For locals with the summer to explore the Auckland region there are numerous opportunities to find a dune lake, a mature native forest, a Victorian landscaped park.
For visitors the Auckland region offers a chance to explore wild Auckland, natural places hidden in plain sight. Whether your stay is a few days or several weeks let’s get you out and about into the upper North Island’s natural environment.
Parnell Rose Gardens to Judges Bay
- Historic Parnell Baths open in summer
- Judges Bay picnic
- Exploration of St Stephens Chapel and adjoining cemetery
- Parnell Rose garden an explosion of colour and scent – summer blooms
- Visitors get to stretch their legs, explore Auckland’s origins and perhaps pop into the nearby Parnell shopping precinct with its upmarket designer stores.
Start at the information plaque in the Rose Gardens, drop down the hill following the signs for the Judges Bay walk. Check out Parnell Baths and Judges Bay and climb the adjacent hill to view St Stephens Chapel with its glorious views of Point Resolution. The walk has plaques describing Maori and European sites. The cemetery is one of the earliest in Auckland with its grid pattern of residents. Enjoy the extensive views of the Waitematā Harbour.
- Length: 2 km
- Duration: 40 mins – 1 hour
NOTE: Includes steep steps
- Pah Homestead gallery and cafe are temptingly close
- Sweeping views of Maungakiekie One Tree Hill and Mangere Mountain
- Victorian designed landscape with trees as the dominant feature
- A great family spring / summer destination
- Visitors have the pleasure of one of Aotearoa NZ’s finest kiwi focused art galleries situated in Pah Homestead to linger in. (Entrance by donation (koha)
- Length: 1 km of boardwalk thru wetland
- Duration: 30 minutes
Mature cedars and Moreton Bay figs make for spectacular shady spots for picnic. Together with planted native species the park is an oasis in an urban setting with space aplenty for frisbee and cricket games. The park grounds are over 15 hectares.
- Auckland Botanic Gardens cafe and grounds
- Totara Park swimming pool and playgrounds
- Stream Forest Trail has plant identification plaques
- Great day trip for families
The walk embraces large mature native trees and bush, park grounds of Totara Park and the cultivated landscapes of a premier botanical garden. Make this an Auckland day trip with a picnic next to the ponds.
- An exploration of Aotearoa NZ pre-European heritage pa sites, look for defensive rampants
- Geology enthusiastics explore volcanic cones and scorcia outcrops.
- The ancient volcano is home to a living community. The Mangere Mountain Education Centre provides guided walks over the mountain plus traditional gardens and a unique range of workshops and experiences.
- Relax in local nearby cafes
A genuine experience understanding human occupation reaching back thousands of years with the locals who call the area home. Check the Visitor Centre Mangere for details.
The strategic advantages of this site are documented by Māori; this place was a battlefield well before Europeans and muskets and the physical evidence is earth defences (a ditch and raised earth bank) as well as many storage pits. For geology buffs there is the spectacular volcanic cone where your imagination can vividly recreate the forces that created the landscape you are standing on.
- Kayaking does not have to compete with powered boats
- Nature reserve for aquatic birds such as bittern, pukeko and dabchick
- Spend a day exploring the natural world
The Lake Rototoa Scenic Reserve contains one of several dune lakes on the south Kaipara Peninsula and is accessible from Ototoa Road and Donahue’s Road. It is a popular fishing spot and the site is used for triathlons and outdoor education. Dune lakes rely entirely on rainwater creating a water sports retreat. Lake Rototoa is the largest freshwater lake in the Auckland area. There are marked walking tracks around the lake.
How to get there check out Lake Ototoa Scenic Reserve.
Travel Pack Information
The journey is worth it.