Incredible Auckland walks – The best day hikes

The City of Sails is blessed with amazing outdoor spaces – in fact, Auckland walks are world-class. From coastal views to amazing native bush, these amazing hiking trails are just waiting for you to explore.

Whether you plan to walk alone or just want somewhere to take the family or dog, these tracks offer some of the best scenery around and are suitable for most levels of fitness.

Walking is great for one’s mental and physical health. Perhaps you want to walk for relaxation or increase your level of fitness?

These hikes in Auckland are suitable for everyone!

So, check out our recommendations and decide which of these Auckland walks are next on your wish list – and then get out and make it happen.

A man in pink backpack continuously walking along the Mercer Bay Loop Track which is surrounded by shrubs and a few trees with a slight view on the vast oceans.
The Mercer Bay Loop Track is a popular west coast Auckland walk.

Unmissable Auckland Walks

To help you make the most of your next Auckland tramp, we’ve intentionally mixed this list up.

Some of the hikes included are well-known favourites, whilst others you’ve probably never heard of.

Each of them offers something special though and is worth checking out.

Did you know? A number of these walks are dog-friendly. And, if you’re looking for other Auckland activities you can do with your dog, we’ve got you covered there too!

Walks on the islands near Auckland

With so many amazing islands, most of which are easily accessible from Central Auckland, it’s worth hopping on a ferry to explore!

Rangitōtō Island Track and Summit Walk

Rangitōtō is an iconic landmark. It offers some of the best views available in the city.

Home to the world’s largest pōhutukawa forest, it is the perfect place to spend a day hiking while checking out the local birdlife. Best of all, it is only a short ferry ride from Downtown Auckland.

There are a number of tracks there, however, you can expect to spend about an hour walking one way to the summit.

Allow extra time to see the historic baches on the island, explore the lava caves, or even visit the shipwreck site on the island.

The Lighthouse Walk to Mackenzie Bay has a picnic spot where you can go for a swim. It’s a fantastic place to relax for a while whilst on your walk.

The Coastal Track from Rangitōtō Wharf also features old quarries and ruins from mine storage bases used during World War II. This makes it a favourite amongst history buffs.

The ground there is rough and uneven so good footwear is essential and a moderate level of fitness is recommended. Also, be sure to take your own food and water because there are no shops on the island.

No dogs are allowed on Rangitōtō. In addition, as it is a pest-free environment, please ensure there are no rodents, insects, or skinks inside your bags.

You must take all your rubbish, including leftover food with you when you leave.

This iconic Auckland walk really is a must-do!

Stony Batter Historic Reserve – Waiheke Island

Waiheke Island has a number of awesome walks; Stony Batter Historic Reserve being one of them.

The walk along Stony Batter Historic Reserve takes around two hours and is about 4km long. At the top of the walk, you are presented with stunning views of Waiheke Island and the bays in all directions.

A green sloping hill and mountainous landscapes covered in grass and trees near the coasts as seen from Stony Batter Historic Reserve on Waiheke Island.
Stony Batter Historic Reserve on Waiheke Island.

It’s a good place to walk if you’re in a group because of all of the fabulous open spaces and the engaging historic spaces to explore.

Together, you’ll have fun learning about the area’s history – it has one of the largest WWII tunnels and gun placement complexes in Auckland.

Fun fact: The tunnels at Stony Batter Historic Reserve are all hand-tunnelled and it is classified as a Heritage 1 Listed site – a monument of national significance.

Other Fantastic Island Walks

West Auckland

Known for its incredible native bush, rugged beaches, and stunning waterfalls, West Auckland is practically unbeatable when it comes to bush walks!

Te Henga Walkway

There are plenty of dramatic landscapes to see along Te Henga Walkway, from shaded bush to rugged beaches. In fact, this walk is widely considered one of the very best in Auckland!

You’ll have a few tracks available on the Te Henga Walkway. You can take Bethells Road to O’Neill’s Bay, which is around 40 minutes one way. Alternatively, Bethells Road to Raetahinga Point, which takes approximately 1 hour and 20 minutes (and is more suitable for experienced hikers). Another option is Bethells Road to Constable Road (around 3 hours, 20 minutes).

If you walk along Bethells Beach, you will find an awesome cave at low tide!

The Lake Wainamu track also features a waterfall with pools nearby for you to swim in. If you’re taking this track, be warned, it can be quite muddy and slippery.

A round trip on the Te Henga Walkway will take a full day (around six hours) as it covers 20km (10km in each direction).

These tracks require a moderate to advanced level of fitness. The terrain is rough and is slippery when wet and is not suitable for prams, so it’s best not to take young children on this walk.

301 Bethells Road, Waitākere, Muriwai 0781

🚧 The Te Henga Walkway was closed in February 2023 due to storm damage. Check to see if it is open again before planning your visit.

