Tag Archives: Swimming Beach

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

Cudlip Point Walk – NORTH AUCKLAND

Cudlip Point Loop Track is a stunning walkway in the Mahurangi Regional Park, about 50 minutes drive north of the Auckland Harbour Bridge.  This track is one of three main walks in the park and includes amazing coastal views, beautiful beaches and a range of grasslands and native bush.  It is quite hilly, so requires a reasonable standard of fitness. 
Views of Mahurangi Harbour
Views of the stunning Mahurangi Harbour
Walk Time45 – 75 mins – 3.2km (yellow)
SurfaceGravel or Grass Tracks
Difficulty3/5 – some steep sections
Buggies/Wheelchairs1/5 – Steep up and down sections plus the
surface can be slippery. Buggie’s may be
possible if dry and you are very fit and strong.
No good for wheelchairs except by beach.
FacilitiesToilets, Water, Seats, Swimming, Beach,
Camping
HighlightsBeach, Views, Nature. Rocks for fishing

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 Cudlip Point Loop Map

Cudlip Point Loop Track Description

This Loop Track surprised me with its beauty, variety and challenge.  The views are superb as the Mahurangi Penninsula juts out into the Ocean, providing water and beaches on both its ‘coasts’.  The track is quite steep in places and is a mix of gravel and grass trail. 

Views across the Inlet to Te Muri Beach Mahurangi Regional Park
The Inlet to Te Muri Beach can be crossed at low tide

We commenced our walk at the higher carpark, the parking spot that greets you after entering the Regional Park.   You could also opt to veer left and head down the hill to Sullivans Bay and start your walk there.  This is probably recommended if you want to swim and picnic at the beach.

If starting at the top carpark, take the further right track entrance that heads towards Te Muri Bay.  This winds its way downhill for 10-15 minutes on a good gravel track until it reaches the water’s edge.   If starting at the carpark, follow the road or grass track as per the GPS Map up to the top carpark and then continue as above.

Upon reaching the inlet, you track alongside the waterway, through bush and patches of grass for about 10 minutes before turning left and heading up a steep incline.  You could also have crossed the inlet to Te Muri Beach if you desire and walk to the campsite or follow the track towards the end of the inlet.  Note: the inlet can only be crossed at low tide and remember you do need to get back again also!

Mirror views on the Te Muri Esturary
Mirror views on the Estuary

Head up the hill and towards the top of the ridge where you start to get the reward with some stunning vistas.  When we completed the track, there was a detour that took us to the ridge as the cliff-top track through the bush was unstable.   You have the choice of going right and heading through the gate to Cudlip Point Lookout or turning left and heading back along the ridge towards Sullivans Bay.  The  Lookout here gives views across the Gulf, looking East – they are ok but there are a lot of trees that block aspects of the view.

The walk along the ridgeline to Sullivans is stunning.  Views looking north up the coast are ‘million dollars’ and ahead are the views into beautiful Mahurangi Harbour.   prior to your decent to the beach, you can choose to go straight ahead or veer right and down the fenceline, which is the shorter option.

The red markers indicate the Cudlip Point Mahurangi track
Red markers indicate the track

Sullivans Beach is beautiful and fine for swimming, especially with higher tides.  There are good facilities here, including toilets, water fountains, an information kiosk and a campground if you wish to stay overnight.

If you started at the top carpark, walk back along the beach and up the steep grass hill back to the car.  If you started at Sullivans Beach, you are finished!

If you still desire more walking and even more stunning views, add the option of the Mita Loop Track that commences at the western end of Sullivans Bay. 

Buggies and Wheelchairs

The tracks in Mahurangi Regional Park are steep and unsuitable for wheelchairs.  If you are get and strong, you should be able to push a buggie with a baby around the Cuplip Point Loop Track but be aware that places are a bit slippery under foot and steep.  The Mita Loop is not suitable for buggies or wheelchairs.

