Tag Archives: Views

Clevedon Reserve – Stairway to Heaven

The walk to the Clevedon Reserve lookout, known as the Stairway to Heaven, was suggested to us by some of my wife’s work colleagues and what a great surprise. Large kauri, Kahikatea, Puriri and Puka trees grace the slopes and make for an impressive bush canopy. Plenty of birdlife is enjoyed, as is the view across the Auckland City in the distance and the Hunua Ranges to the East. Adding to the value of this amazing walk is exploring the quaint Clevedon Village.

Be aware that this walk is uphill to the lookout and then downhill back to the start – there is very little flat and hundreds of stairs – the new wooden stairs on the northern section of the track are exceptionally well made and well spaced, making it a more comfortable climb. We completed the walk anti-clockwise, suggested to us by our local guide – very good advice.

Take some time to view some of the tree specimens. Our friend and guide took the time to point out some of his special trees – there really are some unique and fascinating specimens.

Walk Time60 – 75 mins
SurfaceWooden Stairs, gravel, dirt
Difficulty 3 – steep and stairs requires reasonable fitness and stability
Buggies/WheelchairsNot suitable except for the short walk to the quarry
Dog FriendlyYes – welcome on leash
FacilitiesToilets, Picnic tables, Parking, Kauri dieback cleaning station, confidence course, Burma trail,
HighlightsHuge native trees, views, birdlife, quarry environment

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

Clevedon Reserve Loop Walkway

A fantastic walk and one for the whole family. The native bush is fantastic and quite unique with large kauri being the highlight. This bush also benefits from relatively spaced undergrowth (for NZ bush), enabling you to enjoy the uniqueness of each large specimen.

Drive through Clevedon and turn left into Thorpes Quarry Rd and drive to the end, where you will find the carpark. Next to the carpark is the local scout hall, toilets and confidence course. Head beyond the scout hall and to the bridge that takes you across the Tataia Stream, a pretty waterway that joins into the Wairoa River before heading all the way to the sea between Duder and Waitawa Parks. Presently there is Kauri Dieback cleaning stations to disinfect your shoes.

Once across the bridge, continue on the track straight ahead to complete the loop walk in an anti-clockwise direction. This enables you to enjoy the new stairs on the way up the hill and take in the more original track on the downhill return. The stairs are very impressive, built to keep foot traffic off the path to protect the kauri and other large trees. You will climb 30 – 40 minutes up and up until you reach the lookout at the top of the hill. From here, enjoy the 360 degree views that take in the Clevedon Plains, Hunua Ranges, Hauraki Gulf, Waitakere Rangers and Auckland City.

We completed the return journey by continuing on the loop, offering more magnificent bush and trees on your descent. You’ll notice a couple of large kauri not far from the path, very impressive specimens.

Once at the base of the hill again, you will be at a junction – it is worth turning left and taking the short walk (5 minutes) to the quarry. This is amazingly beautiful and has picnic tables for your enjoyment.

This is a really enjoyable walk that should be added to your list of walks to do that are unique and a little ‘out-of-the-way’. We hope you enjoy it as much as we did.

Buggies and Wheelchairs

This walk is not suitable for buggies or wheelchairs with the majority of this track being stairs or relatively steep terrain.

Buggies and Wheelchairs could be used for the short walk to the quarry.

Stairway to Heaven Elevation Chart

Clevedon Reserve Elevation 2
Clevedon Reserve Elevation

Useful Links

Clevedon Scenic Reserve Information

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 Mountain: historic & spectacular

Mangere Mountain and Domain are one of Aucklands true gems to explore. It is full of spectalular views of Aucklands Harbours and City, as well as many geological and history highlights.  Our recommended route requires a good level of fitness as the loop encounters a range of steep slopes and uneven terrain.  There is a good pathway to the summit on a braod track suitable for buggies if you walk the route clockwise, however this is only out & back and misses many interesting features of this mountain. 
Landscape view of Auckland from Mangere Mountain
Views of Auckland from Mangere Mountain
Walk Time60 – 90 mins – 2.92km (yellow)
SurfaceGravel or Grass Tracks
Difficulty3/5 – some steep sections
Buggies/Wheelchairs3/5 – the summit track is hilly but gradual if
sticking to the main route and only completing
the out & back walkway. The walkway to the
Mangere Education Centre includes a lot of stairs.
FacilitiesToilets, Seats, Football Fields, Playground,
Skatepark
HighlightsCity Views, Harbour Views, Craters,
Maori 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 Mangere Mountain Printable Map

Mangere Mountain Tracks Description

Mangere Mountain ranks as one of the most amazing places to explore in Auckland.  It is full of surprises – three craters, fantastic 360-degree views, football & softball fields, playground and plenty of historic  Maori heritage.  Allow an hour or two to explore this volcanic mountain, plus additional time for the Mangere Education Centre if you are able.

Mangere Mountain Trig
Mangere Mountain Peaks

We commenced our walk at the carpark near the soccer clubrooms and headed through the nearby gate.   Our route takes us anti-clockwise on the eastern edge of the main crater and towards the playground.  We then join the trail towards the Mangere Education Centre – well worth the walk.  You will experience aspects of Maori history and heritage along this walkway.

Maori Terracing and Palisades

Now its time to climb!  If you have good fitness and are up for narrower and bumpy terrain continue on our recommended route by following the yellow trail on the Google Map.  If you have a buggie or want something a bit less challenging, head clockwise up the main trail to the summit.

