The Coast to Coast walk is a 10mi/16km hike from one side of Auckland to the other. You get to see all sides of Auckland, from the coast and the heart of the city to mountains to historic neighborhoods. You can start at either end, though it seems most people (myself included) start at Waitemata Harbour. I think I would actually recommend going the other way (Manukau Harbou/Onehunga to Waitemata Harbour) so that you can end your walk in downtown Auckland.
It is a 4-5 hour walk in general. I ended up on the longer side of that because I stopped to eat and take pictures/video, but you could definitely zip through it if you wanted to. There are no terribly difficult parts of the walk, just lots of hills.
Maps & Markers
I would 100% recommend printing off a map or stopping by an information center to grab a free one. While most of the walk is very well marked with yellow or blue signs (depending on which direction you’re headed), there are some sections where the markers have fallen off or are so far apart you can’t really see the next one. For example, there were several times where the sign just pointed toward a huge field or into a park and I just walked in the direction the arrow seemed to be pointing for a surprisingly long time before coming upon the next time. It’s definitely not a big deal, but after walking for 15 minutes and not seeing another sign post I started to wonder if I had missed a turn or something, so having the map definitely provided some reassurance.
I would also recommend having the Auckland Council website linked below open or printed out so that you can read about the history as you go along. I had read through it before hand, but I think it would have been a lot better to read through it as I reached each area.
The Wintergarden – The Wintergarden is not very big at all but the plants inside are quite beautiful so I think it is worth stopping in for a few minutes. The garden is right across the football fields from the Auckland Museum.
- Price: Free
- Open hours: 9:00am – 4:30pm
Auckland War Memorial Museum – I actually didn’t stop in the museum while on this walk because I didn’t have enough money on me, but I did go in a few days later. It is called the war memorial museum, which is fitting given that the top two floors are all about the wars that New Zealand has been engaged in. But even if you don’t have a particular interest in war history, I think you would still enjoy the bottom floor, which is all about the Maori and other native people of Oceania. Entry isn’t cheap, but if you have interest in either topic I’d say it’s worth the price as it is a very well put together museum.
- Price: Adult (international visitor) $25; Child (international visitor) $10
- Open Hours: 10:00am – 5:00pm
Mt. Eden – There is just something crazy about standing on top of a volcano and looking down to just see a bunch of grass (all while knowing that sure it probably won’t blow up now but what if??!) It is a nice little walk up and down, nothing too strenuous. Then at the top you get breathtaking views of Auckland from coast to coast. Even if you don’t decide to do the entire Coast to Coast walk I would definitely recommend taking a hike up Mt. Eden
- Price: Free
- Open Hours: always open
I definitely would have liked to have access to more history while on the walk. If I had had wifi, I suppose I could have done research as I went. But I really think the walk would benefit from a dedicated pamphlet or downloadable audio guide or something similar with more in depth historical information. (After I went on the walk I did a little digging and there seem to be a couple of websites that have created their own guides, so maybe one of them is worthwhile!)
I really enjoyed this walk for the most part. There were some parts that lagged a bit because you just spend a long time walking through neighborhoods with no context, but it’s the only way to get from point A to point B so I get it. I would recommend starting out early in the morning because by the time I got to Onehunga stores and restaurants were already starting to close for the day.
If you have a free day while in Auckland and like to walk, I think the Coast to Coast walk might be a good use of your time. But I can’t say I would choose it over some of the other walks I’ve done while here. So maybe instead, take a look at the path the walk takes, pick out a few highlights that interest you and make your own walk instead.
For more information on the Coast to Coast walk, visit: http://www.aucklandcouncil.govt.nz/en/parksfacilities/walkingtracks/pages/coasttocoast.aspx
Have you done the Auckland Coast to Coast Walk before? Or have any other hikes in Auckland that you would recommend?