Rocky promontory extending out to the blue sea while the waves crash down on the sandy shores.
Photo by Exploring Auckland member, Kristine Choi.

Ahu Ahu Track to Comans Track Loop

The Ahu Ahu Track to Comans Track Loop has fantastic views of the West Coast. This walk can be combined with the Mercer Bay Loop if you want a longer hike. By itself, Comans Track takes around 2.5 hours to complete.

The walk is moderately challenging but it’s not too strenuous. There are lots of hills but there is a nice shaded area at the end of the track, which is nice to cool down in on a hot summer’s day.

While it’s a great walk for children and dogs, it’s not suitable for prams.

It is a favourite amongst locals and highly recommended.

Karamatura Falls Track

The Karamatura Falls Track is a great option if you are just beginning to get into hiking. The track is about 3.5km long and it is well maintained, making it fairly easy to walk along.

It takes one and a half hours to complete and has a nice spot to eat a packed lunch in. It’s so relaxing!

Karamatura Falls Track is so lovely and picturesque – there are plenty of spots to take photos in. The rocks at the falls are the perfect spot to sit back and enjoy nature.

Huia, Auckland 0604

Karekare Falls Track

The popular Karakare Falls Track is a great place to take your kids, fly a kite or walk the dog as there is plenty of space. It is an easy track to walk so suits people of walking abilities.

It is a short track – in fact, it only takes about 10 minutes to walk. It’s ideal if you’re just getting out of the car for a short stop!

However, if you’d like a more significant hike, it connects with the Ahu Ahu Track to Comans Track Loop. The choice is yours!

The pool at Karekare Falls is fairly shallow and has no large outlet. This makes it a suitable swimming spot for young children and people who are not so confident in the water.

Huia, Karekare 0772

Did you know? Karekare Falls is such a picturesque spot that it was used as a shooting location for the film The Piano. It’s truly world-class scenery.

The Karekare Falls dropping into a large blue pool below.

More West Auckland Walks

South Auckland

South Auckland is a bit of a hidden gem when it comes to awesome hiking. Though it’s not necessarily a part of the region that comes to mind, it really does have a significant number of note-worthy tracks.

Totara Park

Totara Park is a vast open space that is a real favourite among families. You’ll feel like you are in the middle of nowhere in this 216-hectare space.

The trails are easily walkable and the scenery is stunning so it’s the perfect place to escape the rat race for a while.

The Puhinui Stream Walk has over 155 species of trees, such as kauri, tōtara, pūriri and nikau, which you will learn about along the way. It’s a nature lover’s dream!

The track at Tōtara Park is good for biking along, too!

A swimming pool and a tennis court will keep you and your kids entertained whilst exploring the park. It is especially enjoyable in the summertime!

The tracks there are dog-friendly too and have on-and-off leash areas.

If you’re into horse riding, Tōtara Park also has a bridle path. This makes it a favourite amongst many.

Finally, you’ll find the Auckland Botanic Gardens close by – this is a great spot for a picnic after your walk.

Further walks in South Auckland

  • Barry Curtis Park
  • Waikōwhai Park
  • Wattle Bay Reserve
  • Gittos Domain
  • Manukau Foreshore Walkway
  • Duder Regional Park
  • The Hunua Falls

Central Auckland

Heading back towards Central Auckland, you’ll find a number of awesome walks. Each of these offers an oasis in the urban hustle and bustle of our often-busy city.

Te Auaunga (Oakley Creek) Walkway – Mt Roskill

The Te Auaunga Walkway is a great option for people who like urban walkways.

The Te Auaunga Walkway is home to the only waterfall in Central Auckland – it is also the highest urban waterfall in New Zealand.

The creek features both exotic and native flora and fauna. You might even glimpse a rare New Zealand longfin eel while you are out!

The concrete path is quite narrow and has lots of steps, though, so it is not suitable for scooters, bikes or prams. It takes approximately 60 minutes and is well worth the effort.

If you have children or your dog with you, nearby Heron Park has a flying fox for your children to play on and an off-leash area for dogs.

1408 Great North Road, Waterview, Auckland 1026

Mangemangeroa Reserve – St Mary’s Bay

There are diverse landscapes along the Mangemangeroa Reserve walk so you are sure to be entertained! In fact, this track has everything from farmland and estuary to native forest.

It’s a popular place for bird spotting too – you’re likely to see a variety of birds such as pūkeko, kingfisher, oystercatchers and grey warblers. It’s a great place for animal lovers.

This track takes around an hour to complete and is suitable for a moderate fitness level. The path is well-kept and finishes at the beach.

Best of all, there are even glow worms for you to see if you walk along the track at night!

Well-kept, scenic and shady (even during the heat of the summer), what more could you ask for?

108 Somerville Road, Somerville, Auckland 2014

Auckland Foreshore Heritage Walk

One of many heritage walks in Auckland, the Foreshore Heritage Walk shows off historic spots in the City of Sails and shows what the original shoreline was like.

