A walk in Auckland is a great way to spend an afternoon, or maybe the day! The streets in Auckland rise and fall in elevation, providing a little challenge here and there. If you have a start and finish destination, you can plan to make several stops in between to rest your weary legs if you need to.
I recently spent a day in Auckland exploring the city from Parnell, through to Ponsonby. I started out with some tasty vegan food at Kaiaroha in Parnell, then explored Parnell Road a little before setting off towards the Ponsonby. In between, I found parks, city streets, the art gallery and local neighbourhoods to explore, and loads of views of the city center and Sky Tower Auckland.
It was an easy 5.5 mile walk in Auckland, and if you have time on your hands to explore outside of the city center, then I’d totally recommend spending the afternoon (or longer) wandering the streets this way!
I went out without my camera, so all images are from my phone, but all the same, I’m happy to share – if you’d like to check out a suggested itinerary and some images of what there is to see on this walk in Auckland, then please scroll on, or pin here for later!
An inner city Auckland suburb, Parnell is an easy 20-25 minute walk from the CBD and is known as one of the more affluent suburbs in Auckland. . This area is renowned for its upscale boutiques, shopping, cafes and restaurants.
I started my day at Kaiaroha, a cute little vegan cafe just off Parnell Road. This little cafe is on the ground floor of a high rise that’s totally eco-friendly. The cafe itself offers freshly cooked menu items, as well as a range of pre-prepped foods that an be heated to eat on site, or for take out. They have a cheese larder on site as well. I’d love to find a friend and return to share the vegan cheese platter some time!
After lunch, I was keen to set out on my walk towards Ponsonby, so I only explored in the vicinity of Parnell Road, but still enjoyed some lovely sights along the way.
If you have extra time to spend around Parnell, then you could easily branch out a little and explore the neighboring streets. Here’s what else you should look out for:
- Auckland Domain – just a few blocks back from Parnell Road, the domain is Auckland’s oldest park, and home to the Auckland War Memorial Museum and the Wintergardens as well as a pond, and many magnificent mature trees throughout the 200 acre domain.
- La Cigale Weekend French Market – inspired by the fabulous food markets of France, the La Cigale market is held every Saturday and Sunday morning.
- Parnell Farmers Market – this market is held in the Jubilee Building car park every Saturday morning. Visit to pick up fresh seasonal produce direct from the producers.
Between Parnell & the CBD
On this portion of the walk, I enjoyed walking up Constitution Hill under the plane trees, as well as the stroll along Waterloo Quadrant alongside the University of Auckland campus which has some impressive older buildings facing the road). Albert Park and making my way to the Auckland Art Gallery.
If you’re going to do this walk in Auckland, then make sure you include these parks, to enjoy the green space and the spectacular, old trees through these spaces!
If you have extra time along this part of the walk, here’s what you should look out for:
- Explore Albert Park – a former military fortification built on the previous site of Te Horotiu pa. Wander the pathways and check out the Victoria fountain as well as the various statues and memorials in the park. Don’t miss the Gateway sculpture at the entrance near Victoria Street.
- If you’re in need of refreshments by this time, there are loads of cute cafes to check out around Kitchener Street & Lorne Street.
Auckland Art Gallery – Toi o Tamaki
The art gallery is a wonderful stop but depending on your schedule, it might be better to save this for another day. I’m including it here, in case you need to fit as much into your day as possible. The gallery, located on the edge of Albert Park is the primary art gallery in Auckland and has the most comprehensive collection of national and international art in New Zealand.
I really wanted to visit to check out some New Zealand art, and I wasn’t disappointed. There’s several visiting exhibitions, but the regular collections were also exceptional, with some especially excellent examples of art from Maori and Pacific Island artists.
The temporary exhibition of work by Louise Henderson, a French born, New Zealand artist was also worthwhile. Although abstract art is not generally my preferred style, I really enjoyed exploring the development of Ms. Henderson’s style throughout her career.
Note: The Auckland Art Gallery offers free entry to New Zealand residents, and charges an entry fee to international visitors. It’s a worthwhile visit either way.
Auckland CBD to Ponsonby
Departing the Museum, I headed directly through the CBD, down Victoria Street, past Sky Tower Auckland, and on towards Victoria Park, where I stopped to watch a few overs of a local cricket match before continuing on towards Ponsonby.
Located in Freeman’s Bay, Victoria Park is a sports ground located on the edge of Auckland’s CBD, and while it has lovely lush green sporting fields, what I really love about the park is the gorgeous plane trees surrounding the fields. I took a stroll along the path and sat on one of the benches under the plane trees, to enjoy the view across the sporting fields to the cricket pavilion.
Fun fact: Victoria Park lies on reclaimed land, which is why it’s so flat! The bay started to be filled in during the 1870’s and the park was ‘finished’ around 1912.
From the far end of Victoria Park, I turned left onto Franklin Road and walked towards Ponsonby. Half way up Franklin Road, I turned right onto one of the side streets, and wandered through the suburbs of Freemans Bay checking out blossoming trees and cut little cottage style homes, until I reached Ponsonby Road around where the Three Lamps are located!.
Welcome to hipster central! Just a ten minute drive from central Auckland, but also, as I found, an easy 20-25 minute walk, Ponsonby Road is chock full of shopping, cafe’s, restaurants and bars. Everything from laid back coffee shops to slick looking bars and restaurants. I also found a few bookshops in between – as well as a couple of locations that have live music – I’ll be back!
I kept getting distracted by the views of the Auckland city skyline as I was walking along Ponsonby Road – here’s just one example!
Duck Island Ice Cream happened to be along my route, so I decided to indulge in a treat towards the end of my walk. They offered a fabulous range of flavors, including around 8 vegan flavors, and the coconut coffee swirl flavor was the bomb! I’d spied these guys on Instagram, when they posted an image of an ice cream taco, and while I was keen to know what that was all about, all I needed at the end of my walk was a single scoop to reward myself for getting outside for the afternoon!
Further down Ponsonby Road, I wandered through the graffiti art laneway, before continuing on towards the edge of Western Park which is where I concluded my walk for the day.
Here’s what else you might like to look out for around Ponsonby Road:
- Pick up some supplies and head down to Western Park for a picnic!
- Grab a group of friends and head to one of the many bars along Ponsonby Road, the outdoor seating and open windows looked so inviting on a sunny summer Sunday!
- Break out the credit card and shop to your hearts content along Ponsonby Road.
- If you’re based in the city, then continue along K-Road and look out for some of the local street art as you make your way back to the CBD
Where to Walk in Auckland!
If you’re interested in doing a similar walk, you can follow along on my map…
Let me know any other questions you might have, otherwise,