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I’m sharing my secret spots of Parnell, an inner city suburb of Auckland, with a scenic walk that you won’t have done before. I’m an explorer at heart, and even when I’m working, I explore at lunchtime to find the hidden spots in a city.
This route will take you through bush, past charming wooden houses, see views of the skytower and cityscape, past the sunday french markets and finish with plenty of food options.
Time: 1 hour leisurely walk
- Expect plenty of hills and a dirt track at the start.
- Best done with daylight as there are a few unlit parts.
- The walk starts and finished along Parnell Road, which is the Inner and Outer Link route.
- If driving there are Wilson carparks and the odd spot on the side roads.
Take the right path
Walk to this sign and go down the driveway
Down these steps
- Start by going down Gibraltar Crescent, next to Biskit Cafe, and you will see the sign saying Auckland Domain, Ngahere Terrace Entrance. Walk down this steep path and under the railway tracks. They are clearing this area and I’m curious to see what they end up doing… apartments or railway station?
- Walk up the bush path and take a right where the sign says ‘Stanley St’.
- When you come to 3 paths, follow the sign that says ‘Domain walk’. You are walking on a dirt path between the road and the railway track through dense bush. It’s a mixture of native plants and oak trees with plenty of birds.
- At the fork, take the right path.
- When you see the road, turn right and go down what feels like a driveway.
- Take the first left down some steps.
- Turn left down Nicholls Lane, then right along Carlaw Park Ave, past the petrol station, and under the railway bridge.
- Cross the road and you’ll see Fraser Park. Augustus Terrace has great photo opportunities of the city, the Port and even Rangitoto Island. It’s worth a walk to the top of Fraser Park for another good view of Auckland city. If you are wanting a break at this point, there is a pub called 46 & York at the top of Fraser Park. Walk along Augustus Terrace and keep going to the end where there are steps going down Augustus Terrace Walkway.
- At the bottom of the stairs, turn right and keep following the path as it takes you onto St Georges Bay Rd. Keep walking down this road to the cul de sac. On Sundays there are fantastic French Markets called La Cigale. Marques are set-up and there is an inside area with plenty of tasty food.
- Carry on beyond the cul de sac and you will see a sign for Scarborough Reserve. If you are feeling energetic, there is another hidden park further along St Georges Bay Rd, called Alberon Reserve. It’s a tiny entrance by number 55. Very secluded with an open grassy area and trails through the bush. Happy exploring!
- Walk down the Scarborough Reserve path, through the reserve and the path will take you between two houses. It feels like you are trespassing, but this is right. Carry on up to Denby St and you are back where you started on Parnell Road.
View to the Port
Food & Drink
There are plenty of food and drink options along Parnell Road. If you can’t decide:
- NSP | Great courtyard for a drink or authentic Italian food. Try their pizza!
- Burger Fuel | Fanatic burgers. I recommend the chips, mmmm.
- Woodpecker Hill | A trendy bar/restaurant where the yummy mommies meet during the weekday. Funky interior.
- Movenpick | If you’re hot after the walk and need a cooling ice cream.
Other activities in the area
- Auckland Museum | For an educational afternoon in the Domain.
- New Market | For some shopping or a movie.
- Rose Gardens | For some more nature time. You get great views of the city and if you walk down the hill, there is a hidden bay.
- Parnell Baths | Next to the Rose Garden for a chance to cool off.
Other Auckland blog posts are about the top Auckland beaches and eating & drinking in Auckland.
Are you willing to give this a try? Any extra suggestions? How long did the walk take you?
I’d love to hear you comments below.