For many families, one of the silver linings of the 2020 lockdowns, was the opportunity to rediscover a shared love of cycling. For weeks at a time, the roads were empty of cars, and it was the perfect time for young and old to get out together on bikes, exploring the local neighbourhood while getting some much-needed fresh air and exercise.
Now that summer is here, Auckland is a great city to explore by bike. With over 300kms of cycle paths, there are so many places to enjoy a family-friendly ride.
Here are our top picks for places to go where the whole family can ride in safety:
Te Atatū-to-City Path
Starting on the Northwestern Path by Te Atatū Road, this path goes under the overbridge and onto the shared path alongside the Northwestern Motorway. Pedal to your heart’s content and enjoy the views of the Whau River, Motu Manawa / Pollen Island Marine Reserve, Rangitoto Island and the Harbour Bridge.
Just before Pt Chevalier, next to the Unitec campus, you’ll reach the Rainbow Path – a great place to stop for a photo and congratulate yourself for reaching the halfway mark. Or just before Unitec, a small detour to the right will take you to the Waterview park with its playground, pump track and skate park.
When you reach Upper Queen Street, cruise along the pink Te Ara i Whiti / Lightpath and admire the Auckland city skyline, before continuing to downtown on the dedicated cycle lane on Nelson Street. To go even further, continue on to Tāmaki Drive and ride all the way to St Heliers, or hang a left and cruise the Westhaven promenade to the harbour bridge
Following Te Auaunga (Oakley Creek), this path winds past playgrounds, parks, a waterfall, iconic bridges, skate parks and a basketball court.
The path is wide and sealed all the way. You'll pass across multi-coloured bridges with great photo opportunities. Suitable for a family ride, scootering or just walking, this path offers a range of different things to do and see.
At the Waterview park end there is a terrific playground with water play, pump track and skate bowl, and a heritage walk down the mouth of Te Auaunga.
Towards the southern end, you can cross SH20 on one of the iconic bridges and venture into the Walmsley/Underwood path which is made for people to explore and enjoy with many adventures to explore.
Pakuranga Rotary Path
Flat and paved, with some sections of boardwalk, this path makes for a great ride around the Tāmaki Estuary. Stretching from Prince Regent Drive in Farm Cove to the Panmure Bridge, there are gorgeous coastal views, as well as scenic spots for a pit stop or picnic, and the amazing Snakes and Ladders playground.
About an hour from town, there’s a huge network of mountain bike trails – for beginners as well as advanced riders – with amazing scenery, jumps, fast off-camber corners, tight sections and great swimming holes. Before and after your ride, use the bike-cleaning stations, to protect the forest from kauri dieback.
One of Auckland's most popular destinations for mountain bikers, with tracks for all abilities and bike hire if you don’t have your own wheels. To blow off some steam midweek, head out on a Wednesday night, when the gates are open until 9pm.
Grey Lynn Pump Track
Grab the kids and get biking on this asphalt pump track, with heaps of twists, turns and jumps that are perfect for BMX and mountain bikes and skateboards. It’s great for all ability levels, but if you’re a beginner, it pays to get there early to beat the crowds.
Looking for more places to go?
If you are looking for more places to ride check out Auckland Transport’s series of feature ride maps using Auckland’s shared paths, cycleways and quiet roads.
Ride maps can be:
- downloaded from the AT website
- Picked up from an AT service centre or stockist
- Or AT can post one to you
Need to upskill? Try one of AT’s free Kids Learn to Ride Courses
Learning to ride a two-wheeler is one of those big childhood milestones and being part of that experience as a parent or caregiver is a thrill.
If you are wondering how to get started, or experiencing a few bumps along the way then check out our free Kids Learn to Ride sessions. AT's team of qualified instructors help to increase confidence and bike handling skills, plus offer simple steps and tips for parents to get kids riding.
Whether starting on a balance bike or making the transition to pedals, these courses will teach kids aged 2-8 years old how to ride a bike and get them started on their cycling journey.
Course times can be found here.
To help parents practice at home, there is a series of videos and a Kids Learn to Ride resource booklet filled with loads of useful tips and tricks on the AT website.
Need to upskill as a parent?
If you’re lacking the confidence to ride with your kids, or did not have that opportunity to learn when you were young, Auckland transport also run a range of free Adult bike skills courses.
Find out more at AT.govt.nz/cyclingevents