Parks

Waiheke Island individual walks

Whether it is the quiet solitude and unique fragrance of the native bush or the stunning views from cliff-tops and headlands which appeals, Waiheke Island's walkways offer a diversity and tranquillity rarely found so close to the city. There are many areas of historic interest and large tracts of reserve land. The numerous native wood pigeons are fascinating to observe and beautiful in flight.

While Waiheke Island is generally sunnier and warmer than Auckland, it is always advisable to carry warm clothing, use sunscreen, wear a sunhat and sensible walking shoes, and take plenty of liquids. Many of the island's roads are narrow and winding so care should be taken when walking on these. Keep a lookout for signs showing an alternative route.

Besides the walks listed below, there is also a series of eight walks which you can explore here.

 


Individual walks

 


Awaawaroa - Trig Hill Track

Fitness level

A fair amount of agility and fitness is required to do the full hike but there are two easier options.

 

Duration

Three options - 1 hour, 2 hours, 3 hour 30 minutes. 

 

What to expect

Awaawaroa is a quiet forgotten rural valley in the shadows of Waiheke Island's largest mountain, Mt Maunganui. Enroute to Orapiu at the 'bottom end', a 15 minute drive east from the main village at Oneroa. At the turn of the century this area was a busy little community as it was the site of New Zealand's largest Manganese mine and the island's first school, post office and telephone exchange. Bring a flashlight so you can glimpse into an abandoned historic mine and enjoy the quiet mountain vista and rare views of the bay and eco-village as you walk up to the Awaawaroa Bay lookout.

 

Route

Drive to the right hand turn at the end of Awaawaroa Road, park by the picnic table then walk to where the sign-posted route heads up to the Awaawaroa Bay lookout.

There are two main walking options here. You can walk up to the lookout at the top of the hill and then return the way you came, which is a one-hour return trip. Or, continue to Trig Hill, Onetangi (a two hour trip). If you get lost look for the white markers along the fence line. To return from Trig Hill to the start at Awaawaroa you can walk down Trig Hill Road to the entrance of Onetangi Reserve, continue down Fisher Road turning right down Waiheke Road (watch out for traffic on this road) and turn right again into Awaawaroa Road (3.5 hours for the entire route). For those with a special interest, there is also a side track from the lookout to a manganese mine (15 minute return trip). Look out for the numbered yellow disks around the walkway.

 

 


Cross Island walkway

Fitness level

Slightly above average as some parts of the track are muddy and slippery. This walk is not suitable for baby buggies or wheelchairs.

 

Duration

4 hours.

 

What to expect

The walkway begins at Onetangi and ends at Rocky Bay. Heading from north to south, it crosses over 3km of public and private land. You’ll experience a pristine ocean beach, mature forest (including a stand of mature Kauri), great views and waterfalls.

 

Route

The Cross Island Walk travels across Waiheke Island from Onetangi Beach to Whakanewha and Rocky Bay. Catch the Onetangi bus from Matiatia, or from the supermarket at Ostend to the Fourth Avenue bus stop in Onetangi. Overnight camping is available at Whakanewha Regional Park. Walk up Waiheke Road to the Onetangi Forest and Bird entrance and then follow the signs to Trig Hill Road. Walk up Trig Hill Road and follow the signs and yellow markers south down the gravel road through to the Cascades waterfalls at Whakanewha Regional Park. Continue along Whakanewha beach and take the track to Rocky Bay. The bus leaves opposite the Old Rocky Bay store. Phone Maxx on 09 366 6400 for transport times and details.

 

 


Ferry to Church Bay walk

Fitness level

Average. This walk is not suitable for baby buggies or wheelchairs.

 

Duration

About 2 hours 30 minutes.

 

What to expect

This walk features a variety of forest and coastal birdlife with harbour views toward Auckland city and you will see the first church that was on Waiheke Island. Follow the coastline track along Matiatia and Church Bay. Feel free to pop into the vineyards on the way back to Matiatia via Atawhai Whenua Forest and Bird Reserve.