Other useful Links:

Auckland Council Map and Information

Mahurangi West Wing Luxury B&B

Book one of the Park Campgrounds here

Sullivans Campground Information

Interesting article about Mahurangi Regional Park development

Parnell rose gardens loop

Beautiful gardens, huge Pohutukawa trees, history, sculptures, monuments, swimming and wonderful Harbour views ensure the Parnell Rose Gardens Loop is a walk for all to enjoy.  Add to this the onsite Redwall Chinese Restaurant and famous Rosie Cafe and you have the perfect experience. 
Historic St Stephens Church and Cemetary
Historic St Stephens Church and Graveyard – built 1859
Walk Time40 – 75 mins – 2.1km (yellow)
Surface99% Paved
Difficulty2/5 – some steep sections
Buggies/Wheelchairs3/5 – Steep up and down to/from Judges Bay.
Lots of stairs to and from Parnell Baths.
Check out your suitable options below.
FacilitiesToilets, Water, BBQ, Tables, Seats, Swimming
Pool and Beach, Restaurant/Cafe
HighlightsGardens, Views, History

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 Parnell Rose Gardens Loop Map

Parnell Rose Garden Loop Track Description

This walk is a stunning outing including the beauty of the roses, the magnificence of huge Pohutukawa Trees, history of St. Stephens Church and the opportunity for views and swimming.

Parnell Rose Gardens Nancy Steen Garden Fountain
Relax by the Nancy Steen Garden Fountain

We commence this walk at the Entrance on the corner of Gladstone Rd and Judges Bay Rd.  Very quickly you are enjoying a short bush walk, followed by the historic Nancy Steen Garden, named after the famous Rose collector and historian.  There is a fountain and seats to enjoy.

Journey on via Judges Bay to St, Stephens Anglican Church, a beautiful and historic old building, commenced in 1859.  The graveyard contains interesting history of early Auckland.   Pass through the churchyard archway and towards the expensive St Stephens Avenue, famous as the street of Sir John Key, former Prime Minister of NZ.

Views from Dove Meyer Robinson Park and Parnell Rose Gardens Track
Views from Dove Meyer Robinson Park Track

Enjoy wonderful views across the Waitemata Harbour as you descend the stairs to the Parnell Baths and Judges Bay.  Here you can connect to Tamaki Drive and Auckland’s Waterfront if you desire.  Walk to the end of the pedestrian Bridge for great views, it literally hangs over the water!

The Parnell Baths and Judges Bay offer both beauty and a chance for swimming in the warmer months.  Enjoy the jetty and you will also find a toilet block and BBQ.

Head up the hill once again back towards Dove Meyer Robinson Park, enjoying the bush and sprawling Pohutukawa Trees.  Notice the Wedge monument on the grass hill on your left, reminding us to not allow wedges to be driven between us.

Once back in the Rose Gardens, enjoy exploring the Monuments and Roses of this picturesque park.  Of particular interest is the Korean War monument nearby Gladstone Rd.

Once the walk is completed, consider lunch or dinner at the Redwall Chinese Restaurant or some food/coffee at the famous Rosies Cafe.

This is a very enjoyable walk with a lot of variety and activity.  The complete loop does require an average level of fitness as there are steep sections and stairs.  Wheelchairs and buggies are suitable through the Rose Gardens part of the walk.

Buggies and Wheelchairs

The track section around the Rose Gardens is very good for wheelchairs and buggies.  The walkway is paved and generally not too steep.

However, getting to Judges Bay has quite steep tracks and will require care if pushing a wheelchair or buggie, particularly in the wet.  There are plenty of stairs at the eastern end of the Parnell Baths also that should be avoided!

Parnell Rose Gardens and Judges Bay levation
Parnell Rose Gardens Elevation

Other useful Links:

Sir Dove Meyer Robinson

Parnell Rose Gardens Information

Parnell Baths 

St. Stephens Church

Redwall Chinese Restaurant

Rosie Cafe – Gladstone Rd

Rangitoto island

One of Auckland’s iconic landmarks, Rangitoto Island is an amazing day out. Arrive by ferry or private boat and explore, The 360-degree views of Auckland and the Hauraki Gulf from the summit are spectacular. There are plenty of other walking tracks if you are keen to explore further and short lava caves that are worth investigating.

Walk Time1.5 – 2 hours return to summit, plus side walks.
1/2 day to full day to circumnavigate the island.
SurfaceFormed track – lots of loose, fine scoria
Difficulty3/5
Buggies/Wheelchairs0/5 – most tracks not suitable. Vehicle Road is ok.
FacilitiesToilets
HighlightsViews, Lava Caves, Bush, Geology, Swimming

Get there by Ferry, your own boat or kayak!

