Yesterday when I “reviewed” Auckland’s pink cycleway I mentioned that the Grafton Gully cycleway was WAY nicer (and I thought the exact same thing when I ran along both cycleways today), so I guess it’s only fair that I explain where the Grafton Gully cycleway is so that you can all go and run (or cycle if you are that way inclined) along it and come to the same conclusion as I. 😉
The 1.6k long cycleway goes from Upper Queen Street in the central city and follows the general motorway alignment through Grafton Gully ending where Alten Road joins Stanley Street (directly opposite Boxing Alley).
From the end of the Newton Cycleway, you will need to follow the footpath straight ahead up a short yet sharp hill to reach the Grafton Gully Cycleway entrance. However, I suggest you cross the road as soon as you get to Mercury Lane because there isn’t a controlled crossing at the top of the hill that allows you to go straight across the road (where the Grafton Gully Cycleway entrance is), therefore I would suggest you travel on the left hand side of Mercury Lane and then go straight across Upper Queen Street at the lights.
For information on how to get here from the Northern Cycleway AT have some great visuals here
The first 50 or so metres are on an incline, which you can’t really see visually, but my legs and slightly labored breathing can testify that it’s not flat, however if you enter the cycleway from the Upper Queen Street end like I did then 99% of the cycleway it is either flat or downhill. In fact I’d go so far as to say that a good 95% of it is a really comfortable downhill in that it’s not too steep, the concrete path is nice and wide and the entire length is lined with plants.
It’s pretty near impossible to lose your way whilst on this cycleway as there is only one junction on the entire length of it which leads you towards the Auckland University however it’s well signposted and to get to Stanley Street you need to continue straight ahead.
It’s worth noting that both times I’ve ventured along this path (unlike the uber expensive new pink bridge) there have been cyclists using it, so I strongly suggest you stick to the side of the 3-4m wide path. It would pay to bear this in mind when you get to the junction mentioned above especially if you have been running along the left hand side of the path.
I don’t run with music and I still get a bit of a fright each time a cyclist whizzed past me because they are so quiet! I guess bikes don’t come equipped with bells once you get past the age of 7. So please (for the safety of everyone on the path) look behind you before crossing this junction just in case a cyclist is about to turn left to head towards the University.
The only other place I guess you could get a little unstuck is when you get to the end of the path at Grafton Road (pictured above), cross the road and veer slightly left to rejoin the path on the other side (the signage on that side of the road is a little unclear) however even if you head down the hill to the right (which the arrow on the signage seems to make out you should), you’ll still end up on Stanley Street, just closer to the Tennis Arena and about a block away from Boxing Alley where the bike path would have taken you. (But honestly what’s a block between friends).
From this point, you can either turn left and head up towards the University, turn right and head up towards the Museum or Parnell or continue straight heading towards the Waterfront, which incidentally would be your only option if your aim was to avoid hills.
Whatever way you turn, enjoy it!
Till next time