Tamaki Drive is rightly famous, but if you want stunning water views without the crowds, look a little further afield and discover the Tamaki Path for your next family bike adventure
Completed in mid-2019, the Tamaki Path is a fabulous greenway that runs for about 4km along the western side of the Tamaki Estuary, from the Panmure Yacht and Boating Club to Point England Reserve, with a further northern section mooted in the near future that would make for a full 5km route all the way to Wai-o-Taiki Bay.
Not only is this a spacious, smooth and uncrowded pathway, it takes you through green spaces with very little traffic and few houses nearby, so at times it feels like you’re not in the city at all.
The path begins at the Panmure Yacht and Boating Club on Kings Rd, and runs northward to Kiano Place, off Taniwha Rd in Glen Innes. There’s also easy access near the middle of the path at the Point England Reserve, which is at the end of Point England Rd.
Heads-up: if your kids are the kind who see a playground and suddenly decide they don’t want to do anything else, be warned there is a great new playground at the Panmure end of the path (in the Mt Wellington Reserve), which handily has new toilets too. That said, you don’t ride directly past the playground, so with a bit of luck and some careful steering, you can work things out so they’ll only spot the playground on the way back.
There’s also a playground (and more toilets) at the Point England Reserve in the middle, if you need a handy carrot to motivate little riders.
The path is lovely and wide and flat the whole way – a great ride for little legs or big. Although it runs alongside the river, in most places there are metres of grass between the path and the estuary, so there’s no need to worry about little kids ending up taking an unplanned swim.
In the one section where the path is right alongside a steep drop to the estuary, a wooden barrier curb has been added to keep small wheels from veering of.
The path has stunning views of the Tamaki estuary, and you’re also rewarded with great views of Maungarei (Mt Wellington) along the way.
The estuary itself is mostly mudflats at low tide, and there are some steps down to the water in places. If you have older children, you might find they see a stream on the mudflats and scramble down the bank to explore, like mine did.
There is a lovely little white sand beach at the Point England Reserve..
Also around the Point England area are lots of picnic tables with views of the water. On one of the days we visited there was a chilly breeze, but with tables in such a variety of spots, you should be able to find at least one that’s sheltered from the wind.
Pack your picnic and BYO thermos of coffee, as this is an old school adventure and you wont find a café near this path. But you will find lovely green spaces, playgrounds, and wide open views of the water.
Ride report by Charmaine Vaughan, who blogs as The Burbs and Beyond, loves exploring and adventuring, and is keen to inspire others to get out and explore far and wide, be it on foot or bike.
A bonus longer ride for more confident adventurers…
If you’re looking for a longer ride, you can join the Tamaki Path to the Pakuranga Rotary Shared Path and ride up and down both sides of the estuary. My husband and I have done this to train for riding the Heaphy Track.
Note: this involves a 1km on-road section in the middle, so use your judgement about what your children can handle if you’re thinking of doing this as a family.
Starting at the south end of the Tamaki Path, head out of Mt Wellington Reserve past the playground, and turn left onto Dunkirk Road, then right onto Kings Rd, left onto Riverview Rd, left again onto Queens Rd, then veer right onto Bridge Rd. This sounds complicated, but is straightforward in practice – you’re basically aiming to stay as close to the river as you can. These are relatively quiet streets.
This brings you to the Pakuranga Highway, where you ride across the famously skinny path on the north side of the Panmure Bridge. Watch for oncoming bike traffic! (Good to know: this will be much improved as part of the AMETI Eastern Busway project, which will add a proper cycleway to the highway, and a whole new bridge at this crossing).
Then once you’re on the eastern side of the estuary, look for signs for the Pakuranga Rotary Shared Path. Access via the boatyards close to the bridge is under construction at the time of writing (July 2019), so we continued to Kerswill Drive and joined the path that way.
The Pakuranga Rotary Shared Path is a wide, flat 9km long path that runs up the eastern side of the Tamaki Estuary and continues to Prince Regent Drive.
(If you’re feeling even more adventurous and are confident with riding on the road, you can continue onward to the ferry terminal at Half Moon Bay Marina, about 1.6km further on. Note: this involves on-road riding, so use your judgement.)