Trail running adventure on the Manukau Harbour coastal trails

Last Updated : 17 Dec 2019
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View from Manukau Domain

Steering clear of the Waitakere Ranges due to kauri dieback track closures, a group of west Auckland trail runners is exploring the network of coastal trails around Manukau Harbour.

Faced with the prospect of driving some distance out to scenic trails, or pounding the pavements and shared paths of their local area, the group is now hitting the trails between Green Bay in the west and Taumanu Reserve at Onehunga Beach in the east.

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The footing on their new route is a combination of trail, road, boardwalks and steep stairs.

It’s a case of toughing out the climbs, hanging in there on the descents and being prepared to take a few urban detours; it also offers magical views, some joyous trail experiences through regenerating forest, sections of wetlands boardwalk and across mudflats.

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Running on mudflats

The group highly recommends it as either as a fun challenge or an option for serious runners to introduce hill work and stairs into a training program in an interesting unexplored destination.


The route you will take depends on the tide, and there are some great shortcuts to be had when the tide is at its lower stages, but be prepared to get your shoes muddy. A topo map (which can be accessed on a smartphone app such as iHike) is a great way to safely navigate the combination of street and trails. 

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Waikowhai Recreation Reserve

This group started in Green Bay Reserve and finished at Onehunga Beach – a one-way total of around 16.5km (for 460 vertical metres) that took about 2.25 hours plus stops. You can make it longer by adding on more sections, or shorter by starting anywhere on the route

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Seashore between Waikowhai Reserve & Hillsborough

The Lynfield to Onehunga section is called the Wattle Bay Loop and a map of this with information on low tide options can be found here [PDF].

Protect our kauri trees

You can find out more about track closures due to kauri dieback on the Auckland Council website.

Keep our kauri standing

Kauri dieback in Auckland is a serious problem and it’s important we all play our part to prevent the spread of the disease.

If you enter or leave a forest/area with native trees anywhere across the region, here are three easy steps you need to remember:

  • Scrub– clean all soil off your footwear and gear.
  • Spray– your footwear and gear with disinfectant at every cleaning station you encounter. Kauri dieback can be spread by just a pinhead of soil.
  • Stay– on track and off kauri roots.

Always check the Auckland Council kauri webpage before going for a walk to find out what tracks are currently closed. 

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