Auckland’s Coast To Coast Walkway: From Waitemata Harbour To Manukau Harbour

Visitors to Auckland could very easily spend all their time in and around the central business district. Always up for a challenge, John and I decided to get out a bit more. Way out.

Viaduct Harbour is a busy entertainment precinct and was the start of our journey.

The 16km Coast to Coast walkway took us on a natural and historic journey across this city and past five volcanic sites. One of the first things you notice about Auckland is how hilly it is, these hills actually being the cones of dormant or extinct volcanoes. We were excited to check out some of these sites and also to see another side of Auckland.

Auckland's Albert Park was once a volcano.

The walkway is somewhat easy to follow, with yellow or blue signs (depending on your direction) marking the way across the city. Beginning at the Viaduct Harbour, we enjoyed a beautiful view of the Waitemata Harbour. The Viaduct Harbour is a very popular area with restaurants, cafes, shopping and residential apartments.

We were welcomed into the Auckland Domain by this beautiful path.

The path then snakes through the downtown area to Albert Park. This is the most well-preserved Victorian Park in the city and was formerly the site of the Maori village, Rangipuke. It is also a small volcano, though you would never know this from looking at it. Home to several memorials and statues, the park is also a former military site and has a network of sealed tunnels beneath it that date back to World War II.

Happy ducks and rainbows at the Auckland Domain duck ponds.

Following the walkway next took us through The Domain, Auckland’s oldest park. Its 75 hectares house beautiful gardens, paths, duck ponds and an arboretum, with vast green spaces for sports and relaxation. The Auckland Museum towers over this space, built in memory of the veterans of World War I.

The Auckland Domain has lush green areas for recreation. The Skytower dominates the skyline in the background.

The Auckland Museum features cultural, military and natural exhibits.

We continued on to Maungawhau, which is also known as Mt. Eden. It was enjoyable to pass through neighbourhoods and see lovely houses along the way, which became a hallmark of the walk; it really gets you out into Auckland’s suburbs and where the city’s residents live and spend their time.

Not the best day for views from Mt Eden, Auckland's highest volcano.

Visitors descend into the crater of Mt. Eden. We skipped that experience.

As we reached the base of the mountain, it began to rain. After a soaking climb to the top, we shivered under the eve of a lookout platform until it stopped. At 196 metres, Mt. Eden is the highest volcano in the city. From the summit you can view the crater or walk down into it. We skipped the latter since it was so wet and slippery.

A handsome fountain dominates this area of Cornwall Park.

Sheep graze in the terraced grassland of One Tree Hill Domain.

On we went down the mountain and across a school campus and Melville Park to reach Cornwall Park. These were the first steps onto the grounds of One Tree Hill Domain, which is the burial ground of one of the first European settlers of New Zealand, Sir John Logan Campbell. This is a striking property and was filled with families enjoying picnics and barbecues two days after Christmas. Called Maungakiekie, One Tree Hill is a 183 metre volcano with three craters and was at one time home to 5,000 people. It is Auckland’s second largest volcano.

We took a shortcut to the summit of One Tree Hill.

Crowds gather at the One Tree Hill obelisk on a public holiday.

We climbed the hill up to the Acacia Cottage, the oldest wooden house in Auckland. On the way we stopped to look at some sheep behind a fence. Both cattle and sheep graze in the parkland here and it was fun to see them in a major metropolitan area.

Enjoying our time on One Tree Hill

At this point we were starving and hoped to have a meal at the Cornwall Park Restaurant, which was closed because of the observed Christmas holiday. After a brief stop in the visitor centre, we pressed on up the terraced hills to the obelisk at the summit. It was packed with visitors so we stuck to the grassed area around the lookout point and took some photos.

Visitors to One Tree Hill form words and symbols in the rocks within a crater.

And then it was down the last hill to another residential area. The final park on the tour was a small one named Jellicoe Park. Lovely as it was, we were completely exhausted by this point, having walked and climbed for about six hours. We finished the hike, however, reaching the Manukau Harbour foreshore.

The last park on our Coast to Coast walk

Apologies for being anticlimactic, but there really was nothing to see here. The end of the signposted walkway is at one end of Beachcroft Avenue facing an estuary and we only saw some people walking and dogs frolicking in the water there. Turning left takes you to a light-industrial area with not even a fish and chips shop for your efforts. Luckily we found an open pet supply store and the kind woman at the counter directed us to the bus station of Onehunga, which is actually a nice little suburb with a main street and several shops and cafes. Being a public holiday, nothing was open and a bus ride back to the downtown area ended our day. Our recommendation is to either finish the walk at the shopping strip after the One Tree Hill playground or turn left onto Church Street to Onehunga if you have a reason to visit there. Buses and trains are available from Onehunga to take hikers back to the beginning.

Learn more about Auckland's Coast to Coast Walkway

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Auckland is a beautiful l city. I was there for two weeks in November and enjoyed every moment. Hope visit again…


Lovely photos! I often think that the best way to explore a city is on foot – I usually don’t feel like I know my way around until I’ve walked a place. 🙂

LOVE all these photos!! I’ve only been to Auckland once for one evening. It was beautiful and the food delicious, but your photos make me want to go back and wander to my heart’s content. 🙂

It is nice, definitely worth a few days. Bring your walking shoes though – so many hills and sights are spread out!

Gorgeous photos and narrative of your walk. I’ve now put Auckland on the must-visit list. Nice to see you both on One Tree Hill!

Thanks, Cathy! =)

Wow– great photos! You saw a lot of beautiful things along your walk. Wouldn’t have thought of Auckland but the hills, the grazing sheep and the rock names make it seem so tranquil and country-esque!

Thanks, it was pretty chill for such a big city. Outside Auckland is even more peaceful…

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