 

Route

The ferry to Church Bay walk begins and ends at Matiatia Beach near the ferry terminal. Follow the path along the beach, across the footbridge and up the hill. From the lookout continue following the coastline track to Church Bay. Walk along the beach and take the track along the fence line to the top of the hill. Turn left up the Bull Paddock Track and then left again when you reach Church Bay Road. The Mudbrick Vineyard and Restaurant is signposted on the right. Continue down the road turning left down Nick Johnstone Drive. About 100m on the right take the southern entrance track back through Atawhai Whenua Reserve to return you to Matiatia and the ferry terminal.

 

 


Funky Fungi fun walk

What to expect
The Scarlet Flycap, Amanita muscaria

In the 1870s, early Waiheke Island pioneers would try to use what they had on the land to make money. They dug up Kauri Gum, chopped Ti-Trees for firewood, and collected Wood Ear, Auricularia polytricha (edible fungi), off rotting wood, sending it to Auckland for export to China. Native Pohutukawa and Rata have hundreds of fungi growing through their leaf litter; a magnifying glass will reveal some of these. The Funky fungi can be found on many tracks and walkways on Waiheke Island, particularly during warm, wet weather. May and June is usually the best time to spot fungi but don’t touch any. The Scarlet Flycap, Amanita muscaria is often found under pine trees and like many mushrooms, it is toxic. Some varieties of fungi can make you very sick and some can be fatal. It is very difficult to know which ones are safe and which are not. 

 

Places

The best place is in open farmland or developed forests where the ground stays damp. Whakanewha Regional Park, (ie Nikau and Tarata Tracks) and Onetangi Forest and Bird Reserve are recommended. A great short walk for kids is at Ti Toki Reserve on Wilma Road. It is best you take gumboots, warm clothing, a magnifying glass, camera and a fungi identification book.

 

 


 

Greater Te Huruhi boundary walk

Fitness level

Average. This walk is not suitable for baby buggies or wheelchairs.

 

Duration 

Three hours.

 

 


  

Little Oneroa to Palm Beach walk

Fitness level

Average. This walk is not suitable for baby buggies or wheelchairs.

 

Duration 

1 hour 30 minutes.

 

What to expect

This walk follows a coastline showcasing the aqua waters of the north facing bays of Waiheke Island. Starting at Little Oneroa Beach and finishing at Palm Beach, there is a regular public bus service to return you to Little Oneroa.

 

Route

From Little Oneroa Beach, follow the coastal track south through Newton Road Reserve up to Newton Road. Walk up Queens Drive, turn left down Watters Glen Reserve continuing to follow the coastline tracks to Sandy Bay. Follow the road to Enclosure Bay, turn right down Empire Avenue and up through McKenzie Reserve to Coromandel Road. Turn left on to Hauraki Road continuing down Cory Road to Palm Beach Lookout and Little Palm and Palm Beaches. At Palm Beach, there are several bus stops along Palm Road.

 

 


  

Matiatia Headland walk

Fitness level

Average. There are a few steep sections close to cliffs so some caution is required especially if with young children. This walk is not suitable for baby buggies or wheelchairs.

 

Duration

Two hours with options.

 
What to expect 

You will learn about the first Pakeha settlers in the Greater Te Huruhi area, the history of Matiatia Bay and how it became the main gateway for the island. The walk starts and ends at the ferry building at Matiatia Bay. It explores the headland of Matiatia including secluded beaches, cliff-side vistas, coastal mansions and a post 1600s Pā site. Approaching Owhanake Bay, you can either walk the Owhanake valley back to Oneroa village, which would be an extra hour, or return to the Ferry Terminal at Matiatia via World War II bunkers and a remnant forest.

 

Route 

Matiatia Headland Walk begins and ends at the ferry building at Matiatia. Follow the coastline track along the Matiatia headland. After Cable Bay you have two options.

 

 


 

Owhanake coastal track

Fitness level

Average, there are a few short steep sections. The walk is not suitable for baby buggies or wheelchairs.

