It seems there is an epidemic of bike riding in New Zealand, so if you haven’t already, it’s time to get your family in on the fun. Check out some of these family-friendly bike ride tracks in Auckland.
sanders reserve mountain bike park, albany
This cycle park is aimed at riders of all abilities, but particularly good for beginners and families. The kids’ trail is very gentle with lots of twists and turns to make it fun. The other advantage is that you can view it all from the Visitors’ Centre, so the more adventurous kids can go by themselves if they want to.
family trail, hunua ranges
The Family Trail is an easy ride down a gravel road loop with a tiny bit of single track at the end. To get there from the carpark, ride back down the road, turn left at the first intersection and hop over a large steel gate. Ride up the gravel road for a few hundred metres and turn left at the first main intersection to start at the gravel road loop marked on the map.
woodhill mountain bike park
This park provides the perfect introduction to mountain biking with lots of easy and scenic trails that you can take at your own pace. The rolling terrain is suitable for those who wish to cut their teeth or simply enjoy a relaxing ride in the forest with friends and family. There is over 100km of trails to explore, with easy to follow cross-country, technical (for those who have experience) and free riding options. You can even hire bikes (including helmets) for both children and adults at very reasonable rates. Park entry is only $7 for adults and between $2-$5 for kids aged 5- to 15-years. www.bikepark.co.nz
project twin streams, waitakere
There is an award-winning network of shared walks and cycleways out west. The wonderful, 3m wide paths follow the Oratia, Opanuku and Waikumete streams and feature art works, information panels and examples of sustainable products. For a map of the trails, see www.projecttwinstreams.com/documents (click on Cycleways Fun Map).
whitford mountain bike park
There are a number of tracks in this privately-owned forest that cater for a wide range of abilities. The tracks can be challenging in wet, winter conditions. The tracks are open all hours, unless restricted for forestry operations or fire danger. You must obtain an access permit from the Howick Information Centre.
totara park, manukau
Totara Park is one of Manukau’s largest parks. There is a purpose-built mountain bike park on site, with trails for beginner and intermediate riders. This is combined with picnic areas, a free outdoor pool and adventure playground, making a great family biking destination. www.cyclewaynewzealand.co.nz/trails.
te ara tahuna estuary cycleway, orewa
This is a 7.5km pathway that can be used by walkers, cyclists, joggers, even wheelchairs and buggies. The paved path and five bridges provide a great chance for families to cycle right around the Estuary and along the Millennium Walkway. Flat and easy, suitable for cyclists of all ages.
- make sure everyone has a snugly-fitted, damage-free helmet
- wear closed-in footwear
- wear bright-coloured clothing for visibility
- take lots of water for hydration and high-energy snacks
- make sure your child is riding on the right size bike
For more great rides in your local area, contact your local council or Dept of Conservation. Thanks to BikeWise (www.bikewise.co.nz) for contributing to this article.