Great summertime walks

CITY VIEWS: Admire the Sky Tower and harbour bridge from a westerly perspective on the Te Atatu Peninsula walkway.
CITY VIEWS: Admire the Sky Tower and harbour bridge from a westerly perspective on the Te Atatu Peninsula walkway.

Auckland has some great walkways hidden away in the suburbs. Catherine Healy investigates some easy options that make a great summer outing.

Harbourview and Te Atatu Peninsula walkways

Length: 3km or more.

Time: 30 mins or more, depending how far you want to go.

Dog-friendly: Yes, but on-leash only. Lots of birds including the rare fernbird live here.

Other facilities: Benches, picnic tables, information boards, toilet, playground.

From the northwestern motorway, head down the peninsula and take a right at the first roundabout.

Park here and head down the gravel walkway. It's a 1.6km walk to the Harbourview Beach Reserve. Here you can watch the kite boarders and view of the harbour bridge and Rangitoto. Turn back here if you want just a 3km walk.

If you venture past the car park and toilet and go up the access road you will find a pathway leading off to the right, which you can follow right around the peninsula. We walked as far as the playground in Spinnaker Reserve (end of Beach Rd) which was a 3.5km walk, or 7km return.

If you've never been out this way you'll enjoy this wee piece of paradise.

Orakei Basin Boardwalk Length: 2.88km.

Time: Around 40 minutes.

Dog-friendly: Yes, mostly on-leash.

Other facilities: Benches with water views.

This walk is well worth driving across town for.

The boardwalk runs beside the train line, right across the basin, giving you the feeling of walking on water as you gawk at the enormous houses on the hill.

Most of this walk is flat and there are a couple of sections of bush to enjoy, as well as glimpses of beautiful homes with gardens that stretch almost to the water's edge.

Start at Orakei Rd, opposite the garden centre and take the path that heads off to the left and across the basin. Going the opposite direction means climbing a long flight of stairs at Lucerne Rd.

There are grassy areas near the boat ramp that are great for dogs to run around on. The garden centre has a cafe if you're peckish afterwards.

Te Ara Tahuna Estuary walk, Orewa Length: 7.5km.

Time: 1 hours to complete the loop at a moderate pace.

Dog-friendly: Yes, on leash.

Other facilities: Carved bench seats with great views.

A top spot for a bike ride with the kids, this path is shared between cyclists and pedestrians. You do need to keep your wits about you and walk on the left, but it is mostly wide, smooth and flat with some lovely viewpoints over the estuary. It's a loop walk so you can park in any side streets and begin and end where you please.

The western end of the loop that meets up with Millwater Parkway is the only unpaved section. It has a chip seal surface and a slight hill. Auckland Transport has an excellent map of this walkway on its website.

Make a day trip of it and incorporate Orewa's beautiful beach and a cafe or two into your plans.

Rotary Walkway, Pakuranga Length: 11km return.

Time: Around 2 hours return, at a brisk pace.

Dog-friendly: Yes, mostly on-leash.

Other facilities: Benches, information boards, toilet, playground.

This walkway is in excellent condition and offers views across the estuary to Glendowie and Glen Innes. You could push a stroller along most of it with no trouble and cyclists are welcome. It's pretty flat and with no roads to cross so it's ideal for a family bike ride.

There are plenty of places to stop and take in the view from a bench seat and we loved the Snakes & Ladders playground near the Pakuranga Sailing Club.

Like any walk that wends its way along a coastline, this one can be very windy one minute, baking hot the next. Check the wind direction and take a light jacket, water bottle and sunscreen.

We parked next to the scout den on Pigeon Mountain Rd and crossed the road to the start of the walkway. This first section is the only part that's a little rough. Once you meet up with the water it's a smooth pathway all the way to Pakuranga, where you could pop across to the mall for some food.

Western Leader