Luckily for families in Auckland, Tāmaki Makaurau is packed with awesome outdoor adventures and some of the best day walks that are perfect for children and friendly on the wallet. If you’re planning a day walk with the family this weekend, read on for some our favourite family-friendly day walks in the City of Sails.
Find Walks Near You With Plan My Walk
Plan My Walk is the best way to discover local trails and quickly see if they’re the right fit for your family.
It’s a free tool developed by New Zealand Mountain Safety Council and has the country’s largest database of public walks. It also has trail descriptions like how long and difficult a walk is, filters to find buggy-friendly and dog-friendly walks, track alerts, customisable packing lists, weather forecasts, real reviews from other walkers, and an easy-to-use plan builder to keep you safe on your outdoor adventures.
Five of the Best Day Walks in Auckland for Families
Maungauika/North Head Historic Walk, Devonport
If you’re based in the city, a quick ferry ride to Devonport makes for an exciting adventure. A short walk around the Devonport waterfront will lead you to the base of Maungauika/North Head Historic Walk.
There are several loops you can choose from, all about one kilometre long, or you can drive to the top carpark and walk around the summit to soak in the stunning panoramic views.
Maungauika/North Head also has a military history, so there are heaps of tunnels, guns and defences that kids can explore – take a torch to make the most of it!
Cossey-Massey Loop Walk, Hunua Ranges Regional Park
For the family craving an adventure in nature, the Cossey-Massey Loop Walk is a go-to. The gravel track is a good challenge with some steep sections, leading out to enjoy beautiful views, impressive native forest, parking waters and giant kauri trees along the way.
Combine the Cossey Gorge Track with the Massey Track to create this rewarding loop walk – a favourite of visitors to the Hunua Ranges.
Rangitoto Summit Track, Rangitoto Island
Rangitoto Island is only a twenty-five minute ferry ride from Queens Wharf, yet it feels like a different world as soon as you step off the boat.
The summit track is a well-formed path and takes you through ancient lava fields and the largest pōhutukawa forest in the world. A fun game is trying to spot the dozens of shore, sea and forest birds that reside on the island.
The summit track is seven kilometres and takes about two hours return. There are also options for shorter walks, or if you’re looking for something longer, the Rangitoto Coastal Loop Track takes you past old quarry sites, the Yankee Wharf which was built during World War II, and Islington Bay which is arguably the best spot for swimming and picnics on the island.
As this is an island, it’s important to think ahead and pack everything you might need. Check out the packing list on Plan My Walk before you set off.
Mercer Bay Loop Walk, Waitākere
Perfect for the family is this stunning coastal track above Piha Beach, the Mercer Bay Loop Walk. This family-friendly loop walk is full of great coastal and bush views, with many lookout points along the way.
Best walked clockwise, the path leads the restored Comans Tracks, to KareKare beach, and to a pā site before taking in the view at a lookout platform. NOTE: keep to the track as this track is an important area for Te Kawerau a Maki.
Long Bay Coastal Walk, Long Bay Regional Park
Clifftop views of Hauraki Gulf? Sign us up! The seven-kilometre Long Bay Regional Park Coastal Walk takes you from Long Bay Beach to the mouth of Okura River.
If you time your trip for low tide, you can return around the shoreline to spot endangered shorebirds and check out the Long Bay Okura Marine Reserve. If you walk back around the coastline, make sure everyone is wearing footwear with good grips and be careful of slippery rocks. Don’t forget to pack togs and a towel!
What to Pack for Day Walk with Your Family
Even if it’s a short walk, it’s important to be prepared and pack the necessities.
The Plan My Walk app has suggested packing lists you can customise for your family, so you don’t get midway through a walk and realise you’ve forgotten the sunscreen or arguably worse, the snacks! What you need for each walk will depend on how long you’re going for, and what the track is like, but you should always take the following:
- Rain jacket – yes, even if it’s sunny! You never know what might happen, especially in Auckland
- A warm layer
- Warm hat and gloves
- Sturdy footwear
- Sun protection
- First aid kit
Find Even More Auckland Walks
Narrowing down this list was hard work!
These are just a few of our favourite walks in Auckland, but there are so many other incredible trails to explore with your family.
Check out Plan My Walk or download the app to find a walk near you this summer. It’s completely free to use and was developed to help you plan safe and successful outdoor adventures. Happy walking!
When visiting areas with healthy kauri trees, please make sure you follow instructions to help reduce the spread of kauri dieback.