We’re blessed to live in such a beautiful city; 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.
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.
Te Henga Walkway
With all due respect to the other contenders on this list, the Te Henga Walkway takes the cake for the most stunning walk in Auckland. The clifftop walk extends 8km from Bethells Beach to south of Muriwai Beach and is part of the Hillary Trail, which connects a numbers of tracks in the Waitakere Ranges. The spectacular views of Auckland’s wild west coast will give you goosebumps and bring a tear to your eye.
The walk takes four hours… but that’s just one way! If you plan on returning to your car you’re gonna need a decent supply of scroggin to fuel you. And, while the writer of this article managed to hitchhike back to their car, The Urban List does not guarantee this as a reliable (and safe) option. Maybe get Mum to pick you up instead.
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!
Listen up, yoga-posing enthusiasts! This one’s for you. The Kitekite Track showcases the natural beauty of the Waitakere Ranges—we’re talking waterfalls, streams, native bush and maybe even a tui or two.
The track follows a stream to the impressive Kitekite Falls. Here, the waterfall provides the perfect backdrop for your oh-so Instagramable vrksasana pose. It’s also a great place to cool off during the summer months.
The walk is short and sweet. It covers a distance of 1.8km and will take you about 45 minutes. Make a day of it and spend the afternoon lazing on nearby Piha Beach.
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.
Hunua Falls Cossey Massey Loop Track
Well, the Waitaks are cool and stuff, let’s not forget about the equally spectacular Hunua Ranges southeast of Auckland Central. Park up at Hunua Falls and combine the Cossey Gorge Track with the Massey Track to form an 8.3km loop walk.
Bring your camera because not only is this one of Auckland’s best walks, it’s also one of the prettiest! There’s plenty to marvel at on the three-hour route. Think dense native forest, sparkling waters and impressive kauri trees.
The gravel track is steep in places and involves wading across a stream, so leave your crisp new Nikes at home. Finish your walk with a picnic under the 28-metre waterfall and laze the afternoon away.
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.
Lake Wainamu Track
You’re going to want your ’kini for this Auckland walk—it’s also one of the city’s best swimming spots!
Park up at the Bethells Road car park (by the Waiti Stream) and embark on a walk to Lake Wainamu. The first part of the track follows the shallow stream until it reaches the lakeshore. Alternatively, you can attempt to shortcut over the dunes—just prepare yourself for sand-filled shoes!
From the lake, you can do a loop track to the Wainamu Falls. From start to finish, the walk takes roughly two hours. Allow extra time for a swim in the lake or the waterfall’s swimming holes.
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