Auckland day walks ranked

There are almost no multi-day walks near Auckland, but thankfully there are many decent day walks, often along spectacular coastlines. Sadly the Waitakere Ranges are almost entirely closed now, to combat Kauri dieback disease, but there are still plenty of good walking opportunities. Here’s how I would rank them.

1. Te Henga Walkway, March 2019, February, March and June 2019
One of the longest walks still available, a rarely flat 20km return from start to end, along the quite spectacular West Coast. I prefer to walk it from the northern Muriwai end from Constable Road rather than from Bethells Beach at the southern end. The road to Murawai is faster and less windy, parking is often easier, and currently the bridge is out at the beginning of the track at Bethells Beach, making for a wet start.

2. Waiheke Island, Te Ara Hura, Onetangi to Ostend, December 2016
Waiheke Island is a walker’s paradise, with the largest network of walking tracks in the Auckland region. Te Ara Hura is a 100km loop of the island, with a few road sections but the majority is along generally well maintained tracks. It can easily be broken into 20km chunks accessible by bus. This is my favourite section, cutting across the middle of the island, and through the wonderful Whakanewha Regional Park.

3. Mount William Walkway, July 2015, December 2018, March 2019
The best hill workout, leading to one of the highest points in the region, the 373m and 376m high neighbouring summits of Mount William and Puketutu. A few kilometres from Pokeno, the track heads steadily up through native bush before emerging to panoramic views and lots of sheep.

4. Hakarimata Walkway, May 2019
A brilliant recent discovery for me, stretching the definition of Auckland walks as it is behind Huntly in the Waikato, but it can be reached in about an hour. There’s a shorter and very popular 1,300 step track direct to the summit, but I much preferred the enjoyably challenging track to the summit from Parker Road, past some huge Kauri trees. The best views are not far from Parker Road though, looking back down the Waikato River.

5. Waikōwhai Walkway, February 2018
A quite incredible and surprisingly little known track given that it is in central Auckland. It follows the coastline of the Manukau Harbour from Onehunga to Lynfield Cove, a decent 20km return walk from either end. At low time there are a few shortcuts, but expect to get ridiculously muddy shoes in the process.

6. Okura Bush Walkway, November 2013 and April 2015
Frustratingly closed since May 2018 due to Kauri dieback, this was one of the best walks in Auckland. Over 16km return it had native bush, an attractive beach, significant birdlife, a cliff top track, and a historic homestead. Hopefully they’ll be able to upgrade the track relatively soon and reopen the track.

7. Motutapu Island, December 2014
Rangitoto’s neighbour is a lush green island crossed by tracks and home to some impressive WW2 bunkers. Unfortunately it’s not that accessible, keep an eye out for the irregular Fuller ferries taking people over for tree planting, or cross at Islington Bay from Rangitoto.

8. Waiheke Island, Te Ara Hura, Orapiu to Onetangi, September 2016
Another great section of Te Ara Hura, started by catching the Rotoroa Island / Coromandel ferry to the wharf at Orapiu. There’s a bit of road walking involved, but the off road sections make it worthwhile, exploring the quieter and hillier eastern side of the island.

9. Waiheke Island, Te Ara Hura around Mataitai, February 2017
Logistically the easiest section of Te Ara Hura, just walk in a big loop from the main Waiheke ferry terminal, much of which hugs the coastline. Anyone who has been to the Waiheke sculpture trail will have walked part of this, just continue on for stunning coastal views.

10. North Shore Coastal Walk, June 2015
The North Shore Coastal Walk follows the beautiful coastline for 23km from Devonport up to Long Bay. I walked it from Mairangi Bay to Long Bay, catching a bus back to where I started. It’s a stunning part of Auckland, and a very pleasant walk along varied beaches and over the joining headlands.

11. Tiritiri Matangi, February 2015
A stunningly beautiful island, even by the high standards of the Hauraki Gulf. The main reason people come here is to see native birds on this pest free island, or to moor their boats, but there are good walking opportunities along the many tracks that cross the island.

12. Rangitoto circuit, August 2016
One of the icons of Auckland, this 600 year old volcano is a constant presence on the horizon in the Hauraki Gulf. The 260m summit provides wonderful views of the harbour and city, while the flat but scenic tracks around half the island make for a good circuit.

13. Rakino Island, January 2016
Barely known by land lovers, and only accessible by ferry three days a week or by your own boat, Rakino is like a mini-Waiheke Island. It’s not huge but there’s enough tracks and paths to make for an enjoyable day out exploring.

14. Puhinui Reserve, December 2016
One of the easiest walks here but you’ll probably have the place to yourself. unless you visit in December during the annual Puhinui International Three Day Horse Jumping Event. Close to Auckland Airport, there are lovely coastal views and significant amounts of wildlife.

15. Chelsea Estate Heritage Park to Kauri Point Centennial Park, March 2015, February 2016
One of the shorter walks here, but no less scenic, with wonderful views back toward the city. It’s also super central, at the southern end of the North Shore.

16. Rotoroa Island, March 2015
Another lovely island in the Hauraki Gulf, also pest free and home to an interesting museum, baches to hire, and some artwork. It’s not a big island but there are six tracks to explore, covering the whole island.

17. Goldie Bush Walkway and Mokoroa Falls Track, August 2016
One of the best known walks in the Waitekere Ranges but one that didn’t do much for me. The falls are attractive but the track is very easy and the bush much like the rest of the area. It’s a pleasant stroll more than a hike.

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