My Favourite Walk: The Auck­land ten kilo­me­tre walk

Walking New Zealand - - Contents -

My favourite walk in Auck­land City is around Ta­maki Drive at the Auck­land Har­bour fore­shore, the route used for Auck­land’s an­nual 8.4km “Round the Bays” fun run. It starts from the Cen­tral Busi­ness District end at Quay Street in early March, also the less known Iron­man in Jan­uary.

For most of the 10km walk there are no side streets, so you don’t have to rub­ber neck and hes­i­tate look­ing out for mo­torists as you would when cross­ing side streets of in­ner Auck­land City.

But one of the best things about the walk is the one-kilo­me­tre mark­ings placed at the cen­tre of the foot­path. This was a 2005 Ro­tary Club of St Johns and Auck­land City Coun­cil project.

While some of the mark­ers are eas­ier to see than oth­ers, they are not hard to find by look­ing out for them af­ter walk­ing for about eight min­utes. You can use these mark­ers in sev­eral dif­fer­ent ways, such as mea­sur­ing your walk­ing time per kilo­me­tre be­tween each marker and try­ing to get your speed up, if you think your walk­ing speed is a bit slow, or to just walk as far as you like.

You could start at one end and do the com­plete 20km re­turn, or if you have walked a long dis­tance and feel so worn out you can­not take an­other step, you can hop over to a bus stop on the other side of the road to re­turn to the start place.

Do watch out for traf­fic when cross­ing as it can get busy at times. There are not many pedes­trian refuge is­lands in the mid­dle of the road on Ta­maki Drive and you will not run out of fin­gers count­ing the num­ber of elec­tronic pedes­trian cross­ings, un­less you are at the Cen­tral Busi­ness District end of the walk.

Don’t for­get sun­screen on hot sunny days when the tide is in. The sun re­flects off the wa­ter and burns your face. When there has been a spring tide on a windy day, I have seen seawa­ter that has been pushed up the storm wa­ter drains onto Ta­maki Drive be­tween the 3rd and 4th mark­ers: a re­minder that with global warm­ing the sea level is ris­ing from moun­tains melt­ing ice.

My only crit­i­cism is that drink­ing foun­tains are un­evenly placed along the 10km walk. So as you walk out from the city, if you don’t get a cou­ple of mouth­fuls of wa­ter be­tween the 3rd and 4th km mark­ers or if you miss the drink­ing foun­tain out­side the Okahu Bay bathers chang­ing room just af­ter the 5th km marker, your mouth could be­come very dry on a hot day by the time you have walked an­other four kilo­me­tres into Ko­hi­marama or on to St He­liers Bay.

I like walk­ing empty handed and I think I am de­vel­op­ing a early geri­atric pho­bia. I hate drink­ing out of plas­tic bot­tles un­less I re­ally

have to. While a lot of sports ded­i­cated cy­clists ride on the road around Ta­maki Drive, the more safety minded causal cy­clists have use of half the foot­path near­est the road on the 10km route. I have clocked up hun­dreds of kilo­me­tres walk­ing around Ta­maki Drive and had a lot of cy­clists go past me and I have never had an is­sue shar­ing the foot­path with cy­clists.


While you are walk­ing around Ta­maki Drive you might see ships com­ing or go­ing. If look­ing at the odd ship gets you ex­cited, then prior to the walk you might like to print off the ar­rival-de­par­ture list found on the in­ter­net. Just go to a search en­gine such as Google and put in some­thing like “Auck­land ship­ping sched­ule”. You should come up with an URL such as the two be­low:­ping_­cargo/sched­ules.htm­ping_­cargo/ex­pectedar­rivals.asp Ships do not come or go at ex­actly the sched­uled time and may vary from about an hour be­fore a sched­uled ar­rival, with some pas­sen­ger ships up to half an hour af­ter a sched­uled de­par­ture or they may even leave early.

For this rea­son you might like to take your smart phone with you on the walk and check the ship­ping move­ments via a web­site. I found the best one is With the ma­rine traf­fic web­site http:// www.marine­traf­ you might have to hunt for Auck­land Har­bour. From the sched­ule list it is easy to pick out all the pas­sen­ger ships as they ei­ther berth at Queens Wharf or Princess Wharf.

I have to say that walk­ing around Ta­maki Drive and watch­ing the ship­ping go in and out is far more ex­cit­ing than watch­ing free-to-air tele­vi­sion.

