Five walks that'll make you see Auckland differently

Maraetai coastal walk at sunrise.
Maraetai coastal walk at sunrise. Photo credit: Helen Wenley.

With Auckland Council's decision to close the forested area of the Waitakere Ranges to stop the spread of kauri dieback, you may be on the lookout for new places to stretch your legs on the weekend.

When I first began researching this story, I was surprised by how many walking and tramping groups there are in Auckland.

One person that stood out was Helen Wenley, who not only spends a lot of time walking, but also blogs her walking experiences to help new walkers put their first foot in the right direction.

Helen said she found it hard to narrow down to just five walks, given she has around 100 favourites just in the Auckland area.

But she's managed to rank her top five in order of length rather than experience.

Wattle Downs (8.7km)

This walk will take you to the edge of the Manukau Harbour, which is not usually noted for its beauty, but can be very picturesque and peaceful on a good day.

Even though suburbia isn't far away, just concentrate on the wetlands and the birdlife and you'll feel like you're a million miles out of the city.

Maraetai (7.5km)

Maraetai is a destination in itself. You can take a picnic and relax on the beach, or pop into a waterfront cafe for brunch.

The walk begins in native bush and then follows the coastline with breath-taking views across the Hauraki Gulf. It's a great spot to watch all of the sailing action on the water.

Bayview Giant Kauri (5.8km)

This pocket of native bush tucked away in the middle of a quiet Auckland suburb features a giant kauri. As if that's not enough for you to get your hiking boots on, if you're lucky you'll be greeted by the sounds of tui birds singing their hearts out.

A bonus is views across Auckland Harbour to Hobsonville Point. This walk goes through two reserves and is family friendly.

Le Roys Bush (approx. 5km)

Auckland Harbour Bridge from Le Roys Bush.
Photo credit: Helen Wenley.

Auckland is so fortunate to have pockets of native bush thriving in our city environment. If you're quiet, as well as the native bird life, you'll hear running water as it makes it way downhill through the native trees.

This walk goes through two reserves, both with different species of trees and bush. As these reserves contain Kauri trees, be sure to clean your footwear and keep dogs on leash.

Mangere Mountain (3.69km)

Mangere Mountain.
Mangere Mountain is a walk that can be done year round.

This is a great walk to do throughout the year and starts off in the character village of Mangere Bridge. The gentle walk upwards reveals a stunning 360-degree view from the raw mountain top.

It's amazing how far you can see. It's worth just sitting for a while to take it all in and imagine how it must have been before the Europeans arrived.

Helen Wenley's full back catalogue of walking reviews and maps can be found on the Walks in Auckland website.