No matter if you’ve been living in Auckland for years, you just moved here or are on holidays and want to see more of the city then Queen Street and the waterfront, this 16km walkway is for you! It starts in Onehunga, Manukau Harbour and leads to Princess Wharf in the city on Waitemata Harbour, or the other way around. Walk through Auckland’s suburbs and some of the most popular parks and pass five of the ca. 50 volcanoes in the area.
Our group met at the train station in Onehunga, since we are all living south/east of the city center. From the station, it’s still about 1km to get to the official starting point of the Coast to Coast Walkway. We made our way up towards park number one, as we walked past lovely Victorian houses. Jellicoe Park is not very big but pretty and has an interesting history. Did you know it used to be a defense point against the Maori? The are around Jellicoe Park also used to house the very first Zoo of Auckland, until a lion escaped and terrorized the neighbourhood.
After another few kilometers through Royal Oak, the first of the two high landmarks of Auckland lay in front of us: One Tree Hill. One Tree Hill used to be famous for its totara tree on the top of the hill. It has been chopped by someone and been replaced by Sir John Logan Campbell, who planted a range of pine trees. Only one survived. The tree on the top has been attacked by chainsaws a couple times before it had to be taken down in the year 2000 because it was becoming a danger to the public. Since then, locals also sarcastically call it (N)one Tree Hill.
The mountain is volcanic and has three craters, one of them still intact. Since it’s overgrown with grass, you wouldn’t really think it’s a volcano and the fact it’s dormant and hasn’t erupted in the past 20’000 years helps, too.
The view at the top is breath-taking. The mountain is 187 meters above sea level and gives a great 360° view from South to North.
At the feet of One Tree Hill, we stopped for a coffee at Cornwall Park Café, a lovely café in a pretty, very English looking house. The park itself seems to be quite popular for photo shoots and to just hang out, as there were a lot of people! But the vast grass, the huge trees, the café and the BBQ stations are a good reason why the park is so popular.
Half an hour later, we stood at the bottom of yet another famous volcanic mountain: Mount Eden. You used to be able to drive to the top, but now it’s only for city tours with special permits. Everyone else only gets to go up by feet. It’s another hill, that’s hard to imagine it actually is a volcano, even though the crater is very visible here. Since Mt. Eden is closer to the city center, there is a great view towards the Skytower and the Harbour bridge.
New Zealand is a tramping paradise. There are so many amazing hiking trails on the North Island and South Island, I’m sure there’s one that tickles your fancy.
A little later, we walked through Auckland Domain, which technically also is volcanic but doesn’t even have a proper crater or a hill. It’s the home of Auckland War Memorial and a huge park. We only walked through a small piece of it but a very picturesque one, complete with ponds and a lot of big, shady trees.
The last one of the parks was supposed to be Albert Park right in the center, but we took some other turn and walked along Beach Street to get into the city center. We also cheated a little and didn’t walk all the way to the end to Princess Wharf but stopped at Mexico, where we had a reservation for lunch and were already a little late.
But you can’t really say we cheated, since we started our walk from the train station and not from the official start and thus added a kilometer which we “lost” again at the end.
About the walk
If you haven’t been in the city for long or you have, but don’t really know your hood all that well (happens to all of us), I would really recommend you did this walk. It’s not one of those where you see Auckland’s natural wonders like in the Waitakere Ranges. It’s an actual city walk and I find this is nice for a change, too. Especially for the ones who like a little bit of nature, but not too much of it 😉
The walk from Onehunga to Queens Wharf is 16km long. It took us 4.5 hours all in all. The walk is almost completely on sealed roads and paths and apart from the 2 Maungas really easy and mostly straight. But they’re also not too bad if you adjust your pace and not try to race up.
I would recommend starting in Onehunga, no matter where in Auckland you live. You will be hungry at the end of the walk and can treat yourself to a nice meal after the walk. You earned it.
To get to Onehunga it’s the easiest to take the train from Britomart. They are leaving often, but to be on the safe side, please check their timetable 😉
By the way: There is also a cycle version of the coast to coast that is slightly different. Make sure you give this one a try, too!
More, official information, about the walk can be found here.
If you like to discover Auckland on feet, you might also like to explore some islands in the Hauraki Gulf. Read about our adventures here:
Waiheke Island is great for a wine and dine day with some shorter walks and tanning on the beach.
Rangitoto Island is all about volcanoes. The youngest volcano in Auckland is best discovered in a day trip.
Tiritiri Matangi Island is a birder’s paradise. But also if you don’t know anything about New Zealand’s native birds, like us, it’s a must-do. The volunteer guides will help you understand nature.