This walk is a favourite for Auckland families. It provides a good introduction to the area and is one of the most beautiful walking loops in the Waitakere Ranges. Marvel at the huge kauri, one with a girth of 6.5m, and the large totara which were once used to make magnificent waka (canoes). Information signs along the way explain interesting features of this forest. 1.5km 1.0 hour(Source).
The Auckland City Walk is located in the Cascade Kauri Regional Park which is where I got my very first taste of trail running and this particular walk is where my kids had their first “adventure in the forest.”
Although this track is described as a walking loop on the Auckland City Council’s website, the track doesn’t actually start and end at the same place but it is certainly very child friendly. Both ends of the track start close to the (large) car parking areas, there are toilet facilities and the somewhat obligatory picnic tables (found at the more tourist orientated Regional Parks) are not only located at both ends of the track but there is even one on the long section of boardwalk near the top end of the walk.
The kids won’t even get wet feet unless they decide to charge directly through a large puddle in winter (the suspension bridge end of the track tends to pool with water when it’s been raining) or take a detour down to the stream. If you do have kids in tow (especially smaller ones) I think it’s a much easier walk if you head up the driveway past the large photo frame to start at the top end of the track. Starting at this end means that they don’t have a really long uphill section to finish off their walk with. Although the section from the suspension bridge (at the lower end of the track) to the car parking area is quite steep it’s also a much shorter climb.
Whenever I’m starting a run from the Falls Road carpark I tend to start at the top end of the Auckland City Walk as it affords me a gentle downhill section to warm up on prior to getting to whichever track I am heading to that day – Fenceline, Anderson & the Upper Kauri Tracks all branch off the Auckland City Walk and I run these tracks regularly either as out and backs or as part of a larger loop.
The Cascade Track also branches off the Auckland City Walk however it’s only a relatively short track that leads to a waterfall. I rarely venture to this particular waterfall as the large boulders that you have to scrambled over to get to the water fall put me off – if I particularly wanted to visit a water fall I’d choose both Makaroa or Fairy Falls over the Cascade Falls, but (in summer) from the amount of cheers and splashes I hear as pass the entrance of Cascade track, not everyone is as put off by the effort required to get there.
All in all, Auckland City Walk is a nice introduction to the Waitakere Ranges and as child friendly walks go, this one is near the top of the list (especially for younger kids) it’s also a very safe (if somewhat busy) trail run for beginners.
To get to the Auckland City Walk turn into Falls Road from Te Henga Road and drive through the Waitakere Golf Course to the very end – car parking is plentiful but this park does get extremely busy every weekend throughout the entire year.
My tip – if you have kids, take them on an after school adventure, if your solo – go early.
Till next time
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