It goes from Point Erin (in Herne Bay) to the Parnell Baths – so it’s fabulous on a hot day when you’ll be able to finish off your walk with a refreshing swim!

This walk takes around three hours. Parts of the walk are quite steep, so a medium level of fitness is required. As an added bonus, there are plenty of restaurants or cafés along the path if you need to rest – perfect for a mid-walk coffee.

St Marys Bay, Auckland 1011

St John’s Path Walk – Meadowbank

Saint John’s Bush Path is a great place for a quiet nature walk, in a central location. The trail is quite easy to walk along and, thanks to its incredible tree cover is cool in the summer.

It’s also ideal if you don’t have much time but still want to get a walk in – the trail only takes 30 minutes or so to complete.

Auckland really is fortunate to have such a great number of fantastic walks in an urban environment.

133 Gowing Drive, Meadowbank, Auckland 1072

Waiatarua Reserve – Meadowbank

The track at Waiatarua Reserve takes about an hour to get around and features New Zealand’s biggest urban wetland development project. There’s an amazing amount of diversity there so it’s never a boring walk.

It’s also a great place to take the dog for a walk as it has a large off-leash area.

98 Abbotts Way, Meadowbank, Auckland 1050

Boxer dog running on green grass in Waiatarua Reserve during a sunny day.
Photo credit: Caitlin Ingleton.

There are lots of birds here too – from spur-winged plovers to herons, shags and pied stilts. The kids will have a fun time spotting them all!

It’s great for other forms of exercise as well. Impressively, Waiatarua Reserve also has a basketball half-court, playground, a skate ramp and some picnic tables.

It’s a fantastic place to spend an afternoon or a weekend.

Auckland Coast To Coast

The Coast To Coast Walk is around 16km long and will take about 4 or 5 hours to complete, depending on your level of fitness. If you want a longer walk, this is a great one to take!

This trek will take you on a tour of Auckland’s key landmarks such as Maungawhau (Mt Eden) and Maungakiekie (One Tree Hill). The track begins in the city and ends at Manukau Harbour.

Once you’ve done the track, you’ll have bragging rights – you walked from one side of the country to the other!

More Central Auckland walks

  • Lovers Walk in Parnell
  • Point England Walk
  • Meola Reef Dog Park – Western Springs
  • Ōrākei Basin
  • Western Park – Freemans Bay

North Auckland

Last but certainly not least, there’s no shortage of worthwhile walking tracks as you head north of the city.

Wenderholm Regional Park

Perched on the side of the coast, Wenderholm is an impressive sight!

There are a number of impressive trails, though our favourite is the Perimeter Track. There, on the longest track at the park, you’ll be surrounded by history.

The walk incorporates pou whenua (carvings) which symbolise the Māori people’s physical and spiritual connection to the land. You’ll also see Maungatauhoro (an ancient battle and burial ground site).

The track also passes the historic Couldrey House – a lovely Victorian/Edwardian home with beautiful gardens. Couldrey House is open most days from 1 – 4 pm and charges a small entry fee (which is definitely worth paying).

This well-marked track takes around two-and-a-half hours to complete. The terrain is varied – there’s lots of climbing and some steep stairs sections, but it’s fairly easy to walk.

In addition to the Perimeter Track, there are several shorter tracks that take anywhere between 20 minutes and an hour and a half to finish.

The park is a superb place for barbecues on a hot summer’s day and campsites as well.

If you want to go for a beer after your walk, the Sugarloaf Pub is only a short distance from Wenderholm’s Schisckha campsite.

37 Schischka Road, Waiwera 0873

North Shore Coastal Walk

If you’re in the mood for a long walk, the North Shore Coast Walk will suit your needs! It takes about 6 – 7 hours to complete (23.3km), showing off some of the best beaches in the country. It’s perfect for those Instagrammable moments!

The walk starts off at Long Bay and ends at Cheltenham Beach.

It’s a good idea to take note of the tides to avoid getting cut off by rising sea water.

If you want to walk the whole way during low tide, you might have to do some wading.

Alternatively, you can break the walk partway and complete it another time.

Be careful if you take the shoreline route, instead of walking along the roads, as the rocks can be slippery and the high sandstone cliffs are sometimes prone to rockfalls.

It’s a fantastic walk though so don’t let that put you off!

Pro tip: The Vauxhall shops near Cheltenham Beach have some fantastic French pastries and ice cream in Auckland for you to eat after your walk. Be sure to stop in.

Map of the 23 kilometer North Shore Coastal Walk showing its elevation.
Map of North Shore Coastal Walk.

Additional recommended walks up North

All of these Auckland walks are packed with amazing scenery and offer something for all levels of difficulty of walking.

Why not look after your well-being on your next day off and hit the trails?

The only problem you’ll have is choosing which walk to take first!

Post by Sarah Ingleton.

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