Silia, Caleb, and NillyIf you’re biking with kids, or getting into riding for the first time, or getting back into riding after a while, you’ll be looking for small, manageable rides. Loading bikes on the car to get to an off-road trail is one option, but there are also plenty of adventures to be had in your own backyard.

Plus, so many of the car journeys that Aucklanders make are local trips of 5km or less – to the shops, to school, to visit friends. Try doing these outings on a bike, and you’ll discover things in your neighbourhood you’ve never noticed before.

We’ve compiled a list of great local places to ride, with insider tips for fun and shortcuts contributed by readers.

The suburbs are listed alphabetically within each region:

Central, North, East, South, West

We note the relevant Auckland Transport local map alongside.

If your part of town isn’t here, it should be! Tell us where’s good in your hood, and we’ll add it to the list.

Central

Avondale

(Central Map)
Avondale Map: Learn to Ride Track

Beginners’ park ride:

  • A circuit of Eastdale or Riversdale Reserves
  • Try the new learn-to-bike park at 10 Racecourse Rd.

First quiet streets:

  • East of Rosebank has lots of quiet roads; a few good links through parks, too.
  • To get to the Racecourse for the Sunday Market on quiet(er) roads using light-controlled crossings, try Mead Street, Maple Street, Riversdale Road and Wairau Ave OR Holly Street and Highbury Street. A great excuse to splash out on some panniers or a trailer!
  • A boardwalk stitch linking Heron Park and Holly Street is coming soon.

Great destinations: How close to the Whau can you ride? Look across the other side and start exploring there, too, especially as Te Whau Greenway comes into focus. Also, easy to catch the train to all sorts of other places.

Insider tip: For a quiet route to the town centre, it’s possible to cycle through the racecourse from the petrol station on Ash Street (where there is a pedestrian crossing) to Elm Street or Racecourse Parade, except that the last 100m are on gravel which isn’t fun. From that pedestrian crossing you can get all the way to Fonteyn Street avoiding Rosebank Road by going along Wairau Ave, Riversdale Road, Riversdale Reserve, Kiritoa Street, Orchard Reserve, Avondale Road then the path to Fonteyn Reserve.

Going under the Whau bridge at Ash Street you can go along the boardwalk to Tony Sedgin Reserve and then to Riversdale Road. The Whau bridge also connects to the new path in Ken Maunder Park and will eventually connect to Te Whau Pathway north, or south to Olympic Park or Rizal Reserve and Wingate Street and a quiet route to the town centre.

Join the crowd: Bike Avondale is on Facebook.

Ellerslie

(Central Map)

Beginners’ park ride:

  • Waiatarua Reserve. A reasonably flat gravel tracked park. Access off Abbotts Way and Grand Drive. This is perfect for first time off-road riders, even kids. Mind the dog walkers and the couple of slippery bridges.
  • If you are looking for sealed paths, head to Michaels Ave Reserve (access off Michaels Ave).

First quiet streets:

  • Stonefields has some quiet streets on the borders.
  • Celtic Cres (walkway access through to Waiatarua Reserve, across the busy Abbotts Way).

Insider tip: For new commuters heading to downtown, Remuera Rd has a T3 lane along some of its length. I find this better than heading through Greenlane (which is manic with traffic). Avoid the Ellerslie-Panmure highway at all cost, it’s a rolling, fast 4-lane nightmare. Use Marua Rd instead.

Freemans Bay

(Central Map)

Beginners’ park ride:

  • Victoria Park
  • The Bikes in Schools learn-to-ride track at Freemans Bay School.

First quiet streets:

  • Cross Victoria Park, travel down to Wynyard Quarter and ride the Westhaven Promenade.

Insider tip: You are so close to safe riding to downtown! Cross Beaumont St; take the shared path around the Victory Church; and you can use the glass bridge to sail over the motorway – a lift at the Westhaven end takes bikes up & down. Then it’s along the waterfront, all the way to St Heliers if you like!

Grey Lynn

(Central Map)

Beginners’ park ride:

  • Grey Lynn Park (although maybe not on a league or touch tournament day!)
  • Cox’s Bay Park.

First quiet streets:

Grey Lynn is pretty up and down, but local family bunch the Grey Lynn Cycle Club Juniors have plotted an excellent flat route through parks and shortcuts. Inspiring for what you could find in your backyard!

greylynncycleclubjuniors
Insider tip: There’s a safe route heading to downtown from Grey Lynn Park – turn up the hill under Huia Taylor’s sculpture ‘on the backs of others’ (a gateway with the words Te Rimu, featuring among other things a brilliant motopaiki warrior); and then head up the valley to get to Ponsonby Rd via quiet Rose Rd. It’s uphill, but it’s quiet, and it’ll get you there. Cox’s Bay Park has links to side streets, including one to Nottingham St which gives you a quiet link to Pt Chevalier (although Meola Rd is a bit of a gauntlet)

Join the crowd: Bike Grey Lynn is on Facebook!

