The Ōrākei ward has many beautiful natural spaces that are well worth checking out this summer. It’s easy to find a walk, track or trail close to home that provides a green refuge from the urban jungle.
Ōrākei Local Board chair Kit Parkinson says it’s a priority for the board to restore, enhance and improve access to the bays, waterways and bush areas in the ward.
“We love working alongside our community to achieve this and it’s very rewarding to see people enjoying the results. We see ourselves as guardians of our natural spaces recognising that they’re all interlinked along with the well-being of our community,” he says.
These five reserves are among the most impressive in the ward.
Tahuna Torea Nature Reserve
Rich in Māori history as well as native birds, Glendowie’s Tahuna Torea Nature Reserve is 25ha of wildlife sited on a long sandbank extending into the Tamaki Estuary. Bush tracks, beach and lagoon walks feature on the 1.5-hour trail. The best time to bird-watch is November to March.
Kepa Bush Reserve
Tucked behind the Eastridge Shopping Centre, Kepa Bush Reserve is a hidden gem that spreads over 13.6ha. Walk for 30 minutes over tracks providing views of native bush, three volcanoes (Maungakiekie, Ōhinerau and Maungawhau) and the Ōrākei Basin. You can even take your dog on-leash. Look out for the glow-worms!
St Johns Bush
St Johns Bush showcases New Zealand native bush to visitors without having to drive for ages. See stunning native trees and bush, a wetland area home to rare native kokopu and a mighty 150 year old Kauri tree. Keep your pooch on the leash for this 30 minute walk. Include the Apirana St Johns Loop and Saint Johns Explorer for a longer trek.
Much-loved by locals, Waiatarua Reserve in Meadowbank features New Zealand’s biggest urban wetland restoration project and is considered by many to be Auckland’s best dog park. The trail around the reserve is just over 3kms and takes around 30 minutes to complete. Bird-watchers look for the numerous native species including Spur-winged Plovers, White-faced Herons, Black Shags and Pied Stilts.
Dingle Dell Reserve
A network of tracks through Dingle Dell Reserve in St Heliers provides access to a green haven supporting birdlife and regenerating bush with streams and open grassy spaces perfect for picnics. Take some friends and the dog on-leash to explore over 1.6km worth of pathways through what was once described by the NZ Herald as the “forgotten Cinderella” of Auckland's parks.
Discover, explore and experience
Check out Auckland Council’s Akl Paths website to discover more places to explore around the Ōrākei ward and wider Auckland.