Walking is an ideal way to get around and explore our wonderful city. Walking benefits everyone in the community. It reduces traffic and public transport congestion and creates a healthier lifestyle for all. There is a large number of interesting walks of varying lengths and rigour throughout the neighbourhoods of Auckland.
Auckland’s oldest suburb Parnell is a great neighbourhood for heading off on a walk to discover fascinating streetscapes and history. By following a route that skirts the edge of volcanic craters that have become tidal basins and along dazzling harbourside views, through hidden laneway gems and relaxed village streets, to the very heart of Auckland’s bustling city centre itself, you’ll be able to experience Parnell like a local when you walk.
If you’re looking for a great walk for a weekend outing, combine the Hobson Bay Walkway from Orakei railway station with a walk from Parnell Village to the Auckland CBD and you’ll have more to see and enjoy than you ever thought possible.
The route covers a mix of boardwalk, tidal flats, level and steep paths, steps and suburban and city sidewalks, and is suitable for people of average fitness and mobility.
Orakei station to Resolution Point – 5 km
Park the car at the Orakei railway station and head off along Orakei Road past Kings Plant Barn and onto Auckland Council’s great new boardwalk. The Hobson Bay Walkway will take you past Palmers Garden Centre with the mangroves of the tidal lagoon, which used to be a volcanic crater, on your right.
As you walk along the Hobson Bay Walkway you’ll enjoy great views of three volcanoes – North Head, Mt Victoria and Rangitoto Island. Here you’ll see mangroves and native bush, and a rich array of birdlife, including fantails and shore birds, such as herons, shags and pukeko, which live along the edge of Hobson Bay. Along the way, there are open spaces at Shore Road Reserve, Thomas Bloodwood Park, Awatea Reserve and Point Park, children’s playgrounds and dog off-leash areas.
However, the boardwalks of the Hobson Bay Walkway do not (yet) extend all the way to Resolution Point and the Parnell Baths (New Zealand’s largest seawater swimming pool), which means that being able to do the entire walk along the Hobson Bay shoreline is subject to tidal considerations – check the tides to plan your walk.
Resolution Point to Parnell Road – 2.1 km
From the Parnell Baths, walk along Judges Bay (a side trip up through the old graveyard to St Stephen’s Chapel is well worth it) then up to Gladstone Road via the Parnell Rose Gardens in Dove-Myer Robinson Park. The gardens are at their best between October and April.
At Gladstone Road, head towards the intersection with St Stephens Avenue, where you turn right towards Holy Trinity Cathedral at the intersection with Parnell Road.
Parnell to the CBD – 2.3 km
From the top of Parnell Road head down towards the city. Along the way, you’ll have heaps of cafes and restaurants to choose from for a great lunch or afternoon tea, and plenty of shops to browse through. There are many historical buildings and quaint alleyways to see along the way too. It’s also a great place to stop off and do some people watching over a relaxing drink. Once at the bottom of Parnell Rise, it’s a flat, easy walk along Beach Road into the city centre and Britomart.
All up, this part of the walk is an easy walk along suburban and city sidewalks. How long it takes will depend entirely on how much browsing and shopping you do along the way.
During the working week, Parnell is also an easy walking commute to the CBD, which makes walking a really reliable option to get to work and back, free of traffic jams!
Once you’re in the city centre, simply head to Britomart and catch a train back to Orakei station where you’ll be reunited with your car. We hope you will enjoy your walk and the up-close-and-personal discovery of Parnell.
What else can you do in Parnell?
For our full Parnell directory of galleries, fashion shops, cafes, and restaurants and much more, take a look the at our Local Directory Page on our website.