Catch a short ferry ride from the Auckland Downtown or Devonport Ferry Terminals. Click here to access Fullers Ferry information and purchase tickets.

Fullers Ferry takes you to Rangitoto Island
Fullers Ferry takes you to Rangitoto Island (photo from HERA)

What to see and do?

Rangitoto Island is one of Aucklands most famous volcanoes, seen from many parts of the Auckland Isthmus. Its impressive ’round’ shape and obvious volcanic look make it instantly recognisable.

Rangitoto feels like a volcanic island. The black, rough scroria rock is all around and the many shapes of hard set lava are spectacular and at times dangerous looking! These days the bush has grown a lot on Rangitoto Island, making it a more pleasant and quite stunning
walk, even on hot days.

Walking through native bush on  Rangitoto Island
Walking through native bush on Rangitoto Island

Top suggestions to see:

  • Spectacular views of Auckland City and the Hauraki Gulf from the summit
  • Volcanic rock and formations
  • NZ Native bush
  • Lava caves – some which you can explore – they are only about 30-40m in length and marked on the map above
  • Swim – there is a lot of rocky coastline but the water is beautiful in summer!  You can take the trek to Islington Bay for a sandy beach but this is up to 2 hours!  I will add this to the Google Map when I get the chance to GPS the other tracks.
  • View the remaining historic and original waterfront cottages.
  • Swimming – brave the rocky rugged coastline for a dip or swim at sandy MacKenzie Bay and Islington Bay.

You will want to allow at least half day for exploring this amazing and unique island and can easily take a full day to circumnavigate the island and take in the summit.  Some of the bush is so beautiful and the views back towards Auckland give a unique and picturesque perspective. 

Rangitoto Island Elevation to the summit and the Lava Caves (far right point)
Elevation for the around the Island Track, finishing prior to returning to the wharf

Walking Difficulty and Suitability

Rangitoto is a steady walk and requires average fitness and steadiness on your feet.  It is not suitable for wheelchairs or baby buggies, having stairs.  Underfoot, the scoria can be slippery but fine if you stay aware.

Walking to the summit (260m) is uphill all the way.  There are plenty of beautiful views you can take in to have a break if needed.  It can also get hot – so have plenty of water, along with some snacks. 

There is also plenty of options for easy walks if a person uses the Vehicle Track around the perimeter of the island.  Once off the vehicle track, the routes are generally quite steep and unsteady.

Wheelchair and Buggie Suitability

Rangitoto is generally not suitable for wheelchairs and Buggies unless you stay on the Vehicle Track. This is a dirt road and gets reasonably close to the summit but a 20 – 30 min walk up stairs and steep hills will still be required to reach the summit.

West Harbour Circuit

West harbour walkway. CopyrWest Harbour is tucked in between Hobsonville Point and Moire Park.  The walk circuit is short and does provide a couple of viewing points east to the city skyline. Start at the Waipareira Walkway at the West Harbour Marina and enjoy a coastal walk meandering in and around many little inlets, passing by wetlands and through native bush. If you are lucky, you may catch glimpses of bush birds like fantails and tui. There’s a nice picnic spot and children’s playground at Luckens Reserve (the swimming beach is below the reserve).

Find our GPS Google Map and further information here.

The tide soaked mangrove forest, provides a buffer between land and sea and is a nursery for fish and a safe haven for the many seabirds that nest there.

It is interesting to see the change in residential housing from mansions to more modest accommodation.

Visitors to Auckland may wish to catch a ferry to West Harbour, do the walk and then stay for lunch at either the cafe or restaurant, before returning to downtown Auckland. At Clearwater Cove you have the option to extend your walk by visiting the West Park Marina to watch the boats come and go.

Dogs – off leash exercise areas within the reserves.

Description: Mainly level paths. Suitable for users of average fitness and mobility.
To see: Clearwater Cove marina, views of Auckland City, Mangrove, native brids
Time: approx. 90 minutes. (about 5.75 kms)
Start: Clearwater Cove Marina, West Harbour MAP

Stay on track…get your detailed guide and map (AW-074 West Harbour Circuit) over at our Walks Store and our Book Store (one of 12 walks featured in our books “Coastal part 2” and “Best of the West“).