade Loop) over at our Walks Store  and our Book Store (one of 12 walks featured in our books “Coastal part 2” and “Best of the South”).

 

Newmarket Park Circuit

The Newmarket Park walk is behind and at the top of the shopping village of Parnell. It used to be a beautiful area of grass, mature trees and large rocks, one of the ‘hidden’ walks in Auckland. Sadly, all that has disappeared – today all that Grace and I could see was earth-moving equipment working on naked soil. So the pleasant walk we had in mind changed. We walked through the reserve opposite, then headed up to the Cathedral, then towards the Domain.

We allowed ourselves to be side-tracked when we saw the signs for Farmers Market behind the Foundation for the Blind building. When we arrived, it was all packed up – it starts at 8am and finishes at 12. We had arrived after 1pm…From there we crossed the railway line and headed back down the hill to our parked car.

We continued chatting at the cafe at Palmers Garden Centre.

It will be a long while before Newmarket Park is restored, so until then I will not be making available my walk for that area. UPDATE: Newmarket Park has been reopened. There is a children’s playground, a duck pond and public toilet facilities.

We have a selection of walks that visit Newmarket Park over at Walks from Newmarket.