With 27 regional parks across Tāmaki Makaurau to explore, getting out in nature is a breeze. Here’s our pick of the best half-day hikes across the region.
Nature Track at the Arataki Visitors’ Centre, Scenic Drive, Oratia, Waitakare
The Nature Track, leaving from the Arataki Visitors’ Centre, is under 2km and a perfect starter-hike for younger children to experience nature, identify native plants and take in the majesty of the kauri cathedral in the valley below.
Be sure to stop in at the Visitors’ Centre too, taking in some of the displays inside and the views over the Lower Nihotupu Reservior outside.
Please remember to always use the hygiene stations to clean your footwear and equipment when you enter and leave a kauri forest.
Ahu track, Log Race Road, Piha
For a west coast adventure, head out to the newly upgraded Ahu track between Piha and Karekare. Combine it with the Mercer Bay Loop and Comans Track for a great 5km walk with stunning coastal views.
Be sure to check out the beautiful pou depicting Hinerangi (symbolising the significance of the area to local iwi Te Kawerau a Maki) at Te Āhau Point just north of where Ahu and Comans Tracks connect.
Park Walk, Whakanewha Regional Park, Gordons Road, Waiheke
Get away from the hustle and bustle by heading to Whakanewha Regional Park.
Located on Waiheke Island’s southern coast, walking the Park Walk, at 5km, is a great way to take in all that Whakanewha has to offer. See mature coastal forest, the scenic Cascades stream and waterfall, and amazing views across the Hauraki Gulf to the city.
To extend your time in the park, take a tent and camp overnight at the Poukaraka Campground.
Whakakaiwhara Pā walk, Duder Regional Park, North Road, Clevedon
Down south, consider the Farm Loop and Whakakaiwhara Pā walk combination at Duder Regional Park. The combination is about 6.5km and great for exploring the rolling farmlands and the history of the pōhutukawa-fringed Whakakaiwhara Peninsula. Duder is part of Te Ara Moana Sea Kayaking Trail so you may see kayakers enjoying the coast around the park as you head out to the pā site at the headland.
Oruawharo River Trail, Ātiu Creek Regional Park, Run Road, Tapora
If you are after an adventure further afield, head to Ātiu Creek Regional Park on the Kaipara Harbour near Wellsford.
The Oruawharo River Trail, at a distance of 7.8 km, is a good way to get the heart beating whether you walk or bike it.
Be sure to check out Oweka Tapu pou in its beautiful surrounds overlooking Solomon’s Bay on the Kaipara Harbour.
For the really adventurous, both Duder and Ātiu Creek Regional Parks have orienteering courses with 40 markers each. Look for orienteering brochures at the park noticeboards.