If you are lucky enough to spend some days in the beautiful Auckland, New Zealand then you can’t afford to miss visiting the Waitakere Ranges. The Waitākere Ranges with its mountains and coastline cover more than 27, 000 ha of land area located between Auckland’s city centre and west coast of the Waitakere City and Rodney District. The Waitākere Ranges and its surrounding areas were traditionally known to the locals as the ‘The Great Forest of Tiriwa’ with a multitude of native flora and fauna sheltered under the giant kauri trees.
Walking in the green space and being away from the hustles and bustles of the city will let you explore some peace and serenity that everyone needs.
Furthermore, the walk ranges of Waitakere are spread over around 16,000 hectares, and it is filled with beautiful and adventurous tracks and trails that you can walk on. If you feel that your tootsies are ready to explore, then here are the most popular Waitakere Ranges Walks that you can go to.
We have compiled the best walking tracks and ranges that are full of exciting surprises and are best to invest your energy and time.
Getting Around the Walking Ranges of Waitakere
It is essential to know the right way to get to these walking ranges from Auckland. There is a multitude of ways that you can use to get to these ranges. You can either rent a car or have your own vehicle to visit the spot.
If you are travelling with a group or have an organized tour, then expect to visit Piha Beach, Arataki Visitor Centre and some other places while your way to the Waitakere Ranges.
It can take approximately 45-60 minutes to reach the Waitakere Ranges via a personal vehicle. The route is curvy, so you should swerve with care to reach the destination safely. Always pay attention to the speed limit signs, and other instructions while driving the car.
7 Best Waitakere Walk Ranges Where Heaven Meets the Ground
Here are seven best hiking and walking tracks in the Waitakere Ranges where you can explore while you’re on a trip to New Zealand:
01: Lion Rock Track
The Lion Rock is the most iconic landmark in the seaside village of Piha, west of Auckland on New Zealand’s North Island. If you are a hiker and are ready to conquer the peak, go to Loin Rock Track in the Waitakere Ranges Walk. The steep slopes require more effort, so it is not just easy walking or jogging. The humongous rock looks like a lion sitting on the shore.
Conquering the giant rock can take around 30-minutes, which is worth the time, certainly. The trail is ideal for walking, nature tripping, and bird watching. The grassy lookout at the top of the volcanic rock rewards you with the most stunning views in all directions.
02: Upper Huia Reservoir Walk
The Upper Huia Reservoir Track, which is 35 km from Auckland’s city centre, is another medium-difficulty walking track in Waitakere Range that you can go with your kids. The 17-kilometre walk takes around 4 hours, including the round trip. While walking through the Reservoir Walk, you will come across an abandoned old mine and two dams.
Further, the walking range is full of native trees and Nikau palms. The nikau palm is the only palm species endemic to mainland New Zealand. Other exciting things you will see here are the soaring waterfalls and the fresh running creeks, which is Auckland’s main water supply.
The Auckland Council temporarily closed the Upper Huia Reservoir Walk to manage the impact of the kauri dieback disease, which is a type of forest dieback disease of the native kauri trees. Now, it is open again to welcome tourists!
03: Tramline Track Walk – Waitakere Dam
The Waitakere Dam Tramline Track, located in the Waitakere ranges, offers an incredible walking experience in the Waitakere Ranges Walk, that’s easy on your feet. The 6.5-kilometer walk runs across the tramline, but a major area of it is now under maintenance. The excellent walk range is surrounded by beautiful flora, including large trees.
Also, you can walk through the tramline tunnels to explore the site. You can cover the entire site within 2 hours, and there are multiple toilets so you can attend nature’s call. However, there is no wheelchair access, and you cannot take your furry friend on this walk.
04: Comans Track West Auckland
If you love wildlife, and want your pet to accompany you, heading to the Comas Track will be a great idea. The Comans Track is an amazing coastal clamber located near Karekare, Auckland, New Zealand. You can take your furry friend on a leash to enjoy hiking on the rocky trail. The 9.7-kilometer-long track has medium-level difficulty.
Furthermore, while hiking, you can enjoy breath-taking views of Tāhoro Beach. This track of the Waitakere Ranges Walk is perfect for groups and families. Lastly, make sure to snap on a reliable pair of kicks, as the track is full of slippery and muddy rocks.
