Did you know that you can walk right across New Zealand in just four hours from one coast to the other?
Yes! You can cross the width of New Zealand in just four or five hours from the Tasman Sea to the Pacific Ocean!
The 16 km walk (or bike ride) takes you across the narrowest part of New Zealand, from the Waitemata Harbour, downtown in Auckland city, across to the Manukau Harbour at Onehunga.
The walk gives an excellent overview of Auckland and those important bragging rights to
“I walked right across New Zealand!”
The Auckland Coast to Coast Walk is one small section of the 3000 km Te Araroa Trail which covers walking from Cape Reinga at the tip of the North Island to Bluff at the bottom of the South Island.
In this post:
- Did you know that you can walk right across New Zealand in just four hours from one coast to the other?
- 2 x coasts-2 x stunning parks -2 x volcanic cones
- Let’s get started!
- PRACTICAL TIPS FOR YOUR AUCKLAND COAST TO COAST WALK
- Downtown Auckland or Onehunga?
What will you see?
2 x coasts-2 x stunning parks -2 x volcanic cones
On the Coast to Coast Walk, Auckland you will-
- visit two coasts
- two large stunning parks
- and climb to the top of two volcanic cones!
You will wander through a variety of interesting places including historic sites that reflect 600 years of Maori occupation, beautiful green parklands with sheep and cattle grazing, past some beautiful old villas and homesteads, and pass through several interesting volcanic sites:-Albert Park, the Domain, Mt Eden and the iconic One Tree Hill.
NOTE: You must take a map or have access to a map or the ‘All trails’ app on your phone as, unfortunately, the signage is very poor!
Let’s get started!
We’ll start at Onehunga
Your starting point is the Onehunga Bay Reserve. It’s a busy park area on the Onehunga waterfront with a kids’ playground, exercise equipment, paths, and an active dog off-leash area alongside the lagoon.
A walk across the Taumanu Bridge gives great views to Mangere Mountain. Check out if there any people using the Cable Wakeboarding Park facilities!
If you can find the Coast to Coast Auckland ‘start sign’ take a photo of your ‘team’ and head through Onehunga, up the hill to Jellicoe Park. For any bargain shoppers, you might want to get to Onehunga early and visit the Dress Smart Outlet Mall for some very tempting bargains.
Jellicoe Park is a Victorian-style park. A First World War Memorial Arch stands at the north-western corner of the park. At the end of World War 1, Governor-General Lord Jellicoe opened this park on 5.5 acres of land previously set aside for military purposes and in 1929 the Arch of Remembrance was built at the main entrance to the park. You will see a Roll of Honour plaque for those who died in both World Wars on the arch.
One Tree Hill (Maungakiekie)
Adjacent to the park is the original military Blockhouse which dates from 1860 and was used for military defense against perceived attacks by Maori. There are two replica examples of Fencible Cottages built in 1847 to house military settlers, called Fencibles.
ONE TREE HILL
From Jellicoe Park, you will go through a suburban area to Royal Oak, with its notorious traffic roundabout, and further on to the entrance to One Tree Hill, which was named after the lone pine that once stood near the monument at the summit. The original tree, a sacred Totara, was cut down by settlers for firewood and replaced with a Pine Tree in the 1870s.
Unsuccessful attempts were made to grow native trees on the summit but only two Pine Trees planted as shelter for the native trees survived. However, by 2000 both trees had been attacked and the summit is now called “None Tree Hill” by the locals.
On the summit of One Tree Hill (Maungakiekie) are an obelisk, a memorial to Māori, a bronze statue of a Māori warrior, and the grave of Sir John Logan Campbell, who was a successful businessman and known as ‘the father of Auckland’ and generously donated his farm -the adjoining Cornwall Park- as a recreational park for the city.
You may be familiar with a U2 song called “One Tree Hill” which was inspired by the death of U2’s roadie and friend, young New Zealander Greg Carroll who had taken them to visit One Tree Hill on their trip to New Zealand.
Adjoining One Tree Hill Domain is Cornwall Park– 425 acres of working urban farm and magnificent parkland. Cornwall Park is definitely one of the highlights of the Coast to Coast Walk Auckland. From late July through to mid-September you will see the baby lambs and calves, as you walk through the farm area and cherry blossoms and daffodils in spring. Within the park are over 350 species of trees and over 8000 trees in total.
There are a couple of historic houses- Acacia House is Auckland’s oldest surviving building and was Sir John Logan Campbell’s home in the city in the 1840s. It was moved to Cornwall Park in 1920 and has been restored. Huia Lodge (now called Huia Lodge Discovery Hub) was built between 1901-1903. The park’s official opening ceremony took place here on 26 August 1903. It was originally the home for the park caretakers and their families, and for many years they served tea and scones to visitors that passed through the park. Later it became home to the restaurant managers of the kiosk next door.
The park also has the “Stardome Planetarium”, and sports and recreational areas including an archery area. Cornwall Park is a good spot to take a break or have some lunch. There are barbeque and picnic areas and three eateries-Cornwall Park Bistro, Cornwall Park Cafe and The Creamery for a delicious New Zealand icecream.
You will make your way through the residential area of Epsom through Melville Park and Auckland College of Education to the dormant volcano that is Mount Eden ( Maungawhau)-the highest volcano in Auckland.
This was once a thriving Maori pa and the highest natural point in Auckland, The stunning views are well worth the walk to the top and a look at the stunning views. Plenty of Instagram shots from here!
The symmetrical crater is 50m deep. It is known as Te Ipu Kai a Mataaho (the Food Bowl of Mataaho, the god of things hidden in the ground) and is considered tapu (sacred).