 

Duration

2 hours with many places to stop for a break.

 

What to expect

This walk, which starts and ends at Oneroa Beach, features coastal walkways linked with vineyards, bays and quiet semi-rural roads. The walk shows how the land was utilised in the past 140 years from successful Māori Gardens, the impact of shingle removal from the late 1800s to today's focus on sustainable land management.

 

Route

It starts and ends at the western end of Oneroa Beach. From here, walk up the boat access ramp and turn right down Korora Road. Continue until you walk past Fossil Bay Farm. Signposts will direct you to turn right up a private driveway passing through a vineyard. The walk continues along the ridgeline and heads inland from Island Bay to explore Owhanake Bay. Follow the mowed track back to Korora Road. Walk up the road and past Fossil Bay Farm until you see steps leading to a track on the right (Pohutukawa Sanctuary). This track takes you through privately owned bush, once you reach Tiri Road, turn left. Return to Oneroa via Korora Road and then back to the beach.

 

 


  

Park Point coastal walkway

Fitness level 

Average. It is a good track but with hundreds of steps, which makes it unsuitable for buggies or wheelchairs.

 

Duration

Two hours.

 

What to expect 

This 2.5km coastal walkway, cuts through open country and mature native bush. You will be able to spot rare native birds such as dotterels, see mature kowhai trees and look across to Motuihe Island. Starting near the Mudbrick Restaurant in Oneroa, the walkway rises sharply from the beach to give cliff-top views and then traces the entire coastline of Park Point peninsula.

 

Route

Start at the end of Cable Bay Lane, walk down the track to Cable Bay. Follow the track around the coast through Park Point, Matarahui Bay, Matarahui Point and on to Te Wharau Bay. The track from Te Wharau Bay to Walter Frank Drive completes the loop back to Cable Bay Lane.

 

 


 

Piritahi circuit walk

Fitness level

Average. This walk is not suitable for baby buggies or wheelchairs.

 

Duration

Two hours.

 

What to expect

The walk from Blackpool Beach leads up to the trig on Church Bay Road taking in almost 180 degree views of western Waiheke and the Hauraki Gulf. You continue west through countryside and several forest reserves and bays.

 

Route

The walk starts and ends at Piritahi Marae at the end of Tahatai Road, which is five minutes walk from Oneroa Village. The track begins at the western end of Blackpool Beach by the abandoned scow boat. Follow the green and yellow markers up the track turning left up Church Bay Road. Another 25m up the road on the left there will be steps leading into a paddock. Follow the markers through the reserve, crossing the road, turning left when you reach the coast and continuing on to the end of the track. Walk along Cable Bay Lane until you turn left onto Walter Frank Drive. On the right, there will be a track to Te Wharau Bay. Halfway down the beach there will be a signpost up on the bank, follow this track back to Walter Frank Drive. Turn right and continue up the road until you return to Pio Rehutai Reserve, going back the way that you came to the marae at Blackpool.

 

 


  

Other walks

Cross Island walkway 

Start at the eastern end of Onetangi Beach. Walk up First Avenue and take stairs through Pohutukawa Reserve. Cross the road into the Onetangi Forest and Bird Reserve and follow the signs to the Trig Hill exit. Turn left onto Trig Hill Road past Pukeatua Reserve to the end of the road. Walk the track to Whakanewha Regional Park and beach. This walk takes about three hours.

 

Waikopou Bay 

Park your car at the entrance to the walkway on Cowes Bay Road. The walkway is steep but shaded. Turn left at the beach to reach the reserve. This walk takes approximately an hour and a half return. There is no public transport to this location. Waikopou Bay walkway is a site of ecological significance that leads to stands of mature kauri and giant rimu up to 1000 years old. A kauri skid remains from kauri harvesting last century and runs beside part of the track. To the northern end of the bay, look for remnant Māori stone fish traps.

 

Stony Batter

Stony Batter Historic Reserve is at the eastern end Waiheke Island. Its main features are rock outcrops, gun sites and extensive tunnels. There is no public transport to this location.

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