This loop is around 40km long and takes in 3 coasts (Waitematā downtown, Manukau at Onehunga and Upper Waitematā at Waterview), and 8 volcanic cones, while having an opportunity to consume an ice cream cone along the way too. It’s a great combination that takes in some of Auckland’s best sights.
ElectricMeg and I have designed this loop based on the Coast to Coast Walkway adapted for ebikes (you can ride a regular bike too of course). It is mostly on safe bike routes but there are some points where mixing with traffic is unavoidable. In some situations you may feel safer hopping off your bike and walking (eg road crossings). We’ll let you be the judge of that. It does diverge slightly from the walking route for safety, practicality (eg stairs) and awesomeness (you don’t mind going a bit further to see something extra).
We start on the Quay St Cycleway, up the Grafton Cycleway, follow mostly the Coast to Coast Route for a few km. At Onehunga we pick up the Southern Isthmus Cycleway, then Waterview Shared Path, Northwestern Cycleway, Te Ara I Whiti (Lightpath) and the Nelson St Cycleway.
Before you set out, know that this will use an estimated 450Wh of battery for an average weight rider (<100kg). Make sure you have enough range. We have done the ride on a number of bikes and with different riders, range wasn’t an issue with a 14.5AH/500Wh battery.
Take adequate food and drink (or buy along the way) and apply sunscreen. Take a puncture repair kit and pump, and basic tools if you need to make adjustments. You will be on the road 3-5 hours.
Download this Google Map onto your smartphone for guidance (view this page on your smartphone – click the rectangular symbol [top right] to launch it in Google Maps).
- Visit the Wintergarden or Auckland Museum in the Domain
- Cross the old Mangere Bridge, the oldest concrete bridge in Auckland
- Check out the boardwalk at Onehunga foreshore
- Go up Puketapapa/Mt Roskill
- Visit the Heritage space under the Waterview flyovers
- Visit MOTAT
- Have a well-earned drink at Headquarters on the way back
- Start at the Auckland Ferry Terminal. The iSite on Princes Wharf has a printed map of Central Auckland that might be worth having. Set off along the Quay St cycleway. Cross at Britomart Place (Les Mills). Follow the off road cycle path and cross Customs St to Fort St and immediately left into Emily Place. This is quite steep.
- Continue up along Princes St through the University Campus. Take in the old buildings, and take a diversion through Albert Park for some nice photo opps if you like.
- Turn left into Alfred St (it’s a bus and pedestrian rd), and cross onto the footpath to cross the motorway. Continue up the path into Auckland Domain. Enjoy the sculptures along the way. At the top of the hill if you turn left, there are some nice spaces and more statues, including the Valkyrie. You could also take in the Wintergarden and the Museum if you have time on your hands. Our route loops up towards the Museum, lets you look at Kaitiaki (the big sculpture), riding on the grass if it is dry, and follows a loop around the domain past the cricket pavilion.
- Continue along Park Avenue past St Peters College. Be careful crossing Khyber Pass Ave. After Auckland Grammar School we take a right along Clive Rd then into Mt Eden domain. Luckily once you have passed the car park it is vehicle free all the way to the top. Enjoy the views from Auckland’s highest volcanic cone. The Google Map has a volcanic cones layer to help identify as many as you can. You should have used no more than 20% battery here if you are to last the whole way.
- The way via Government House has stairs, so we go the other way via Mt Eden Rd and the village. There is a sort-of cycle lane along here so stay clear of car doors and buses. Stop in Mt Eden if you are peckish or are already in need of ice cream. Left into Stokes Ave, then veer right into Epsom Ave.
- Turn into the main entrance of the University of Auckland Epsom Campus. There used to be a small volcanic cone here but now it is a carpark. Stay to the right of the buildings and find your way to St Andrews Rd. On the far side of Melville Park turn left along the walkway.
- Carefully cross Gillies Ave and along Kimberly Rd. At the far end you will cross Manukau Rd (suggest to walk your bike across) to the statue and fountain. Follow Puriri Drive to the end, where you will cross at the traffic lights into Cornwall Park and One Tree Hill Domain.
