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Waitakere Ranges
Waitakere Ranges

Waitakere Ranges

Free admission
Waitakere Ranges, Auckland

The Basics

Formed by eruptions from the underwater Waitakere Volcano millions of years ago, the vibrantly forested Waitakere Ranges run for 15 miles (24 kilometers) from Manukau Harbor to the suburb of Waitakere north of Auckland, with peaks reaching 1,400 feet (427 meters). If you’re a hiker or are just looking to get out of the city for a bit, the hills have a number of bush trails—from short loop tracks to multi-day treks—for all fitness and experience levels. You can walk to several large dams deep in the Ranges, like the Upper Nihotupu Dam and the Huia Dam; keep your eyes peeled for waterfalls along the way. Intrepid hikers can try the Hillary Trail, a 46-mile (74-kilometer) trek that runs from Muriwai to Titirangi, passing through Piha. On all tracks, watch for native insects, birds, and bats—the bats in the Waitakere Ranges are New Zealand’s only native land-based mammals.

In addition to full-day walking tours from Auckland, the regional park is also popular with sightseeing tours that stop here while exploring Auckland or New Zealand’s West Coast. The lookout on Scenic Drive offers panoramic views of Auckland, or peer out over the forbidding West Coast beaches from Te Henga Walkway.

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Recent reviews from experiences in Auckland

star-5
Hazel was Great
Peter_S, Mar 2020
Waitakere Ranges Guided Walk from Auckland
We went on the Waitakere Ranges Time Unlimited tour with Hazel. The tour was great and Hazel was an incredible guide. This was a highlight of our trip to New Zealand.
star-5
Excellent guide to Waitakere
kws_sg, Dec 2019
Waitakere Ranges Guided Walk from Auckland
Neill took care of my family very well. He was knowledgeable and excellent in explaining Maorian origins and meanings to the local landscape and traditions. Despite inclement weather, he was able to make the best out of the trip, which resulted in a truly unforgettable experience.
star-5
This was one of the best tours we...
blessmyhome7, Oct 2016
Waitakere Ranges Guided Walk from Auckland
This was one of the best tours we did while in Auckland. We had an awesome tour guide whose family is Maori, so she had all sorts of forklore stories and information on the politics of the area. It is a long day with alot to see and take in, but worth the price. A great bargain. I would do this tour again just for the scenery of the beachhead and the picnic lunch we had at the waterfall.
star-5
This was an excellent and highly...
CLAUDE NORMAN N, Oct 2015
Waitakere Ranges Guided Walk from Auckland
This was an excellent and highly personalized experience with a small group. The perfect choice of guided walks made us possible for us to discover a range of extraordinary landscapes. Our guide, Neil, was very friendly, very knowledgeable and well-organized. We highly recommend this tour to discover the Auckland area!

Things to Know Before You Go

  • The Waitakere Ranges are ideal for outdoor adventurers and nature lovers.

  • Many of the Waitakere Ranges tracks are closed to protect the native forest from kauri dieback disease. Contact the Arataki Visitors Centre to see which tracks are open when you want to visit.

  • Marked by a 36-foot (11-meter) Maoripou (carved post), the Arataki Visitors Centre on Scenic Drive is full of information about the area’s history and ecology—and also offers grand views of nearby Symonds Bay. The park rangers here can help you pick out treks and tell you about the don’t-miss sights.

  • There is limited mobility access at the Arataki Visitors Centre and in the park. A wheelchair accessible track links Arataki with Titirangi Village.

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How to Get There

Auckland’s public transport network doesn’t reach the Waitakere Ranges, so your best bet is to drive. From central Auckland, follow the Northwestern Motorway to Great North Road. Turn right at Blockhouse Bay Road onto Ash Street, then follow that road (which changes name twice, to Rata Street and Titirangi Road) through Titirangi until you reach the Scenic Drive turnoff.

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When to Get There

The Waitakere Ranges offer stunning, uninterrupted views of the Tasman Sea, Auckland, and nearby beaches, so it’s best to visit in summer and fall to avoid fog, rain, or flash flooding.

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Best Walks in the Waitakere Ranges

While many of Waitakere’s bush trails have closed to prevent the spread of kauri dieback disease, some tracks are still open. That includes a lot of picturesque coastal walks like the Whatipu Caves Track, the Kakamatua Beach Walk, the Tasman Lookout Track, and the Te Henga Walkway.

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