Suspension Bridge Loop

These invigorating local walks and hikes are the best way to escape the city and reconnect with nature

As another long weekend looms, those of us choosing not to leave Auckland are inevitably starting to think about what to do with our extra day off. So, instead of hanging around the city, why not make the most of that holiday feeling and take in some fresh air with a gentle walk in nature or if you’re up for it, a more vigorous hike.

Before you embark on a trip, be sure to check the Auckland Council links below, for updates and guidelines.

Suspension Bridge Loop
Distance: 3.5km/1.5 hours
Difficulty: Easy-moderate
Making the most of the unruly forest that is the Hunua Ranges, this scenic stroll will take you on a loop that winds up to a stretching lookout over the Wairoa Reservoir. An ideal early-morning walk that can see you home in time for lunch, it is steep in some places, but nothing too treacherous to note. Be sure to follow instructions to prevent the spread of kauri dieback while undertaking your walk.

Duder Regional Park
Distance: 4.3km / 2.5 hours
Difficulty: Easy
With spectacular 360-degree views taking in the Hauraki coastline, picture book Kiwi farm scenes and serene beaches, this easy walk is a favourite with families and people with photographic aspirations that extend beyond iPhone selfies. Make sure you make a diversion from the Farm Loop along the Whakakaiwhara Pā Walk which winds its way out to Whakaiwhara Point where walkers climb a small mound for photographs that will score the most likes on social media.

Wenderholm Regional Park
Distance: 4.6km/ 1.5 – 2 hours
Difficulty: Easy
This one and half hour loop, nestled between the mouths of the Pūhoi and Waiwera rivers, is a fantastic way to get your body moving if you’ve found yourself particularly sedentary of late. The easy track takes in the pretty gardens of Coudrey House, before offering revealing views of the Te Akeake sand spit and the Puhoi River. The headlands of Mahurangi Harbour can be spied in the north while islands pepper the ocean out to Kawau. Consider it a spectacular and simple starter walk.

Takapuna-Milford Heritage Walk
Distance: 6.2km / 2 hours
Difficulty: Suitable for all fitness levels.
Your first experience getting back to nature here will involve checking the tide times, with this North Shore favourite requiring mid-to-low tide to access beaches and best appreciate the fossil forest. Start at the Takapuna boat ramp on The Promenade and take in the 200-year-old pōhutukawa and the iconic Mon Desir. Then there’s the checklist of White Oaks, Hurstmere Homestead, Algie’s Castle, Mirror House, Firth Cottage, the Giant’s Chair, and the Fossil Forest to keep your eyes occupied while your legs do the hard work.

Tiri Tiri Track, Shakespear Regional Park
Distance: 5km / 2 hours
Difficulty: Easy
Lying right at the tip of the Whangaparaoa Peninsula, this versatile walking and mountain biking trail lies on a wildlife reserve. Leading outdoor enthusiasts across sand dunes, farmland, beaches, camping grounds and a Māori settlement area, the Tiri Tiri track makes for an entirely unique escape. 

Dome Valley Summit Track
Distance: 6km / 3 hours
Difficulty: Moderate-hard
Luring you into a false sense of confidence with its relatively easy beginning, this trail quickly shows walkers its darker side with steep stairs, tricky-to-navigate sections and trip-inducing tree roots. Don’t be discouraged though, because for all the huffing and puffing, the view — a sprawling lookout across a lush kauri grove — is worth it. Be sure to follow instructions to prevent the spread of kauri dieback while undertaking your walk.

Waikōwhai Walkway
Distance: 10km / 4 hours (but you can do smaller sections)
Difficulty: Easy-moderate
A versatile outing, the sprawling Waikōwhai Walkway offers bush trails, beachfront and more. With an extensive map that covers the entire area and the different trails available for download here, Hillsborough’s coastal walkway is an adventure for all.

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