Kohimaramara

(Central Map)

Beginners’ park ride:

  • Madill’s Farm

First quiet streets:

  • Tamaki Drive, to bike in the sunrise or off into the sunset!
  • Quiet paths around Speight Rd

Mt Roskill/Puketapapa

Hinaki bridge, Mt Roskill War Memorial Park
Hinaki bridge, Mt Roskill War Memorial Park

(Central Map)

Beginners’ park ride:

  • Underwood, Walmsley, Memorial Parks – over 2km of amazing paths, and more coming with the tunnel works and the greenway.

First quiet streets:

  • Residential areas between the main roads
  • Try on the flat near Wesley School

Insider tip: You can access the Dominion Road (low traffic) parallel route from the Hinaki bridge near Gifford Ave.

Join the crowd: PATH, the Puketapapa Active Transport Haven is run by our longtime committee member and former local board chair, Richard Barter.

Onehunga

Onehungalongview (Central Map)

Beginners’ park ride:

  • There is a nice loop path around the Onehunga lagoon next to the motorway on Beachcroft Ave. Lots of distractions for little ones including a beach and playground. The paths are nice and smooth but watch out for for smelly surprises that the dogs leave behind. It’s nice and flat apart for the ramps down to the beach.

First quiet streets:

  • The Onehunga foreshore restoration has opened up the foreshore side and also Mangere Bridge, using the bridge over the motorway to Orpheus Drive.

Insider tips: There is a path from the end of Onehunga Mall to the junction with Mangere Bridge, which also connects to the foreshore path heading East, which goes past Waikaraka Cemetery all the way to Southdown. Check out AT’s info on paths in both directions.

Point Chevalier

(Central Map)

Beginners’ park ride:

  • Around Walker Park paths.
  • Head over to Western Springs to bike around the lake between the zoo and MOTAT (go mid-week after school if you want the place to yourself).
  • There’s a small bike track at Pasadena Intermediate School.
  • Eventually there will be a boardwalk connecting Eric Armishaw Park to Waterview.

First quiet streets:

  • Nice and quiet around Walker Park on non-sports days.
  • Streets north of Meola, all the way up to Coyle Park.
  • Harbour View Rd is quiet.

Great destinations:

  • Connect to the Northwestern cycleway and follow your nose west or east as far as you like.

Insider tip: The seaside path is developing as part of the Waterview tunnel works. Head to the end of Montrose Rd on the way back from the shops, and see how far they have got along the coast.

Tamaki Drive

(Central and Eastern Maps)ebreezerrangitoto

Tamaki Drive shared path just has to be included as the best safe place to ride a bike for all the eastern suburbs from Orakei to Kohimarama and St Heliers. The path is popular at weekends and can seem crowded, but Aucklanders are learning big-city attitudes to sharing our city promenades and enjoying the vibe. It’s quiet outside peak times. Locals and visitors of all ages enjoy cruising the beautiful Waitemata waterfront, or riding to city beaches, the Parnell baths, parks and playgrounds, places to eat and attractions. Plus there are 3 options for hiring bikes to get started or take along friends.

Waterview

(Central Map)

Beginners’ park rides:

  • Any day now, Waterview Reserve will be returned to the public post-motorway works.
  • Heron Park has paths, but may be too steep for smaller riders.

First quiet streets:

  • Everything west of Great North Road. Oakley Ave even has two bike bypasses for the traffic calming chicanes.
  • There is a nice newly restored path meandering along the shore going from the remnants of Waterview Reserve to Howlet Reserve and Howlet Street, but it is very steep in a couple of places so better for walking.
  • On the east side of Great North Road there is a shared path connecting to the NW cycleway, which eventually will cross over Oakley Creek and go through Unitec to Mt Albert to connect to the SH20 cycleway. Although Oakley Creek is a lovely spot the path is very narrow and busy with foot traffic, so can be a useful shortcut at quiet times, but is not generally recommended for cycling. If you don’t mind carrying a bike down steps there are a couple of bridges over Oakley Creek, to Unitec, or from the corner of Blockhouse Bay Road and Great North Road over to Phyllis Street Reserve or Harbutt Reserve.

Tip: there is a bridge between the end of Fir Street and the corner of Saxon Street.

