We may not be up there with the protected off-road cycling of Copenhagen — or even London or Sydney — but here are our favourite quiet cycle trails to explore around the city.

1. Pakuranga to Bucklands Beach

Started in 1978 by the local Rotary Club in the new-ish suburb of Pakuranga, the Rotary Pathway is a biker's delight. From Kentigern Close you can cycle all the way beside the Tamaki River to Farm Cove, around Half Moon Bay (coffee stops) and across the boardwalk to Bucklands Beach, even carry on to Musick Point (sharing with cars here though). Some wiggles through suburban streets, but still kid-friendly.

2. Orewa circuit

From the Hibiscus Coast Highway Orewa, you can rent bikes in the village and do a very pleasant circuit of the Orewa Estuary. A very agreeable hour, with three playground stops, and even a winter paddle on the beach afterwards.


3. Waikaraka to Ambury Park, Mangere Bridge

Begin this lovely, flat cycle ride at Waikaraka Cemetery (don't let that put you off), over the old Mangere Bridge (keep your finger on the bell, there are enthusiastic fishers on the wharf) and along beside Kiwi Esplanade to Ambury Farm Park — flat, gentle curves shared with dog walkers and runners.

4. Takapuna to Devonport

Devonport cycling enthusiasts know to avoid the thundering highway of Lake Rd (and disgruntled motorists) and head around the quiet suburban streets, bike paths and board walks of the Green Route. Well signposted (there are a few tricky twists and turns as you go in and out of cul-de-sacs).

At Northboro Reserve — spot the pirate ship — it's worth breaking your trip to visit the shops that house the famous Little and Friday cafe on Eversleigh Rd.

Download maps and cycling advice from Auckland Transport's website.