Great Cycle Routes of Auckland: Part 1 Beach-side cruising from St Heliers to St Mary’s Bay

Great Cycle Routes of Auckland

All of the cycling routes here generally take place on paved and separated cycling paths that are away from the road. In all cases I have endeavoured to only include the safest routes possible with minimal direct contact with the traffic. Mainly this is because Auckland drivers are pretty bad and it’s not a good idea to share the road with them. I even cycle on the footpath to avoid the traffic, even though this is technically not legal. I don’t care though as I am rather risk averse or injury averse.  

Achilles Point, St Heliers to Point Erin Park, St Mary’s Bay: Easy, breezy, beachside meandering

Type of bike you will need

A cruiser, commuter bike, ebike or any general low gear bike will do. The only hill is in Achilles Point, the rest is flat.

Optimal weather

One of those perfect, windless and sunny Auckland days with a smattering fluffy clouds. Although this route is still great all year round, even in winter there is something beautiful to see here.

Distance

About 14 km one way, 30 km return.

What to take with you

 

Sunnies, wallet, sunscreen, something warm in case the weather turns.

Route difficulty

Easy.

Great for

Commuters, weekend visitors, University students living out east, athletic types in training. More hardcore cyclists in lycra tend to stick to the road.

Route Description

This is a classic route which moseys through some of the most picturesque and wealthiest suburbs in Auckland. You will begin in Achilles Point which is the only real hill on the trip, it can be tough but for the view it’s worth it. Heading off from there, you will get a bit of beachside suburban life when going through the suburbs of St Heliers, Kohimaramara, Mission Bay and Orakei. Also in these areas you will find ample pub, cafe and bar stops along the way. So along this part of the route is the best place for a leisurely brunch, coffee or perhaps a lazy beer in the sun. I highly recommend these places which consistently have exceptional food and service – St Heliers Bistro and Tigerlilly Dining.  For a decent Fish and Chips, try Sea Cow in Mission Bay, a bit pricey but the quality is good. Additionally, I would avoid these places if possible – crappy service and the food is so-so – Cafe Kohi, Mission Bay Cafe, Portofino, Mehfil Indian in Mission Bay. All pretty average.

Great Cycle Routes of Auckland
Tamaki drive cycle path in Orakei. Copyright A.Dennis 2014
Great Cycle Routes of Auckland
Sunrise over Tamaki Drive cycle path Copyright A.Dennis 2014

After finishing with a great lunch, few beers or a coffee whatever your choice, head towards the city along the beach. You will pass the Orakei marina and Okahu Bay where you will see more awesome views, followed by another marina and more beach with the beautiful Rangitoto volcano always in the background. After this you will hit the city and a whole lot more cafes along the route along with Auckland Port and Auckland Ferry Terminal. Continue to weave your way through dense pedestrian traffic on this part of the bike path going into Wynyard Quarter where you will see loads of yachts and more restaurants and cafes. You will get to Silo Park and continue along the bike path in the direction of Auckland Bridge. There you will end up in Point Erin Park which is slightly after the bridge. It’s normally pretty quiet here and is the ideal place for a picnic or photo stop with epic views in all directions.

Great Cycle Routes of Auckland
The Bridge in Wynyard Quarter in Auckland CBD. Looks lovely during the night and the day time too. Copyright A.Dennis 2014
Great Cycle Routes of Auckland
The Bridge in Wynyard Quarter in Auckland CBD. Looks lovely during the night and the day time too

Bike hire

You can hire bikes from numerous bike hire places in the CBD. In the past when I first arrived I tried Adventure Capital, which isn’t far from the bike path itself on Wyndham Street. They were super helpful and threw in a helmet and lock for free for me, the hire price was reasonable. I would recommend them over hiring once you arrive on the route as then the price for hiring goes up significantly. They hire out wet weather gear and camping gear for people wanting to go bush for the weekend too. Also try Fergs Kayaks in Orakei – they also hire out kayaks, stand up paddle boards, rollerblades, tandem bikes and all sorts there. They also do lessons for people wanting to learn SUP.

Buying an ebike

I would like to recommend Electrify in Freeman’s Bay for this. I went to a few other bike places in Auckland and found them to be a bit vulture-like in their sales enthusiasm which put me off. Michael the Owner of Electrify is really nice and an honest guy – not overtly salesy in his approach. The bikes he stocks are all high quality. I got myself an entry-level model ebike – the Magnum Ui5 which is a popular ebike that’s designed in Germany and made in China. I paid $2,400 for it because I got a discount due to the deal I had with my electricity provider. I was initially skeptical of the ‘Made in China’ thing, however I need to now eat my words as I have commuted on this bike every single day for the past year and not had a problem. Other than that time a 4WD crashed into me, or the time I came off it after too many wines, and the times when the brake pads wore out. All the result of general wear and tear, or my own stupidity.

If you would like a bike that’s more top end, Michael sells more fancy German bikes with Bosch engines in them for a couple of grand more. See the range here.

* FYI This is not a paid endorsement for anything on this post. I simply have gotten great customer service and value for money from these people when purchasing or hiring bikes and so I want to share the love. 

Happy riding and please let me know any feedback about this route…I have done this series because nobody else has bothered to do it in NZ so far…it’s all a little bit sketchy when it comes to cycling in Auckland on long, epic routes. So I thought I would give it a go. 

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