Just af­ter the Orion came in this much larger cargo ship left. No­tice Mt Vic­to­ria in the back­ground to both pic­tures.

The Par­nell Bridge

As you are ap­proach­ing the Par­nell Bridge on a hot day about 2.5 km from the city end, the other end of the bridge is the Par­nell Baths, a salt wa­ter pool. The per­son who de­signed this bridge that went up in 2013 looks like they were af­ter some kind of de­sign award.

The bridge steps also has a “J” track run­ning up one side of the steps at a an­gle, I won­dered what it was for un­til I saw a cy­clist push­ing his bi­cy­cle along in it in­stead of car­ry­ing the bike up the steps in his hands. Walk­ing around Ta­maki Drive en­ables you to take a close look at the bridge.

Slow down sign

With a bit of traf­fic on Ta­maki Drive as you are ap­proach­ing the other side of the Ngapipi es­tu­ary bridge to the 4km marker you might see a “Your speed” sign flash up “54” then “Slow” then “Down” be­cause mo­torists al­ways like go­ing a bit faster than the limit. Per­son­ally I would put in a speed cam­era there and pros­e­cute fre­quently re­peat­ing of­fend­ers. As I see it at the mo­ment this equip­ment is just fairly in­ter­est­ing in­for­ma­tion for pedes­tri­ans walk­ing to­wards it (and people us­ing it in sto­ries).

Cy­clist warn­ing sign

One day just sec­onds af­ter walk­ing past the 4km marker I heard a

cy­clist cry out “What the [buzz]!” Hear­ing that sure grabbed my at­ten­tion.

As I looked up, a car just leav­ing the left ar­row lane (as seen in the photo), turn­ing right into Ngapipi Road was in the stop po­si­tion at the start of the on­com­ing cy­clist’s side of the road. It was clear that this mo­torist had looked only at the sign that lights up to warn of on­com­ing cy­clists but had not vis­ually checked for an on­com­ing cy­clist in front of his car.

This gave me an idea for a new walk­ing hobby. I de­cided to stand and watch the sign and cy­clists rid­ing along Ta­maki Drive to­wards the city past Ngapipi Road. See photo top right.

Note: Just right of the car turn­ing right into Ngapipi Road is a yel­low sign say­ing “Look for Mo­torists”. On the left side of the car is an or­ange sign that says “Cy­clist ap­proach­ing when flash­ing”. Above the or­ange sign is a di­a­gram of a bi­cy­cle that flashes - or should flash. (The cy­clist de­tec­tor is about where the on­com­ing car is on the left side of the pic­ture.)

It was dis­ap­point­ing to see that within 20 min­utes and pre­sum­ably just about ev­ery 20 min­utes there would be at least one cy­clist who would ride past with­out ac­ti­vat­ing the warn­ing sys­tem, from a solo rider to groups of cy­clists.

Whether or not car­bon fi­bre framed bikes have some­thing to do with this fault is un­clear to me. Af­ter telling a few people about this prob­lem I made a point in the months later, not so much to walk along Ta­maki Drive for plea­sure, but more to see if the sign had been fixed.

Of course, in our world of a “Who gives a hoot about safety” at­ti­tude, I found to my dis­may, from many vis­its, it would fault at least once in ten min­utes.

As I sat on the foot­path watch­ing the sign, other pedes­tri­ans would walk past and ask if I was all right. In my opin­ion, if I was re­spon­si­ble for cy­clist safety in that area I would have an­other sign erected next to the cy­clist warn­ing sign say­ing some­thing like “Ran­domly faulty”.

Sec­ond World War huts

As you get to about where the 6km marker is at Bid­dicks Bay there is some kind of con­crete hut built to aid the mil­i­tary de­fence of Auck­land’s in­ner har­bour. You can see that no­body has ever been in there with a vac­uum cleaner.

If you turn around from about the spot where the 7km marker is, this is the view you get look­ing over a pedes­trian bridge to Ran­gi­toto Is­land.

Above: Pas­sen­ger ship Orion.

Above: The Par­nell Pool.

The speed sign.

Above: It looks like car car­ry­ing cargo ship.

Be­low: The 1km marker at the cor­ner Quay St & Plumer St

The photo above was taken in St He­liers Bay at the end of the 10km walk.

Above: The in­ter­sec­tion at Ta­maki Drive and Ngapipi Road.

Be­low: A small bridge and a view of Ran­gi­toto Is­land.

Above: Huts built dur­ing Sec­ond World War.

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