- One Tree Hill Domain is really lovely and a favourite place for Aucklanders to have a picnic. It is worth going up but if you don’t want to you can take a short cut at the first circle along Twin Oaks Drive.
- Follow the road up to Maungakiekie /One Tree Hill. Unfortunately you are sharing your experience with cars so take care. There is of course no longer a tree at the top, thanks to a man with a mission and a chainsaw. On your way down, keep left and turn into Olive Grove and take the first left again into Bollard Ave. Once you have passed the bollards (there is a chain with bollards down the centreline – I wonder why it is called Bollard Ave?) turn right and cross over into Grand Drive. Turn right.
- At the traffic circle continue straight along Onehunga Mall. Do take care along here staying well out of car door range. At the church turn right into Church St.
- Ride along Church St – there is no cycle lane here – until you get to the circle. Keep left and when safe, turn right into Onehunga Bay Reserve. At low tide this is completely empty, and at high tide a nice estuarine lake. The wires overhead are for wakeboarding. Cross the motorway over the bridge.
- After the bridge you’ll see stairs to the right. Ignore these, go straight and a bit left until you find the gravel path that goes around the estuary foreshore. Turn right. A diversion for another day: If you go to the left you can follow a shared path towards Mangere Bridge. Continue northwest. When you get to the toilet block there is another diversion – you can ride along the boardwalk. You’ll have to turn around and come back the same way and please be considerate of other foot traffic.
- Our route follows Seacliff Rd, then right into Queenstown Ave. It’s a bit easier than the path. From here you follow the path alongside the motorway which is fairly straightforward. At Maioro cross at the lights.
- Another diversion is to climb up Puketepapa/Mt Roskill. It’s not a long diversion. The top is a bit messy at time of writing.
- When you get to New North Rd the signposting is a bit vague. You cross New North and go up Soljak Place to cross the railway line over a bridge. From the other side you will be following the Waterview Shared Path.
- At Blockhouse Bay Rd stay on the right – be careful past the petrol station, cars can whiz in and out without regard for cycists – and climb past Unitec over the Rainbow Path.
- At Carrington Rd turn right and go about 80m to the crossing. Cross carefully and go left and right along Sutherland Rd, the road with arguably the roughest chipseal in all of New Zealand. Near the end you ‘ll see the NW Cycleway path which you’ll follow for a few km, crossing St Lukes Rd along the way. Another little diversion is to go via Daily Bread (accessible via the service lane parallel to Gt North Rd). They have lovely coffee and delicious pastries, popular with cyclists.
- The cycleway climbs the “Newton Grinder” up to Newton Rd (good news, this will be replaced in 2018!). It’s a bit confusing here, you turn right at the top then double back in a cloverleaf to get down to Ian McKinnon Dr. Cross at the top lights (Queen St). Stay on the path and turn left parallel with Canada St to Te Ara I Whiti/ Lightpath (aka the Pink Path).
- At the end of Lightpath cross Nelson St and cross again at Union St to stay on the Nelson St Cycleway. You follow this all the way down through Market Place (where NZI is) towards the Viaduct Basin. At the end is Headquarters, not a bad place for a bite to eat and/or a well-earned beer/wine/whatever.
- Once you’ve refuelled, take a slow and considerate ride through the Viaduct to get back to where you started. Hopefully you didn’t run out of battery and had a great time! Congratulate yourself and companions, you done a bit over 40km.
If you need assistance
Bike shops along the way:
- Evolution Cycles – Quay St – open 7 days
- Bikes & Barbers (ebike specialist) – Davis Crescent Newmarket – open Mon-Sat
- Electric Bike Hub (ebike specialist) – 29 East St Te Ara I Whiti/Lightpath – open Mon-Sat
- Mt Eden Cycles – 66 Mt Eden Rd – open 7 days
- Rouleur Cycles – 41 Selwyn St Onehunga – open 7 days
In case of an accident involving serious injury, call 111