While we are working at Adventure Riding NZ to bring together the NZ Back Country Discovery Route, it is a pain in the backside to figure out how to get through Auckland with the less possible pain. While the domestic or international adventure riders are looking for much as possible gravel and off-road rides, it is impossible to just jump over Auckland. Especially if you are from overseas, it would be silly to ignore it.
Last Saturday I put together an “Auckland in a Nut Shell” tour to guide the keen adventure rider through some of the notable spots of Auckland. While you cannot find gravel rides in the city, I still made an effort to put as less as possible motorway riding into the tour.
The GPX file
Click here for the GPX file
So, here we go with the description of the tour:
The route start from Achilles Point just after St. Heliers. Achilles Point is named after a ship called HMNZS Achilles which defeated the German pocket battleship Admiral Graf Spee in 1939. You can get a good view from here almost all the places I will mention below.
Mission Bay is a seaside suburb with a small beach and a number of restaurants, cafe, pubs and other eateries. There is also a park where you can enjoy your takeaway coffee and breakfast if you start the tour at the morning.
One Tree Hill
One of the spots where you need to be careful, because you can run into sheep or cow in the middle of the road in the city. You can get a good view of almost all of Auckland from here, The one Tree Hill Domain together with the Cornwall Park is one of the largest parks in Auckland.
Named after George Eden, 1st Earl of Auckland it is an almost perfect cone of a dormant volcano whose summit is the highest natural point on the Auckland isthmus (196m). If you ride to the top of the hill, you will be at a higher elevation than the revolving restaurant of Sky Tower :-) You also can find a bunch of cafe, other eating places and small shops along Mt Eden Road.
The Auckland Domain and the Auckland War Memorial Museum
The museum is definitely a place to visit if you are interested in the history of New Zealand (with a focus on the Auckland area), natural history and military history. Also recommended to visit the Wintergardens with the Fernery and the two large glasshouses.
While I titled this section after the tallest building of the Auckland CBD, the route goes through the whole CBD, and the following places can be mentioned along the route (with no particular order).
- Auckland Art Gallery
- The CBD waterfront
- Albert Park
- St Patrick’s Cathedral
- Viaduct Harbour
- Wynyard Quater
- Queen Street
Devonport is a relatively old harbourside suburb of Auckland at the end of a peninsula. Devonport has been compared to Sausalito, California due to its setting and scenery. You can also find the home base of the Royal New Zealand Navy here. Ride up to the top of Mt Victoria for a good over-view of the area and take your time to cruise along the promenade or the small streets with old villas. The small shops and cafes can offer a good place for a break on your tour.
East Coast Bays
From Devonport you head to the north through the East Coast Bays. Many small picturesque beaches, bays and town centers along the way. Take your time and do not hesitate to stop for taking photos or just to enjoy the view.
The end of this route is Long Bay. The coastline is occupied by the Long Bay Regional Park, and the shoreline is the Long Bay Marine Reserve, which opened in 1995. The beach is sandy and swimming is safe. It offers forest walks and scenic cliffs. It is a good place to have a longer break before you are heading to your next stop. Riding through all of Auckland is not as easy as it seems at first look and will definitely will take more time than what you think at first.
I hope you will enjoy your ride through Auckland, and don’t hesitate to drop us a message through our contact page or ask questions or recommendations on the Adventure Riding NZ forums.