North

Albany

(Northern Map)

Beginners’ park ride:

  • A good place for beginners to practice is the bike path on the other side of the road from Mega Mitre 10, which goes all the way to Gills Rd, with a bridge across the stream.
  • There’s a lot of green space behind Massey University; parks with footpaths that are fun to ride for kids and beginners.
  • Check out this secret back route between Albany and Unsworth Heights, including a tunnel under the motorway!
Greville Rd bike track (pic via Stuff.co.nz)
Greville Rd bike track (pic via Stuff.co.nz)

Campbells Bay & Surrounds

(Northern Map)

Beginners’ park ride:

Quite a few, but not linked by easy, non-hilly routes, so kids will need mum & dad to transport you there. These include:

  • The new learn-to-bike track at Greville Reserve, top of Forrest Hill Road
  • The skate/BMX update to Forrest Hill Skate Park
  • Sunnynook Park has a nice flat circuit round the park and a few thrills at the skate bowl.
  • At Unsworth Reserve, you can go through the park and under Upper Harbour Highway using the tunnel to Rosedale Park.
  • Normanton Reserve has a great little circuit that kids can hoon around while parents sit with a coffee. Perfect for a kids’ bike birthday party!
  • Marlborough Park has a bit of a circuit that the kids can go around, plus a great skate park for any type of wheels.
  • The local primary school, Campbells Bay Primary, is great for scooters and bikes, but no skateboards please!

First quiet streets:

  • Not that many quiet roads and lots of hills, but kids enjoy the ride across Pupuke Golf Course, and the 5km downhill shared path all the way down Forrest Hill Road to Smales Farm or Takapuna for an icecream. (Normally met by a car pickup as 4km uphill was a killer on single-speed bikes!)

Riding to school – down the hill, up the hill and a little bit of flat along Aberdeen Road to the great bike sheds at Campbells Bay Primary.

Great destinations nearby:

  • Hobsonville Point – trying to link all the tracks I know to get there safely with the kids.
  • Paremoremo Reserve has a little bit of offload, and a BMX track for the more advanced.
  • North Harbour BMX track on Bush Road, Albany: great fun to race your mates.

Insider tip: See Bike Friendly North Shore for more info.

devonport-library-childrens-area-supplied-auckland-council
Devonport library

Devonport

(Northern Map)

Beginners’ park ride:

  • The flatter parts of the Green Route
  • The shared path along King Edward Parade
  • Alongside the golf course from Plunket to Narrow Neck

First quiet streets:

  • Bayswater or Cheltenham
  • Around the Navy sports fields

Insider tips: The new library is absolutely beautiful. And, bikes go free on the Devonport Ferry!

Join the crowd: Bike Devonport is on Facebook.

Northcote

(Northern Map)

Beginners park ride:

  • Onepoto Reserve – note there’s a new boardwalk since that article was written
  • The path around the Tuff Crater is a hidden treasure

East

Beachlands

(Eastern Map)

Beginners’ park ride:

  • Te Puru reserve
  • When you are ready for hills, some gorgeous views in Leigh Auton reserve

First quiet streets:

  • All those 1st, 2nd and ….view Aves are brilliant.

Great destinations: Cross the Te Puru bridge, walk up the hill; follow the perimeter path of Omana Park to the Esplanade; take Tracey’s walk to Maraetai.

Insider tip: You can get the ferry to downtown – but only midweek in winter.

Howick

(Eastern Map)

Beginners’ park ride:

  • Around Howick Domain – maybe ‘the hard’ above Howick Beach in winter

First quiet streets:

  • All are pretty car-infested or lumpy. Possibly Drake, Baird, Moore circuit?

Insider tip: Get the map and explore the off-road routes from Somerville to Highland Park.

Pakuranga

(Eastern Map)

Beginners’ park ride:

  • The Pakuranga Rotary shared path is a ripper. Flat, family-friendly, an example of what we could have all over the city along our waterfronts. All along its length there are connections to local streets via walkways between houses.

Insider tip: Visitors can arrive via the Half Moon Bay Ferry rather than bringing bikes on the car. There is a walkway from directly opposite the ferry terminal up to Compass Point Way, and then there is another walkway from the coast through to Clyde Ave, and from there you can go on back roads all the way to where the Rotary path starts.

Tamaki

(Central and Eastern Maps)

Beginners’ park ride:

First quiet streets: Please tell us!

Insider tip: Get to Panmure Bridge the back way – Riverview Drive & you can ride the Rotary shared path on the other side of the Tamaki River

South

Mangere

(Southern Map)

Beginners’ park rides:

  • Mangere Centre Park

Join the crowd: Triple Teez in Mangere. Keep Teau in mind if you’re looking for a new home for an old bike, or a chance to lend a hand. Contact him directly: 022 360 5748

A picnic at Ambury Park
A picnic at Ambury Park

Mangere Bridge

(Central & Southern Maps)

Beginners’ park ride:

  • Along The Esplanade; out through Ambury Farm Park

First quiet streets:

  • Away from The Esplanade – maybe around Waterlea School?

