Devonport to Ngataringa. Walk along the esplanades and parades of Devonport with the view across the Gulf and to the skyline of the city and beyond. Take the time to admire the beautifully kept Victorian style homes. Followed by the sounds of birds as you walk alongside Ngataringa Park. Read more :Devonport Ngataringa Loop
The Coromandel and Bay of Plenty area has many fine documented walks, and brochures are available from various information sites including Katikati, Waihi and Whangamata.
Easter 2013 our small group did three walks:
Wentworth Falls (near Whangamata) follows the stream to the lookout and top of the Falls. It is a steady climb through native bush. Well worth the effort.
Read more: Wentworth Valley Walk
Karangahake Gorge (between Paeroa and Waihi) is an interesting place to explore. There are the remains of the historic gold mining industrial town amidst the native bush. There are many walking track options and there is now a new cycleway. Be sure to take a strong torch to explore the tunnels.
Read more: Karangahake Gorge Historic Walkway
The Bird Walk: Uretara Estuary & Yeoman Walkway at Katikati, follows the estuary out to the Bay. It is a flat walk and if you a keen birdwatcher, take along your binoculars and you will have the opportunity to observe shore birds in the estuary and the wetlands. The walk continues past the wetlands along the front of residential homes.
Learn more: Bird Walk: the Uretara Estuary & Yeoman Walkway
Easter 2014: This time we did a loop walk around Whangamata taking in the estuary, the river, the marina and the famous surf beach.
When children are age 5 or 6, they may be ready to get out walking to discover things to do in Auckland that are low-cost and fun.
What age do you start walking with children? You can get out and about with very young children in pushchairs and backpacks, but at some stage they will want to start stretching their legs and do their own walking. My general advice is from ages 5 or 6. But it does depend on your child, their attention span and how much energy they have.
When I lived in England, I went walking with my husband-to-be and his friend Tony and Tony’s daughter Joanna. Joanna must have been about 3 or 4 years old. It was May and the bluebells were out and it was a beautiful spring day. Joanna walked about 10kms that day and only asked to be carried for a short while. I was amazed at the stamina of the wee girl. For this child, she had plenty of energy and a long attention span (and possibly a working imagination too).
When my son was about 8 our family went out on walks and he used to be the one out front – it was hard to keep up especially as his little sister was only 4. We also had to be aware where he was, so that he did not get too far ahead and lost. The ways to overcome that problem is to a) have an adult accompanying the child, or following at a short distance b) provide the child with a whistle to blow if they get post c) if they are obedient, tell them to wait when they come to another path.
Think carefully when choosing the walk. Here is a list of questions to ask yourself before you make your plans:
Does it have something that will interest your child and keep them motivated?
Are they happy to wait until the end for a playground? Or would they like a playground at mid-point? (Here is a list of fun playgrounds from the NZ Herald). Auckland Council looks after more than 900 playgrounds, many of which are new or recently upgraded – list of top 10 here. Join a Facebook group – Auckland Playground Guide.
Would they like to play in the sand at the beach so that they can have a rest?
Are they adventurous and would enjoy exploring tunnels with torches?
Would they like a ride on a mini-train at the end of the walk?
Would like to go with a friend or they are happy to keep company with your pet dog?
Do they have the stamina to walk up hills and steps?
Would a visit to a museum be an enticement to a walk?
When you start off with short walks try to pack a picnic or carry healthy snacks (such as nuts, dried fruit and low GI health bars) and water with you to keep the “hungries” away. Be sure to have hats and sun block handy on sunny days. Pack raincoats for those cloudy days,and wool hats for colder days. And of course, make sure the walking shoes are comfortable (and be prepared for blisters).
The book “We’re Going on a Bear Hunt’ by Michael Rosen is fun to read and to play along with when out walking.
Here is the video:
Look for places near your home where you could start to encourage your children to love walking. In Auckland there are many walking options and as they get older they will enjoy longer walks and new places to visit. You could do weekend hikes up in the hills of the Waitakeres, or go further afield and camp out. Giving your children a taste of the outdoors at an early age gives them an appreciation of their own capabilities and a love of nature.
Make the walk a fun adventure and your children (and you) will have many happy memories.
As much as I enjoy going for walks in Auckland, it is also refreshing to head out of town.
Our family has a holiday house on the south-east coast of the Coromandel Peninsula. The Coromandel is mostly an unspoilt part of New Zealand with beautiful beaches, many walk paths and natural bush. I love going there to relax and refresh myself.
It is only a two hour drive for us from Auckland via Paeoroa and the Karangahake Gorge. Two places that are worth stopping at. The Gorge has interesting walks and mining tunnels that are fun to explore with torches.
You can choose from a variety of walks in the Coromandel region, no matter where you stay. There is a great uphill walk (that I suggest you do on a cool day) to the Wentworth Falls near Whangamata that I enjoy. And another walk for cool days is around the Martha Mine in the gold mining town of Waihi – I like to go around that anti-clockwise. From the northern end of Waihi Beach is a track that leads to the spectacular secluded beach of Orokawa Bay with the typical pohutukawa trees providing shade at the edge of the sand.
In the future I will be putting together some family day trips from Auckland that will include interesting places to visit.
One of my favorite walks in Auckland is North Head and Devonport. There are many things to do and see in Devonport Village and the views from North Head are magnificent.
Catching the ferry across from the city adds to the experience. This brings back memories for me when my children were little and we caught the ferry to Devonport, they played in the playground and we followed that with take-away fish and chips eaten at the beach. As they got older they enjoyed visiting the shops especially the second-hand books shops. When we walked around North Head we missed out on seeing the many tunnels and gun placements because we did not know they were there. Our self-guides take you around North Head so that you do not miss out on the fun bits.
When Grace and I set out for Devonport this morning we did not realize that the Wine and Food Festival was today. It started at 1pm so it was fortunate that we did not leave the walk until the afternoon.
It is a glorious summer day and we wished we had brought our swimming togs to join others in the sparkling water at Cheltenham Beach. However, we were there to check out my walking directions and to take photos – and we did succeed doing that and had fun too.
If you do head out to North Head be sure to bring a torch with you to explore the tunnels and batteries. And your camera to capture the wonderful views overlooking the Hauraki Gulf.
We discovered the newly opened (October 2010) Torpedo Bay Museum and cafe at the base of North Head. Entry to the Museum is free and there are guided tours. The cafe sits in a great location overlooking the water with no traffic to hinder the prime view.
Description: A mix of level paths, steep paths and 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: Volcano, tunnels, military defenses. Wonderful views of Rangitoto, Hauraki Gulf and Auckland City. Be sure to bring a torch to explore the tunnels.
Time: approx. 60 minutes.
Start: In Devonport Village near ferry terminal or along King Edward Parade. MAP