Beautiful spring sunshine, great friends, our dog and a simply wonderful track and environment. Today we enjoyed walking the long-version of the Puhinui Stream Forest Loop – great native bush, parklands of Totara Park and a picnic – the kids even had a swim in the stream, not really a swimming paradise but lots of fun!
If you are looking for a fantastic family walk out south, this is one for you to enjoy. The bush includes large and mature native trees and the track through the bush is well maintained and full of interest. The southern part of the track is mostly flat and easy, while the return part of the loop is hilly.
The added attraction of this walk is immediate access to Totara Park and the Botanical Gardens. We enjoyed a great picnic on the grass next to a pond – our friends even bringing a camping gas cooker to make pancakes for lunch !
Details of the Puhinui Forest Loop Walk can be found here:
The Unsworth Heights to Rosedale Park walkway is a spectacular ‘there & back’ walk with many activities and options for variety to make it a loop. Enjoy native bush, streams, playgrounds, fields and even frisbee golf! The core tracks are paved and wide with some more adventurous options of natural bush tracks if desired. It really is a walk (or bike) for the whole family.
This is a wonderful and picturesque walk, with options for all abilities. Enjoy walking on the paved walkway or for more adventure and variety add in some undulating bush track, enabling this to become more of a loop walk.
The walkway has wide paths and boardwalks that at times follow alongside the stream through extensive native bush. The more challenging route runs parallel on the other side of the stream, through bush until it joins the shared path after Barbados Rd. Beyond the bush, there are lovely grass areas, a variety of playgrounds, many sports fields and even a free 9-hole frisbee-golf course en route for your enjoyment.
This track is suitable for buggies and wheelchairs, making it an adventure for families and groups. The walk can be completed one-way by leaving a vehicle at each end or could be completed as a return trip, which can involve a few variations to heighten interest and effectively make it a loop track. If completing one-way, commence at the Unsworth end of the path as most of your journey is downhill.
If completing your walk from the Goldfinch Rise entrance, park your vehicle in Azure Grove. Enter the walkway at the intersection of Azure Grove and Goldfinch Rise. The path winds its way downhill, initially past an excellent playground, grass areas and exercise equipment before entering the bush on a wide, fully- fenced boardwalk. The next section is stunning with dense native bush, birds and stairs to little sidewalks through the bush, often ending up near the stream. The river is also alive with wildlife, including eels. At the end of this section, cross the road and either follow the narrow dirt path beside the bush or head to Rook Place and re-join the track at the end of this cul-de-sac. An underpass takes you safely under Upper Harbour Drive and more picturesque pathway to Rosedale Park.
The bushwalk option commences off Caribbean Drive – use the lower of the two entrances – the other entrance joins directly back to the shared walkway. This walk is undulating and winds through pretty bush on a formed dirt track. The bush is wonderful with sounds of tui’s and other birds singing and plenty of ferns, rimu and other natives along the path. This walkway gets muddy in the wet, so be prepared for this during rainy times. There are also many exposed tree roots along the path, you will need to watch where you put your feet! At the end of this track, it uses Mallard Place to reconnect with the shared path. Once across Barbados, take the short bush track on the left or use Rook Place to continue your journey.
Paul Matthews Rd requires crossing to get to enjoy Rosedale Park. This is quite a busy street and so some patience and care are required, especially for children. There are also bus stops at this point making the path accessible via public transport. Cafe’s are also closeby, Cafe Drina is about 60m from the track, heading west.
Once in Rosedale Park, there is a lot to do. Bring your frisbee and enjoy the 9-hole frisbee golf course or make use of the playground beside the football fields. There is plenty of seating with various vistas and some picnic tables.
Rosedale Park has many fields, primarily soccer, so bring a ball and have a kick around. It also hosts softball and hockey. As you progress through the park via walkways or the road, you eventually leave the fields behind you and arrive at the far entrance to the walkway on Rosedale Rd where you can finish or turn around and return Unsworth Heights.
On the return, there are a few variations you can add as shown on the Google Map.
The Loop Track!
Add variety by adding a number of loops to this walk as shown on the Google Map.
Follow the main paved pathway from the start at either Goldfinch Rise, Unsworth Heights or Jack Hinton Drive off Rosedale Rd, depending on which way you are completing the walk. This review assumes walking from Goldfinch Rise.
Complete the walk to Rosedale utilising the main paved/boardwalk. This is a wide and easy walk, suitable for buggies and wheelchairs.
On the return walk, add a number of different routes that add significant interest to this walk and almost make it a loop walk. These are detailed below.
Follow the track through the sports field, rather than follow the track around the road.
Continue past the soccer club and along the road, up the hill and past the pretty duckponds. The frisbee golf-course is on your right. At the top of the hill turn right and walk down the footpath back towards the main track.
Head on the main track until after the Upper Harbour Drive Underpass and then turn left on to the tracks that take you to Rook Place and Mallard Place.
Walk along Mallard Place about 120m and then take the bush track on the right. This winds its way up and down through native bush and some pines until you reach Caribbean Place. This walkway is undulating and has plenty of tree roots, so requires an average level of fitness and health.
To return to the start, you have the choice of using the roadway or hanging a hard right and back into the bush. The bush track joins back to the main pathway and a left turn on to this will take you back to the start. If walking the road, continue on Caribbean Drive and then turn right into Goldfinch Rise.
Buggies and Wheelchairs
The main walkway is excellent for wheelchairs, buggies and bikes. It is up and downs, with it slowly descending towards Rosedale. The bish tracks are not suitable for wheels!
It’s been a while since we explored the Orakei Basin area. The Auckland Council has done extensive work with the new boardwalks, repairing the slips on the bush track and concreting most of the walkway.
Families with young children would really appreciate having public toilets – there are none nearby. Either side of Lucerne Road there are steep inclines that could be unsuitable for parents to push a pram with their child in it, and also steep steps.
Today we explored extending the walk to include more of the surrounding suburb of Meadowbank – crossing bush-clad gullies and streams, the Waiatarua Bridge, the Orakei Creek Bridge and walking along Lucerne Road ridge.
This is a dog-friendly walk – the off leash area in the Orakei Basin Reserve between the waterski club and the carpark, is very popular. The grassy area can be very muddy in the winter and gumboots are recommended.
Description: A mix of level and steep paths, steep 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. This is a dog friendly walk with an off-leash area.(See other Dog Friendly Walks) To see: Wonderful views of Mt Eden and Auckland City skyline. Small areas of bush. Railway track. Birdlife. Volcano crater. Time: approx. 90 minutes (about 6.45 kms) or the shorter route 45 minutes (about 3.45 kms). Parking: Near Kings Plant Barn, off Orakei Road near train station. Buses: to Orakei Train Station (Please note: no public toilets)
I have driven past Olympic Park New Lynn many times thinking it was only a children’s playground.
Yesterday we decided to stop and explore.
And we found that it is more than just a children’s playground and a wonderful place to bring children for a discovery outing, and a short family friendly walk.
It is an interesting small area with paths, streams, statues and children’s playgrounds and a sandpit. Older children may enjoy using their scooters to get around.
This a great little area for people with disabilities to explore too.
Self guided short circular walks in Auckland for health, fitness and fun