Mangere Mountain grass track to summit
Mangere Mountain Track to Knoll

Our route passes adjacent to the second crater (the 3rd crater was quarried and is where the Soccer Fields and Education Centre are now situated).  The views South and East and to the North as you climb will have you clicking your cameras.  Continue upwards towards the upper rim of the main crater – the track is a little narrow and steep in places and can be a bit slippery in the wet – but worth the walk.  Take in the sights at first high knoll plus the Trig for stunning views of Auckland.

As you venture around the rim you will pass numerous large kumera pits and other significant Maori heritage.    It is worth following our recommended high route instead of the wider track back to the carpark.

To extend your walk you can also consider returning via the lower track that circumnavigates the mountain.  It is a narrow but pleasant track through the grass but contains few noticeable special features that demand your attention. 

Buggies and Wheelchairs

The Mangere Mountain Domain contains some wide unsealed tracks that are suitable for ‘off-road’ buggies.  These include the initial part of the Mangere Education Trail and the Trig Track walking in the clockwise direction.

Wheelchairs and standard strollers would be a challenge but with a strong person pushing might be okay.

Mangere Mountain Domain Elevation
Mangere Mountain Domain Walkways Elevation

Other useful Links:

Mangere Mountain Education Centre

Geological Information

Auckland Council Mangere Mountain Restoration Article

Mangere Bridge Website with current local news

West Harbour Loop

Have  a picnic with a view to Auckland City
Have a picnic with a view of  the Harbour & Auckland City
Starting by the West Harbour Marina, the West Harbour Loop walk is fully paved, winds through wonderful bush and provides stunning views over the water back to Auckland city.  There are a range of facilities at Luckens Reserve to make this walk more comfortable.

This is a walk to add to your list!
Walk Time60 – 75 mins – 4.5km (yellow)
Surface99% Paved
Difficulty2/5 – some steep sections
Buggies/Wheelchairs3/5 – Steep around & past Luckens Reserve
FacilitiesPlayground, Tpilets, Water, BBQ, Tables, Seats
HighlightsViews, Coastal, Native Bush, Park

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

Download a pdf version of the West Harbour Loop Map

West Harbour Loop Track Description

This is a lovely coastal track that makes its way from the West Harbour Marina alongside the harbour and through Luckens Reserve.  

The track could be walked out and back along the coast or use our suggested loop.  The loop is about 4.5km and takes just over an hour.  It could be shortened by looping back through Luckens Reserve. 

The track is paved 99% of the way and does not contain any stairs.  There are some steep sections around Luckens Reserve and through to the turn-around.

There are seats periodically placed along the walk for a nice resting spot.

Luckens reserve is excellent with lovely gently large sloped grass areas, children’s playground, toilets, drinking fountain and plenty of parking.

Buggies and Wheelchairs

The track is paved 99% of the way and does not contain any stairs.  It is suitable for buggies and wheelchairs, although parts before Luckens Reserve and beyond Luckens Reserve to the turnaround are very steep and probably too difficult for wheelchairs. Lighter buggies with a fit ‘pusher’ should be ok – although in wet conditions it may become dangerous.

West Harbour Loop Elevation Map – note the steep sections up to Luckens Reserve and then to the turn around point.

Other useful Links:

West Harbour Circuit Information

West Harbour Circuit Brochure

Luckens Reserve and Beach Information

5 Cool walks in auckland

This weather is looking stunning this Auckland Anniversary Weekend and here are 5 walks we suggest you could try that are both spectacular and nice and cool! Walk these tracks in the shade of some magnificent NZ native bush.

1. Albany Trig Track

Albany Trig Track Waterfall
Tranquility in the bush by the waterfall

The Albany Trig Track is a stunning loop walk with plenty of splendid NZ native bush. The walk culminates in reaching the Trig and along the walk provides plenty of views around northern Auckland.

Click here for a track description and Google Map of the walk

A couple of other closeby walks that also wind through stunning NZ bush are Albany Totara Walkway and the Torbay Rata Track

2. Point View Reserve

Point View Reserve Trig
Stunning Views can be seen from the Trig

Point View Reserve has beautiful NZ bush and some of the best views in Auckland. This is a steep walk with plenty of stairs, so does require a certain level of fitness.

Click here for a track description and Google Map of the walk

Another nearby track that I run often is the
Mangemangeroa Valley Walkway.

3. Moire Park

This bush walk is out west and skirts the football grounds and stream. There are wonderful views back towards the Auckland Harbour Bridge and an excellent children’s playground.

Click for a more detailed description of this walk.

4. Awaruku Bush Reserve

650 year old kahikatea tree in Awaruku Bush Reserve
Giant 650 year old kahikatea tree

This is a lovely walk and one that holds a sentimental place in my heart – it was my father-in-laws first track he helped to build and he has helped to maintain it for the past 45 years. The track includes a 650 year old Kahikatea Tree, a waterfall when it rains and glow worms at night!

Click this link for more information and the Google Map

Long Bay Reserve also has plenty of tracks in the bush. I currently do not have a Google Map of this – should hopefully be loaded soon!

5. Dingle Dell

This is a beautiful bush walk nestled in among Auckland’s leafy St. Heliers. Complete a circuit via the St. Heliers Beach waterfront and enjoy a nice cold ice cream!

Click here for a further track description.