While Auckland grows increasingly more cosmopolitan, each summer brings new precincts to discover and explore. Here are our seven picks for destination wandering.
Tāwharanui Ecology Path, Tāwharanui Regional Park
It’s hard to beat this park’s glorious white-sand beaches and crystal-clear waves. Anchor Bay, where the ecology path begins, is a crowd-pleaser, or perhaps try one of the smaller beaches on the northern coastline.
Before your swim, work up a light sweat on this gentle bush trail. Keep an eye out for the eight rare takahē that often graze near the information site at Sanctuary Hut.
Te Ara Tahuna / Ōrewa Estuary Path, Ōrewa
This 7.6 km loop track is wide, mainly flat and sealed, making it suitable for all fitness levels. It’s excellent for people new to cycling, or riding with children on bikes or scooters.
Start at the Western Reserve, so you can visit the Estuary Arts Centre and cafe. Pick up a coffee or take in some culture while the kids enjoy ripping up the Ōrewa Skatepark. The path features carved pou (poles) which reference the estuary’s past as a food-gathering place for Māori.
Ōtara Path, Ōtara
Start your Ōtara visit at the town centre, checking out the Ōtara Kai Village, a residents-led initiative offering events, plus pitstops such as a cafe, kai store, boutique and markets. Next, cross the road to Otamariki Park to shoot some hoops at the outdoor basketball court or let the kids try out the new playground.
Here you can start the 8km Ōtara Path, which follows the route of Ōtara Creek. The path traverses a colourful new pedestrian bridge that doubles as a piece of public art.
Waimahia Path, Manurewa
The real feature of this 45-minute coastal stroll is the fabulous playground at the start. Themed around the gathering of kaimoana (seafood), it lets kids of all ages run, jump, climb the large rope climbing frame, dig in the sandpit and enjoy water play. There’s also outdoor exercise equipment for adults.
Tāmaki Path, Panmure
Enjoy the wide-open spaces of the Tāmaki River and Maungarei / Mount Wellington on this 7.2km path, which features a playground, barbecues and picnic spots.You can enter from Dunkirk Reserve in the south or Wai-O-Taiki Nature Reserve. At nearby Point England Reserve, catch a glimpse of grazing cattle and horses.
Exhibition Drive Path, Scenic Drive, Titirangi
Originally a tramway used for laying a pipeline from the Upper Nihotupu Dam, then later widened to road width, this Waitākere Ranges bush track is perfect for walking, running and cycling, with great views over the Manukau Harbour and Lower Nihotupu Reservoir.
Te Ara Manawa / Hobsonville Point Path, Hobsonville
Remnants of the old Air Force base make Hobsonville Point a fascinating place for a walk. Take in the harbour views as you follow the path through the mangroves.
Look for the old rifle range (now an amphitheatre), the old munitions depot buildings, and two awesome playgrounds. One, at Harrier Point Park, includes a stunning 10m-high pied-shag sculpture that doubles as a kids’ slide and viewing platform.
Finish your visit at one of the eateries and bars filling the old hangars near the ferry terminal.
Blaze your own trail
You don’t have to restrict yourself to our path picks.
Head to aklpaths.co.nz and use the handy filter tool to find paths in areas you want to walk or cycle.
This lets you customise features of the path, such as wheelchair accessibility. You can even look for paths that include, for example, off-leash dog parks or basketball courts.