1. Albert Park
Access from Princes St, Kitchener St, Bowen Ave.
Smack bang in the city, with the university on one border and the Auckland Art Gallery and hustle and bustle of the city on another, Albert Park is one of Auckland's most fabulous public spaces. It's also one of the most historically significant. Prior to European settlement, the papakainga (village) Rangipuke was there and, in 1845, the Albert Barracks were built there. Today, it's a gorgeous oasis sporting a Victorian fountain, formal gardens, excellent trees for climbing and more canoodling uni students than you can shake a stick at. The original park-keeper's cottage, now a museum of memorabilia, is a bit of fun too.
2. Jaggers Bush
One of the loveliest loops in the city, and an excellent hike when you're near Western Springs. We recommend parking at Motat 2 before heading north-east up Meola Rd. Before the road goes uphill, take a right turn into the bush and along a path through mature forest with the playing fields and creek on your right.
Take the steps up to the left and keep climbing until you hit Savage St, a cul-de- sac. Head up Old Mill Rd, then turn right on to West View Rd, before going off road on the downhill track, which is straight ahead of you. Going down this track, the zoo will be on your right; sometimes you can glimpse the elephant, and almost always hear the lions. You'll pop out in Western Springs where you can loop around the lake before returning to Motat 2 where you parked.
Take the tram if you're pooped.
3. Myers Park, K Rd, Western Park
Whether you start on Queen St, Karangahape Rd or Ponsonby Rd, the parks of Myers and Western, plus Grafton Cemetery, make a lovely afternoon stroll. From the tram shelter on the corner of K Rd and Symonds, look for Governor Hobson's grave while you're at it, to the heritage shopfronts of K Rd, this is a sweet urban jaunt. And, when you're shopped out, and have had enough of traffic, the generous green spaces of Myers and Western Parks are grand for stopping and catching your breath. Great trees for climbing, and the archaeological, partially buried "ruins" of Western Park never get old. Download neat heritage walk maps from kroad.com and keep your eyes peeled for the occasional guided tour.
4. Victoria Park to Cox's Bay
If you really want to blow the cobwebs out this 10km route should have you puffing. Kick off at Victoria Park, a big, old square of green surrounded by mature trees. Fab playground too. Run along St Marys Bay, past the Westhaven Marina but not so fast you haven't time to admire the harbour as you go beneath the harbour bridge. Heading up to Jervois Rd, no time for shopping, you're on your way to Cox's Bay down West End Rd. Follow the path through Cox's Bay Reserve, along the boardwalk to Richmond Rd to enter Grey Lynn Park from the Farrar St entrance. Head for the Williamson Avee exit and you're on the home stretch, on Ponsonby Rd, where you may well find you stop to refuel before returning to Victoria Park.