Insider tip: See also tips for Onehunga, above, as you can get there easily on a bike via the Old Mangere Bridge or the bike path under the New Mangere Bridge. That’s right – you can travel car-free right over both Mangere Bridges, to reach Onehunga (station) or the Upper Manukau shared path, from where you can travel almost entirely off road to Sylvia Park via the cycleway between the SE Highway & Mutukaroa Park.

Papatoetoe

(Southern Map)

Beginners’ park ride:

  • Kingswood Road Reserve on Great South Road has a carpark, fields, and a cycle path, and also connects to Hunters Plaza shopping centre.

West

Henderson

Twin Streams without training wheels
Twin Streams

(Western Map)

Beginners’ park ride:

  • Both Twin Streams routes – Opanuku/Oratia streams and Henderson Creek.

First quiet streets:

  • At the southwestern end of the Opanuku Stream cycleway the path continues on to a nice quiet residential area plus a playground for the kids. It’s very flat but there is a big hill you can cycle up if you feel so inclined (pun intended)

Insider tip: If on the Opanuku Cycleway, walk your bike up Stevies Lane and you can do your #quaxing at WestCity. If coming from the Oratia Cycleway you have easy access to Waitakere Mega Centre or you can take the bridge to Pioneer St and ride down Catherine St to get to WestCity. Along the western end of the Opanuku cycleway you can ride up Misty Valley Drive to get to the dairy for a refreshment.

Local jaunts: You can cycle all the way to Triangle Road without leaving the cycleway. This means with just one short bit on the road in Te Atatu South (soon to be unnecessary) you can go to Te Atatu Peninsula, Westhaven or even St Heliers. You could even take the ferry to go further afield. If you’re tired on the way back, you can take the train from Britomart to Henderson.

A recent discovery is that you can take the new cycleway to the SH16 Lincoln Road interchange and once you’ve crossed it, go along Selwood Rd which ends at the Henderson Creek boat ramp. Make sure you bring maps along, some parts of the cycleway between Henderson and the Northwestern Motorway can be very confusing.

Henderson Valley

(Western Map)

Beginners’ park ride:

  • It’s not a park as such but it can be fun to ride around Henderson Valley Primary School after hours.

First quiet streets:

  • There are a few hills but Gum Road would be my choice.
  • Grassmere Road is also nice but short.

Insider tip: Auckland Transport (or the Henderson Massey Local Board) was once considering extending the Twin Streams Cycleway to Candia Road. Let them know you’d use this and hopefully some day the “last mile” will be improved.

Local jaunts: If you want to go anywhere you are going to have to either ride on the road or use the footpath which is mostly full of potholes. Make it to the Twin Streams Cycleway and it’s mostly easy going to Henderson.

Massey/Royal Heights

Beginners’ park ride:

  • Moire Park has a kids off-road track, suitable for under-7s.

New Lynn

(Central & West Maps)

First quiet streets:

  • Nice shared path along Rankin Ave and part of Margan, although it doesn’t go very far.
  • Arawa St is very quiet and fairly cycle friendly.

Insider tips:

  • Bike parking is available outside the mall, library and supermarkets.
  • To connect to adventures further afield, New Lynn Transport Centre and Fruitvale Rd train stations are in the area, with bike parking and lockers at New Lynn.

Te Atatu Peninsula

Getting ready for the Te Atatu Santa Parade...
Getting ready for the Te Atatu Santa Parade…

(Western Map)
Beginners’ park ride:

  • Perimeter path around Te Atatu Park – access via Neil Ave or Matipo Rd. Flat with a couple of teeny hills.
  • Peninsula Primary School grounds on a weekend.

First quiet streets:

  • Peachgrove Rd – fairly close to what a quite safe street should be.
  • The waterfront path – from Harbourview Rd to Karemoana Drive Flat; quietish streets around Cellermans St/ Vinograd Drive/ Danica Esplanade (+ playground!)

Insider tips:

  • You can almost ride around the tip of the peninsula (just a few steps to carry your bike up!).
  • Sneak a swim at high tide at the end of Kelvin Crescent/ Beach Rd or at Harbourview Park.
  • Ride a bike and get a discount at Yoga/Pilates, Luscious Food Store, Greens, and Casa del Gelato.
  • Easy access to NW cycleway and Twin Streams cycleway.

Join others: Bike Te Atatu are leading the way – check them out on Facebook. Be part of their crew at the annual Santa parade, a local highlight!


Remember, we’re always looking for more local tips – so if you know of great places for beginners to ride in your neighbourhood, please share the knowledge!