3 best places in Auckland for walks, what to do and see
Why choose this walk?
Cornwall Park has wide open spaces galore for families and individuals to relax, refresh and revive in Cornwall Park. A half day in the park is an antidote after the long haul flight to New Zealand or perhaps you are isolated in your home. Visit Cornwall Park and enjoy the vistas and space.
Getting there from Auckland CDB
The park distance from Auckland centre is 8.5km. If you are using a taxi / uber get your ride to drop you at the visitor centre. You can walk either further up the hill to ‘one tree hill,’ the highest point for the view or make your way slowly through the park.
The visitor centre specialises in Auckland based activities with a wealth of brochures, pamphlets, and information sheets to guide visitors.
What to see and do in Cornwall Park
- Brisk hill climb up One Tree Hill to observe panoramic views of Auckland
- Stroll through mature trees and parkland to observe New Zealanders walking the dog, jogging or indulging in a BBQ perhaps you will see a bride & groom
- Observe farm animals in an urban setting
- Savour a coffee in the park cafes
- Check out the visitor information centre
- Take a peek at the historic Acacia cottage situated opposite the visitor centre
- Simply collapse and rest on the many seats or on the mowed lawn
Within the park is a working farm. City dwellers have an opportunity to see the backbone of the New Zealand economy on its four legs. The cow and sheep are iconic New Zealand symbols. New Zealand does not have large wild animals rather it is inhabited by large domesticated cows and sheep. Millions of them in the last count. And both animals are often part of the visitor experience.
Tourists and locals alike flock to the park to observe, stare, take selfies and watch sheep and cows do their continual munching on the grass. In spring the calves and lambs provide a cuteness factor to the pastoral scene.
Climbing to the peak of Old Tree Hill
Maungakiekie / One Tree Hill is a 182-metre (597 ft) volcanic peak in Auckland, New Zealand. Volcanic activity traces are still evident with the classic craters and scoria rocks which are scattered throughout the park hillsides. The obelisk was erected for the city’s centenary celebrations in 1940. It is a well known Auckland landmark.
Jogging and fitness exercises
Paths through trees or jogging across mowed lawn is encouraged. There are also cyclists in the park. Public toilets do not have shower facilities.
Food and feast
Cornwall Park has a casual cafe, roadside stalls and a fine dining restaurant. As well there are numerous BBQ designated areas where fires can be lit.
Public parks and people
Parks are people watching sites and Cornwall Park is no different. It is a popular area for the Asian tourist wedding backdrop. A honeymoon in New Zealand with photo opportunities in the park against a background of munching cows makes Cornwall Park a favourite Instagram spot.
Why choose Mangere Bridge?
Mangere Bridge (from Onehunga) to Mangere Ihumatao Foreshore.
You have an opportunity for city dwellers to view nature and the immense variety of bird life in New Zealand without leaving the city. Nature is at our doorstep as well walk in the footsteps of human activity going back 800 years or more.
- Bird watch alert
- Where migratory birds are in their thousands
Catch the AT Auckland city train network link to Onehunga. Stroll through the historic main street of Onehunga, perhaps a stop at the many cafes onto the Mangere Bridge foot access to the foreshore.
NOTE: Currently under restoration however the underpath attached to the motorway is open.
What to see and do at Mangere Bridge
- The restored shell banks and wading birds
- Historic stone gardens of pre-European Maori settlement, known as Otuataua Stonefields
- Ambury Regional Park with its picnic areas
Duration: allow up to 2 hours one way
The Watercare Coastal walkway wanders past the working farm Ambury. There are grassy areas between the animal pastures for children to view the animals.
You will be following a metallised track around the farm and out where it joins the foreshore.
Over 300,000 native trees have been planted as a restoration project, together with flax, grasses and vegetation local to the area.
There are bird hides for the keen bird watchers who frequent the track. The peak of the bird population is March when the birds from the South Island arrive. It is estimated that about quarter of the national bird wading population is present in March.
The track follows the shoreline and detours inland to the Mangere lagoon which features a bird roost in the centre of the lagoon.
You are almost halfway to the Otuataua Stonefields which is a significant historical site for human habitation. Maori stone structures and mounds are arranged in garden borders and walls to reflect and retain the heat for root vegetables, taro and kumara.
The walk does not get a lot of visitors and you will be surrounded by the Auckland harbours, the birds and visit a site of tremendous heritage significance for the Tainui Maori.
Why choose Devenport?
Walk three Devonport is a gem of historic buildings as well as a hub for economic activity in the last hundred years. It’s quaint main street, with its Victorian facades is a photo moment. Then it has a brisk walk along its coast to the summit with its panoramic views of the harbour.
From Auckland CBD board the Devonport Ferry for either a half day or full day exploring Devonport.
Your walk starts as a period promenade from the Windsor Reserve on the sea side of the King Edward Parade.
Buildings and places of note
- Elizabeth Apartments originally built for naval women, now private luxury apartments.
- Devonport Yacht Club, one of the oldest in the country and includes notable New Zealander Sir Peter Blake, winner of the Americas Cup.
- Memorial commemorating Tainui canoes arriving in Waitemata Harbour
- Gothic style Holy Trinity Church
- Old Power Station has been converted into apartments. At this point you could climb Flagstaff Lane to the top of Mount Victoria
- Mt Cambrai Reserve is a good place to rest, picnic and take in the scenery. Across the reserve, paths take down to Devonport Museum
(31 Vauxhall Rd)
The museum is a goldmine of information with local stories, objects supporting the narrative. The Museum is only open in the weekends. Remember to check opening hours if it is a must do activity. The Museum is staffed by volunteers.
Torpedo National Naval Museum
(64 King Edward Parade)
Devonport is a navy town and this is reflected in the history and strong naval influences in the area. The Museum describes its role as, “The National Museum of the Royal New Zealand Navy is the guardian of the Royal New Zealand Navy’s memory. Preserving the Navy’s physical, social and cultural heritage, telling its story and educating New Zealanders both young and old about the role the Navy has played in the development of New Zealand is a crucial responsibility and one that the Navy Museum takes great pride in.”
The Museum is open seven days a week and has guided tours which can be booked upon arrival. Admission is free however donations are encouraged.
The journey is worth it.