If you’re a garden lover check out the award-winning 5.5-acre Eden Garden featuring some colourful plant collections, rock formations, and waterfalls on the side of Mount Eden.
There’s another cafe here with good views and real fruit ice creams.
When you leave Mount Eden you will make your way through the residential area to the Auckland Domain, another volcanic field and another beautiful park. If you have time you could have a look through the neo-Greek style building that is the Auckland War Memorial Museum. It sits imposingly on the crater rim of the Pukekawa volcano.
Take a stroll through the magnificent plants and flowers in the Auckland Domain Wintergardens that are housed in two Victorian-style glasshouses.
There’s another good cafe option here near the wintergardens facing the duck pond.
You could also make a detour here to wander back to the city through the quaint cafes, craft shops, and art galleries in the Parnell Shopping Centre.
Inner city park
Continuing on the Coast to Coast Walk you will leave the Auckland Domain and wander through the University of Auckland buildings to Albert Park in the central city. This is another volcanic field area and site of an old Maori Village.
Today the Auckland City Art Gallery and gardens are at one corner of the park, and on the other is the original park-keepers cottage which is now a museum of memorabilia. There are several historic objects and statues throughout the park including a large statue of Queen Victoria, the band rotunda and the Reed Memorial statue, the statue to Helen Boyd, the South African War Memorial, the oaks planted by officers from the American ‘Great White Fleet’ in 1908, and Sir George Grey’s statue, relocated here in 1922. The cannons date from 1879. At one of the entrances to Albert Park there is an impressive rock, stainless steel and aluminium ‘Gateway’ sculpture by Chris Booth in 1990.
emily place reserve
A must-visit for tree lovers.
If you’re a tree lover don’t miss going through the tiny Emily Place Reserve on your way back into the finish of the walk at at Viaduct Harbour. There is a memorial with little significance in this day and age and a couple of benches well used by office workers in the summer because of the shade provided by huge pohutukawa trees that span over and through the walkway. Some of the branches are held up by poles so that you are able to duck under them and get through the path. It is amazing that they have been left to survive and not ‘cleared away’ to make room for a clear path.
Pohutakawa trees are native trees to New Zealand and known locally as the ‘New Zealand Christmas tree.’ Around Christmas time they flower with an abundance of vivid red flowers.
finish at downtown & the viaduct harbour
Make your way down to the bottom of town to Princes Wharf and the Viaduct harbour. The finish line for the Coast to Coast Walk Auckland is outside the Maritime Museum under the big KZ1 Team New Zealand America’s Cup yacht.
CONGRATULATIONS! You have now won bragging rights to “I walked all the way across New Zealand from one harbour to the other!” Don’t forget to take your photo with the finish sign!
We’re sure you’ve worked up an appetite and a thirst and there are hundreds of excellent cafes, bars and restaurants downtown at-
- the Viaduct harbour
- the Wynyard Quarter
- Princes Wharf
- Commercial Bay shopping area
- the Britomart precinct
PRACTICAL TIPS FOR YOUR AUCKLAND COAST TO COAST WALK
1. where to start?
Downtown Auckland or Onehunga?
The coast to coast walk can be done from either direction- north to south, or south to north. Your decision will be based on which start and finish point is the most convenient for you.
The most popular option for people staying in the city is to catch the train from Britomart Station Downtown to Onehunga and start the walk at the most southerly point. This 30-minute train ride departs about every 30 minutes on weekdays and costs $5.50.
If you would prefer to start in the city, there is car parking at Princes Wharf or the Downtown Car park and the Britomart train station is only a few minutes’ walk from the starting point at the Maritime Museum on the Viaduct Harbour.
There are plenty of bus stops and access to a few train stations for your return, regardless of your starting point.
2. WHAT TO TAKE?
Maps, apps, clothes & extras.
If your start point is in the city you will follow the yellow signs and if your start point is Onehunga you will follow the blue signs. However, we suggest you definitely pick up an ‘Explore Central Auckland Map’ from a tourist information centre or download a ‘Coast to Coast Auckland Map’ online and make use of GPS Google maps, as some of the signage along the way can be a bit confusing.
The weather in Auckland is very changeable so we recommend ‘layer dressing’ including a hat or cap, and packing a light rain jacket and don’t forget your sunscreen and sunglasses. .
Take your water bottle and a few snacks. There are some good cafes and restaurants along the way but there can be quite a distance between them. There are public toilets along the way.
3. IS IT AN EASY WALK?
Moderate- mostly suitable for prams & pushchairs .
It is probably graded as a moderate walk. It is mostly paved and there are a few stairs and some hill walks to the summits of two volcanos. You can walk at whatever pace suits you and you are always reasonably close to bus stops along the way to be able to return to your starting point at any stage if required. We recommend it you make it a day trip so that you have time to explore all the interesting places along the way.
The walk can easily be separated to two sections if you wished e.g. City to One Tree Hill on one day and One tree Hill to Onehunga on the second day and you could do it over two days but to claim those important bragging rights, you need to complete the Auckland coast to coast walk in just one day!
4. How much time should you allow?
4 hours to 8 hours
The Auckland Coast to Coast walk can be done in 4.5 hours but we suggest you make a day of it so that you can linger and enjoy some of the places that appeal to you along the way e.g. you might want to visit the Auckland Museum or the Maritime Museum or take a detour to the upmarket shopping areas of Newmarket or Parnell or the outlet mall in Onehunga.
There are some excellent picnic spots in Cornwall Park or the Domain and some good options for a long leisurely lunch at one of the cafes or restaurants you will pass by.