Just over the Harbour Bridge from Auckland, the stunning Takapuna to Milford walk offers spectacular nature and historical perspectives. The short walk between the two North Shore beaches is filled with impressive New Zealand nature.
Yesterday was a perfect spring day for a coastal walk from Takapuna to Milford on Auckland’s North Shore. So much of the best of New Zealand, all in one afternoon’s adventure; a perfect cup of coffee, sandy beaches, volcanic rock, gentle waves, a mermaid, cliff and island views, and happy people everywhere.
While many locals have enjoyed the walk, we encourage visitors to discover this little corner of paradise.
Takapuna to Milford walk options
Before you begin, decide if you want predominantly nature or a mix of nature and historic architecture.
- Nature: The walk along the coast is on terrain alternating between paved promenade, uneven lava rocks, and open beach. Parts of it can not be accessed at high tide.
- Heritage Trail: However, there is also the classic Takapuna Milford walk promoted by North Shore city that weaves in and out along several of the streets.
- Loop: It’s easy to see both, just make a loop. Check the Takapuna tide tables first, and choose either the outgoing tide, or the lower tide for the beach walk side.
Takapuna to Milford walk: Coastal
We opted for the coastal walk and loved it so much we came back the same way.
Our walk started at the Takapuna boat ramp where we were instantly distracted by the insanely delicious options at the Takapuna Beach Cafe. After enjoying a tasty dessert alongside my latte, we were ready to begin our adventure.
The 2.1km distance between Milford and Takapuna beaches isn’t that far, but we took our time, frequently stopping to enjoy both nature and some of the interesting architecture of these two upscale neighbourhoods.
On the late spring day that we walked, there was a gentle breeze matched by soft waves. The blue sky and crystal clear water would have been enough to keep us happy but some of the interesting finds made it a truly worthwhile walk.
There seemed a surprise around every corner. Like a cliff wall of lovely fragrant flowers or a playful dog splashing in the foreshore.
The giant’s chair
Feeling like a princess, I couldn’t resist sitting in the “giant’s chair.” Also called ‘the throne’ as it sits at the base of Thorne Bay below what was once Merksworth Castle, and is now a modernized private home.
More great views on the Takapuna to Milford walk
Honestly, the day just kept on getting better with views like these:
- A stair case leading to the low tide sand. Our mid tide walk found the bottom of these stairs underwater.
- Rangitoto Island stands tall and proud in the distance. It last erupted about 600 years ago.
- Look closely at the third image, at the girl lying on the seawall. Is she a mermaid?
Takapuna to Milford walk: Heritage trail
If you opt for the heritage trail. you will walk along public roads as well as paths. Download a free map.
Some of the highlights include:
- The old post office
- Several prominent homesteads
- The Hurst trees
- Algies Castle (originally called Merkesworth Castle)
- Views of Lake Pupuke
Curious, I did look up Merkesworth castle and found this:
What you need to know: Takapuna to Milford walk
- If you are making a loop, you can start the walk anywhere, and go in either direction. Many people do a Milford to Takapuna walk. We start at the Takapuna boat ramp.
- We found parking in the small boat ramp car park. There is also street parking along Alison and Earnoch Avenues. There is also parking near Milford Beach at the endo fo Muritai Road.
- The coastal distance between the two beaches is just over two kilomters (each direction) and the loop walk takes between 1-2 hours, depending on how many photos you take.
- The walkway has two distinctively different portions. From Takapuna Beach Cafe to about Audrey Road we walked on uneven surfaces, climbing up and down over black, volcanic rock. According to the sign, it requires a reasonable level of fitness, which I guess I now have as I never found it a problem. There were occasional joggers, confirming that it wasn’t too difficult.
- The second half of the trail, from about Audrey Road to Milford Beach is paved, easy, and suitable for prams.
- Children should always be supervised around water, but additional care would be needed for the Takapuna end of this trail.
- The walk from Takapuna to Milford is one of the many free things to do in the Auckland region.
Planning tips for Auckland
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First-time visitors start here: New Zealand travel guide or with our favourite New Zealand road trips.
Rental Vehicles: For cars, we always use RentalCars.com, a rental car search engine with no hidden costs. For campervans (and larger cars), note that Spaceships Rentals NZ offers free one-way drop-off between Auckland and Christchurch.
**Albom Adventures readers can check for discounts off Spaceships campervans.**
Accommodations: We typically stay in 4-star accommodations. We live in Auckland and recommend either Hotel DeBrett or Cordis (if you’re on a tight budget, check out the backpacker options on Tripadvisor)
Activity Discounts: We use Bookme.co.nz to find discounts on entry tickets and tours in New Zealand.
Travel Insurance: We purchase insurance that covers medical and travel emergencies when we head overseas. We start with Travel Insurance Master, an aggregator that gives us a free and easy-to-read comparison of the inclusions of each policy.
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**Find more money-saving resources on our Travel Resources page.
Save for when you are ready to walk
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Nearby things to do:
- Orewa Beach: See Why This Local’s Paradise is an Auckland Getaway
- North Head: Exploring Old Military Tunnels in Auckland
- Mount Victoria Devonport: Best Views of Auckland Sunset and Skyline
- Gluten-Free Hibiscus Coast Restaurants: Orewa to Gulf Harbour
- Shakespear Park: Visit an Open Bird Sanctuary, with Beaches, and Hiking