Where to go on your next bike ride in Auckland

Alec Tang helps lead sustainability efforts in Auckland. On Mother’s Day, he popped his kids in the bike trailer for a bit of fresh air, and to get them out of Mum’s hair.

It’s a running joke that my daily ride to work is just a ploy for a bit of green-cred in my job. In truth, I’ve been a fan since UK school days, when I did the daily seven-kilometre round trip on my Raleigh Yukon. Now, I’m getting my own kids enthused, too. A two-kid bike trailer gave us a kickstart, and now Callum (4) has his own two-wheeler and Reese (2) has a hand-me-down balance bike. It’s also been a great way to get both kids adventuring out of the house without stranding their mum at home without the car.  

Park life
Onehunga to Cornwall Park

A jaunt through Cornwall Park is a must. I’m not going to lie, there’s no easy route up the hill from Onehunga, particularly when towing two small kids. But that’s what bike gears are for. We cut across Tawa Road and up Rawhiti to avoid the bigger hills and the heavier traffic on Campbell Road. Then, a loop via Bollard Ave/Twin Oaks Drive/Olive Grove. There’s masses of green space to explore, but we made a beeline for the kids’ favourite: fluffies and a gingerbread man at the Cornwall Park Cafe, followed by some prodigious imagineering around the bandstand

 

Fishing hot spot
Cornwall Park to Old Māngere Bridge

Having successfully defended the ballerina on the bandstand from a marauding T-Rex, I managed to entice them away with the promise of fishing off the old Māngere Bridge. It’s all downhill via Onehunga Mall to the bridge (albeit a little sketchily busy at the industrial end near the motorway). We then joined the shared cycleway-footpath that connects the Waikaraka Cycleway and old Māngere Bridge to the new Taumanu Reserve on the Onehunga foreshore. On the old bridge, we tried our luck among the more experienced wharf fishermen. No nibbles – but an apple each extended the kids’ attention span.

 

Good views
Kiwi Esplanade to Ambury Park

The ride along Kiwi Esplanade to Ambury Regional Park has to be one of the most unexpectedly picturesque in Auckland, with views across the Manukau Harbour towards Maungakiekie. The off-road path is great for learner riders, with bays and occasional playgrounds to motivate their little legs. We found a ‘back door’ entrance to Ambury Park: a gate (just wide enough for the bike trailer) leading to a gravel path into the working farm at the heart of the regional park. We did some gentle off-roading, visited the animals – most of which you can see from your bike – and picnicked.

 

Waikōwhai boardwalk and Taumanu Reserve
From Ambury Park to the beach

With everyone fed and watered, we started for home. The kids conked out in the trailer – so while they napped and recharged, I decided I might as well just keep going. I headed around the water to inspect the recently completed Waikōwhai boardwalk along the base of the Hillsborough cliffs. I bumped along over the boardwalk rumble strips, no doubt designed to add traction in the wet and to slow cyclists on the shared path. The rumble roused my little passengers, so we headed back to the Taumanu Reserve beaches, where the kids proceeded to do what kids do on the beach.

 

Homeward bound
One last pit stop

With the autumn sun losing its punch and the sea breeze picking up, I convinced the kids to head home with the promise of treats en route. We crossed the Taumanu Reserve bridge to the Onehunga Bay Reserve, where the model boats were out on the lagoon; the exciting cable-wakeboarders were finished for the day. In search of somewhere to park a bike plus trailer, we went to the Onehunga Cafe [259 Onehunga Mall], which has ample bike parking. Hot chips, juice and shakes – then home to relay the day’s excitement to a well-rested Mum.

 

Sunday Ride is brought to you by Bike Auckland, the non-profit that advocates to get more people on bikes. Visit bikeauckland.org.nz for cycleway developments, bike events and resources.