We’re blessed to live in such a beautiful city and it’d be rude not to experience all Auckland has to offer. Say adios to the treadmill and opt for a more scenic route this weekend. Featuring beautiful coastlines, stunning waterfalls and native bush, we promise these walks will bring you delight and feed your soul—they’re the best hikes and walks in Auckland.
Kauri is critically important to New Zealand’s ecosystem and it is increasingly vulnerable. Kauri dieback has become a serious issue that we need to be educating ourselves on and here at The Urban List we encourage all our readers to confirm that the walks you’re doing aren’t going to do any damage to our beautiful environment. With certain tracks closed we will try our hardest to stay up to date and hope you will do the same—it’s important that we come together to help protect our sacred New Zealand kauri forest. In particular, it is important to note that the Waitakere Ranges have a rahui (exlusion zone) across the entire park and we recommend that this is respected and you do not visit them. We have removed all references to walks and hikes in the Waitakere Ranges from this list. Click here to find out about kauri dieback and about how you can help and do your part!
Rangitoto Island Summit Walk
Sitting proudly in the Hauraki Gulf, Rangitoto Island is one of Auckland’s 53 volcanoes. And, if the last time you climbed Rangitoto was on Year 12 school camp, it’s time you got back there. If is, after all, one of the best (and most famous!) walks in Auckland.
The shortest and most popular route to the summit takes an hour. Make sure you take the slight detour to check out the island’s breathtaking lava caves (BYO torch and/or iPhone flashlight). Wear decent shoes because you don’t want to ass-up on volcano terrain. Not that we’re speaking from experience or anything…
The island is just a 25-minute ferry ride across the Waitemata Harbour with ferries running from downtown Auckland and Devonport daily.
Coast To Coast Walkway
This walk gives you major bragging rights—you can claim you walked from one side of New Zealand to the other in a day #nobigdeal. The urban hike leads 16km from downtown Auckland’s Waitemata Harbour to the Manukau Harbour. The walkway passes through five volcanic sites (just casually), suburban streets, and places of Maori and colonial history.
The walk will take you about five hours but you’re gonna want to stop for lunch at one of the numerous cafes along the way. Alternatively, pack a picnic and enjoy a bite to eat on the grassy slopes of Mount Eden or One Tree Hill. Yep, you can’t call yourself a true Aucklander until you’ve ticked this walk off your bucket list—it’s one of the best walks in Auckland!
North Shore Coastal Walk
This one’s a North Shore must-do! The North Shore Coastal Walk begins at Long Bay Beach and weaves 23km through the beaches and suburbs of the Shore to Devonport. If you’ve got a spare seven hours, do the whole trail. Or if you’re after a casual Sunday stroll, do a shorter section of the route.
Pack your bikini because the white sandy beaches are pretty enticing on a hot summer’s day! May we also suggest you pop into Takapuna Beach Cafe for one of their irresistible gelatos? Get a double scoop of chocolate honeycomb and salted caramel—trust us on this one. Alternatively, their deconstructed hot chocolates are equally epic on chillier days.
Tamaki Drive Walk
Take in the beauty of Auckland’s Waitemata Harbour with this popular coastal walk. Tamaki Drive curves 10km along the waterfront from downtown Auckland to St Heliers Bay. Feast your eyes on the harbour or gaze enviously at the mansions lining the cliff tops and beaches of Orakei, Mission Bay and Kohimarama.
The walk takes about two-and-a-half hours but allow time to stop for a coffee at one of the many great cafes overlooking the water. If the sun’s shining there’s an unwritten rule that you have to grab a cheeky ice cream from Movenpick in Mission Bay. Go on, you deserve it.
While this one is technically more of a park than a walking track, Cornwall Park is one of the nicest spots for a leisurely walk in Auckland. The park and the neighbouring One Tree Hill Domain form the largest area of parkland in Auckland Central.
Get up close and personal with the grazing sheep and cattle—the entire park is open to foot access! Walk to the top of One Tree Hill to enjoy 360-degree views of wider Auckland.
Once you’ve work up an appetite, have a well-deserved brunch at Cornwall Park Cafe. The bustling cafe has a mouthwatering breakfast menu and their deconstructed hot chocolate is a must-try for every Aucklander.
Located on the Western shores of the Firth of Thames, Tapapkanga Regional Park is one of Auckland’s most beautiful walking spots—and also home to Splore music festival.
There’s a range of walking tracks for you to embark on, each marked with coloured posts. From the main car park, our pick is the orange farm walk. The 5.9km track takes you through open pastures (anyone for a Sound Of Music rendition?) where sheep and cattle graze. Loop back along the shoreline and you’ve had an afternoon worth Instagramming about.
Make a weekend of it and set up ya tent at one of the park’s three campgrounds. Lush native forest, pohutukawa-lined beach and bubbling stream...things don’t get much more tranquil than this!
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Image credit: Kellie Blizard