Local Escapes

17 Stunning Walks In Auckland To Take At Least Once

By Alice Rich
21st Oct 2021

Overlooking picturesque cliff-meets-ocean edge from Te Henga.

Walking is one of the best ways to make the most of the City of Sails. It gets you moving, raises your heart rate, and there are some seriously stunning routes on offer. Plus, it's a tonic to the frenetic pace of everyday life. 

So grab some sturdy shoes, make use of the kauri dieback wash stations and get amongst the beautiful coastlines, stunning waterfalls, urban strolls and native bush.

Here are the best walks in Auckland.

Te Henga 

WAITAKERE RANGES | 10.3KM | 3 HOURS 20MINS ONE WAY

One of the only walks still open in the Waitakere Ranges (the rest are closed until further notice due to kauri dieback), the Te Henga cliff top walk from Bethells Beach to Muriwai delivers glorious views of Auckland’s wild west coast. Parts of the trail are steep so leave your jandals at home. 

Update: The coastal cliff section of Te Henga is currently closed due to slips. Check DOC's website for the latest info before you set off. 

Auckland’s Own Ring Of Fire

Varies

More than fifty volcanoes make up Auckland City and every cone makes for a great walk. Highlights include Maungawhau/Mt Eden, Te Kopuke/Mt Saint John, Mangere Mountain, Maungauika/North Head, Puketapapa/Mount Roskill, Takarunga/Mt Victoria, Te Tatum a Riukiuta/Three Kings and Maunakiekie/One Tree Hill. Tackle them one by one or link a bunch together for an epic trek. 

Rangitoto Summit Track 

Rangitoto Island | 7km | 2 hours return 

Speaking of our Ring of Fire, your volcanic scavenger hunt wouldn’t be complete without summiting Rangitoto. On your way up you’ll be treated to lava fields and the world’s largest pōhutukawa forest before arriving at the top to enjoy panoramic views of the Tāmaki Makaurau and the Hauraki Gulf. 

Te Ara Hura

WAIHEKE | 100KM | VARIES 

Technically a network of walks, Te Ara Hura, showcases everything we love about Waiheke Island. Made up of four main areas—‘headlands’, ‘beaches ‘n’ baches’, ‘forest heart’ and ‘far end’—the tracks are well signposted and have loads of entry points so you can dip in and out (and into a top-notch vineyard) as you like.

Car tracks disappearing off into the mist along the black sands of a beach. Karioitahi Beach  

Waiuku | ~35km one way | varies

For a walk that feels like you've been transported to a different world chuck on your (old) sneakers, fill your pockets with snacks, grab a friend and catch up while you walk the black sands of Karioitahi. If the wind gets up, this can turn wild pretty quickly so be prepared and book in at the Bersantai Day Spa at nearby Castaways Resort for some well-deserved rest and relaxation. 

Puhoi Track

Puhoi | 5.8km | 2 hours

This old ridge track is part of Te Araroa (a trek from Cape Reinga to Bluff). Starting at Remiger Road, you’ll cross a swing bridge and climb through pines to a ridge track before descending through farmland. The Puhoi Track ends at the Puhoi Domain which is conveniently close to the Puhoi Pub, or you can nip up the road—via car—to the Puhoi Valley Cheese Factory to knock back a celebratory cheese board. Cheers to that! 

Tāwharanui Ecology Trail

Tāwharanui Peninsula | 3.3km return | 1.5 hours

This enchanting bush trail is a bird lover’s dream, with the bonus of simply gorgeous sea views. Once you’ve had a gander, go for a snorkel at Anchor Bay, stroll along the beautiful white sands of Tāwharanui Beach or plant some trees with the Tāwharanui Open Sanctuary Society

Duder Regional Park 

WHAKAKAIWHARA PENINSULA | VARIES

Get your fill of rolling hills and spectacular sea views at Duder Regional Park. Whether you pick the coastal perimeter track or inner loop you’re sure to have an enjoyable stroll. Visit in spring to witness lambs taking their first steps in this world. 

Open grass dotted with sheep during early sunset. Ambury Regional Farm Park 

Māngere Bridge | varies 

Nestled into the bend of the Manukau Harbour is Ambury Park, a wonderland for cotton ball sheep, adorable pigs, astonishing peacocks and more—literally the best Auckland walk for animal lovers. The walk is more of a wander where you can pick your own pace and track. There are BBQs, drinking fountains, bathrooms, live shearing sessions, and picnic tables on-site, so you can set up camp for a full day of farm life.

