Stretching almost completely around the peninsula, and following the coastline, is a very pleasant rambling walkway. At times it completely disappears in favour of established paths, or the beach when the tide is low, but it can be negotiated by foot, and is well worth the effort. Portions of the track are able to be cycled over by mountain bikes, but with care, as the track is used by families strolling and dog walkers.
I have lived here in the Peninsula for thirteen years now, and my day often starts with a walk along the portion of this track from near the pony club through to the old homestead – the very first on the Peninsula – that overlooks the sea. This homestead has recently been restored to its original condition, and is occupied. Its verandah must present one of the best views of the inner harbor and Auckland city.
The walkway is a popular place for people to walk their dogs, which should be on a lead (signs are displayed requesting that). This area of wetland is a nesting ground for many native birds, such as the New Zealand dotterel, oystercatchers, herons, fern birds, but also on the migratory route for the godwit. The many pukeko strutting around make it easy for tourists who visit the area from overseas to enjoy seeing a large native species.
The storm water ponds that grace this area of the wetlands, add to its charm, surrounded as they are by cabbage trees and other wetland natives. I have files full of photos taken at different seasons of the view incorporating the ponds, harbor and distant cityscape, including Rangitoto and the harbor bridge. For me, it is a place to take a breath and slow down. For others, it can be the ideal place for a morning or evening run. Either way, Te Atatu Peninsula is wonderfully framed and enhanced by the harbor walkway.
There are many paths leading down to this walkway, and depending upon how fit I feel, I take one back up to the shops for a welcome coffee after my stroll. There are a few cafes in the main shops – my personal favourite is Fuze – and one café down nearer the pony club and Rutherford College. Luscious Foodstore is large enough to cater to the cycling groups who pass through the Peninsula on their way to West Auckland. It also has a great playground for children. (More on the café culture in later articles).
The entire circuit of walkways around the Peninsula could be rambled by foot in one to two hours, depending upon your speed. They don’t join up, so be prepared to cross and walk down streets to return to your car.
Checkout the Te Atatu Peninsula walkway.