Our four-legged beasts can now share the love in Auckland parks.
1. Pae o te Rangi, Waitakere Ranges
(Accessed from Long Rd or from the stockyards and car park at Te Henga Rd)
With magnificent views of the Waitakere Ranges and wild west coast (from the top of Pae you can see from Muriwai to Rangitoto), this park is newly opened to riders so is still delightfully quiet. Parking can be a bit of a squeeze; a campground is 40 minutes from the carpark.
2. Atiu Creek Regional Park, Wellsford
(Accessed off Port Albert Rd. On the Kaipara Harbour and the Okahukura (Tapora) Peninsula).
Gifted to the city in 2006, this park has open countryside and long trails situated on a mix of farmland and bush. Eventually it will have camping for a great weekend of trekking ($10 for a key to access the internal farm gates).
(Take State Highway 16 to Waimauku. Turn left into Muriwai Rd and continue to the park).
This has long been everyone's favourite, with 60km of rugged beach riding. The park has parking for horse trailers, great riding between the dunes and through regenerating forest up to Woodhill Forest. Watch out for unplanned swims on an incoming tide.
4. Whakanewha Regional Park, Waiheke Island
(From Rocky Bay go up Omiha Rd to the Upland Rd track on the south of the island).
With mature coastal forest, cascading streams and a sweeping beach, this park also connects to lots of great bridle trails all around Waiheke Island, without going on the road. The park has nice, gentle rides, and your horse can have a swim.
5. Duder Regional Park
(Take the Maraetai Coast Rd from Maraetai to Umupuia and park on North Rd).
This is only a short trail, but as part of the farm park it is great for families, with rolling pasture and spectacular views.
A Network Horse Riding Pass is also available for Awhitu, the Hunua Ranges and Ambury Farm Parks. Contact the Auckland Council on (09) 301 0101. For updates on other horse riding bridle ways see here.