Westhaven Promenade Loop

WEST HAVEN MARINA | 7KM | 1.5-2 HOURS

Starting at the foot of the Harbour Bridge end of the Westhaven Marina, follow the wooden boardwalk for seaside views of the Waitematā Harbour, Herne Bay and Cox’s Bay, marvelling at the luxury yachts along the way. The walk finishes at Point Erin Park. From here you have the choice of heading to Point Erin Pools for a quick dip to cool down (in the summer), or head through Victoria Park to Albert Street, the Viaduct and Wynyard Quarter to complete the loop. 

Aotea Track

GREAT BARRIER ISLAND | 25KM | 2-3 DAYS

While Great Barrier island is home to many awe-inspiring nature walks, Aotea Track, named after the Māori name for the island, is a must if you’ve got a couple of days to spare. Highlights include a vintage tramline operated by the Kauri Timber Company back in 1925, summiting Mt Hobson (627m) and enjoying a well-earned soak in the Kaitoke Hot Springs. 

Massey-Cossey Loop Track

HUNUA RANGES | 8.3KM | 3 HOURS

This loop track will get your heart pumping with a fair amount of stairs. You’ll then follow the bush track to a lookout point before descending to the Cossey Dam where things get real in summer—how low are those water levels? This is Auckland’s water shortage up close and personal. Once you’ve finished the track, enjoy a picnic in front of the Hunua Falls. Don’t forget to snap an iconic photo in the golden frame before you leave. 

Tāmaki Drive Coastal Path

TĀMAKI DRIVE | 9.5KM ONE WAY | 2 HOURS

If you’re after sparkling seas from the suburbs to the city (and back again, if you’re feeling particularly athletic), a stroll along Tāmaki Drive will hit the spot. The flat walkway is shared with cyclists and rollerbladers and featured landmarks en route include Mission Bay Beach, Bastion Point and Ōrākei Domain. Keep your eyes peeled for wetsuit-clad marine mammal medics saving faux whales—these beaches are a favourite training spot for local animal rescue charity Project Jonah

Footprints on a white sand beach with several figures in the background. North Shore Coastal Walk

Varies | 22.3km | 6-7 hours 

The Northern Beaches are some of the most picturesque places in Auckland City and on the North Shore Coastal Walk you get to enjoy every one of them. Starting at Long Bay you’ll follow the coastline—sometimes along sand, sometimes along roads—all the way to Devonport. With stops at Torbay, Browns Bay, Rothesay Bay, Murrays Bay, Mairangi Bay, Campbell’s Bay, Castor Bay, Milford and Takapuna you can tailor the length of the walk to your liking (you can even start further north. If you do choose the full day, finish this hike in style by catching a ferry across the gulf and into the heart of Auckland CBD. Magic.

Ōrākei Basin Walkway

Ōrākei | 4km | 1 hour 

Catch a train from Britomart and you’ll be at Ōrākei Basin in no time. Fascinatingly, this tidal lagoon is the result of a volcanic eruption 85,000 years ago. Circumnavigate the huge body of water via the boardwalk, plus the optional side route through tree-lined streets of Meadowbank and Remuera, finishing with a delicious, healthy victory snack from Bowl & Arrow

Western Springs Lakeside Park 

WESTERN SPRINGS |1.75KM | 25MINS

If you’re looking for a relaxing stroll, Western Springs is the spot. Start at the car park off Great North Road. From there, wander around the freshwater lake where you’ll see familiar native faces like pukeko, teal and shovelers. The final must-see at Western Springs is the Fukoaka Garden—a tranquil Japanese garden and tea pavilion open to the public 10am-5:30pm daily. 

Coast To Coast Walkway

Waitematā to Manukau | 16km | 4 hours 

Ever wanted to attempt to cross the width of the country by foot in one day? The Coast To Coast Walkway does just that, crossing through the Auckland Domain, Albert Park, Newmarket shops, Mt Eden, Cornwall Park and One Tree Hill. Plus, you’ll gain bragging rights of crossing the entire city by foot in such a short amount of time. 

Prefer to relax on a beach? Check out the best beaches in Auckland

Image credit: Alice Rich

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