05: Mercer Bay Loop Track
Travelling to Auckland with your kids, Mercer Bay Loop is among the best Ranges Walk to visit. The Mercer bay Loop Track in Karekare Regional Park is 38 km from Auckland Central located near New Lynn, Auckland. The 2.7-kilometer-long track is easy to conquer, and that’s why it is ideal for kids. It would take somewhere around 50 minutes to walk through the track.
The walk offers picturesque views from the highest coastal slopes in Auckland. The Ranges Walk starts from the Piha Beach, and you can enjoy the scenic views of Te Ahua headland en-route to the Māori pā. The prepossessing coastal high walk is filled with beautiful views of the beaches and coastal areas. The Mercer Bay Loop Track is best for families with kids and the elderly.
06: Gibbons Track Walk
The Gibbons Track Walk in the Waitākere Ranges Regional Park is a 14-kilometer long, medium-difficulty track for the enthusiasts. The track starts from Company Stream Bridge that’s behind Karekare Beach. In your way to conquer the track, you will come across some enthralling views of flora that’s found in the particular region only.
Completing the track can take somewhere around 3 hours depending on whom you are travelling. The elevation is 276m, and it can be a little difficult to walk upwards. The walk has good mobile coverage, and you get access to public toilets.
Lastly, dogs aren’t allowed on Gibbons Track Walk, and the track has no wheelchair access.
07: Whatipu Caves Track
Do you love adoring caves? Get towards the Whatipu Caves Track, which is a 3.1-kilometre-long track. Located 40 km away from the Auckland CBD, the place is full of old caves that showcase how ancient people used caves as shelters.
The track starts from the Whatipu Carpark, and you need to walk on a small bridge surrounded by the native bush. Some sections of the track are muddy, so having gumboots will make your day. Furthermore, the track is slippery during heavy rainfall, so be prepared to tackle the challenges.
During heavy rainfalls the authorities close most of the caves, so plan it accordingly.
A Handful of Tips for a Seamless and Safe Experience in the Waitakere Walk Ranges
It’s always advisable to keep these practical tips in mind to have a pleasant experience in the Waitakere Walk Ranges. Always remember that your own safety must be your utmost priority.
1. Pack the right things
It is important to pack the right things before every pound matters when going for a walk. Don’t stash your backpack, and pack the only items that you will be using.
Pack a water bottle, some snacks that you can munch to get more energy for walking. Also, having a map will be a great idea because most of the walks in the Auckland Region have no network coverage. Of course, don’t forget your first aid kits and sun protection!
2. Learn how to read a map
If you know how to read a map, that’s great! But if you don’t know, it is essential to learn using it and make it your handy adventure guide. The only viable way to track where you are is by using a map.
3. Let your group know where you are going to be walking
If you have a group with you interested in going for a walk, then it’s fine. But if you want to explore these places all alone, then let your group know where you are going, and when to expect you back.
4. Book accommodation in advance (if needed)
Booking accommodation in advance will be the best thing to do. Not only it will save you bucks, but also it will save your precious time. Search for accommodation that’s nearest to the walking range where you want to go to cut the commuting time and hassles.
Get some information from the Arataki Visitor Centre
The knowledgeable and friendly staff at the Arataki Visitor Centre will help you with the information you need. This place is a perfect spot to gather information about the Waitākere Ranges. You can ask the staff to suggest some good tracks that you can visit with your family or friends. Furthermore, you get a lot to learn from this visitor centre, while you can enjoy the prepossessing views of the Waitakere Dam, and Manukau Harbour before heading to the Waitakere Ranges Walks.
Final Thoughts on the best walks in the Waitakere Ranges
The best way to select an ideal walk track is by understanding its difficulty-level, without compromising your personal safety. If you are travelling to Auckland with your kids and parents, then you should choose a walking range adventure with easy difficulty-level. Before leaving, always check the weather for the day and never forget to bring your first-aid kits!
On the other hand, if you are an enthusiast and have experience in walking, then you can go to walk ranges such as the Lion Rock Track that are a bit difficult to conquer.
Book all the accommodations in advance to avoid any hassles, and consult a local guide to know more about the area and the beautiful tourist spots awaiting you!