Bus Station to Beer SpotBeginner - Intermediate
Submitted by Jenny Hirst
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Point to Point (one way)
Undulating, small hills only
Native bushPlantation/exotic forestCoastalOther
Beginner - Intermediate
Be aware that some of the tracks are closed or altered from time to time due to kauri dieback measures, maintenance, road works etc, so sometimes a short diversion may be needed
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This route is part of the Shoe Science Auckland Collection
Note that this is a similar run for much of the route as Station to Station, so trail notes are essentially the same for the first half. However it is longer and has more trail and less road over the last few kms. And it finishes at a fine craft beer venue! This trail can be varied to take in additional trails around Northcote/Birkenhead, and for a super-sized version you can head to the east coast beaches and run north back to start point (North Shore Ultra is under design!).
This version takes you from Albany bus station to the Beer Spot in Northcote, which is a short distance to Smales Farm bus station, thus allowing you to catch a Northern Express bus back to Albany (probably 10 minutes ride).
Cross Oteha Valley Rd and go left down to Hooton Park and to Mills Lane. At Mills Lane go right for a few metres only (entrance to Kurai Purapura Retreat). Cross bridge and immediately turn left onto trail. Follow this trail all the way to Gills Rd. Cross Gills Rd and the one way bridge. There is an option to head up the hill to the trig however on this route take the flat trail to the left "Gills Reserve Heritage trail".
Follow a concrete path alongside Lucas Creek - after a couple of hundred of metres you reach a good waterfall. Soon after that you come to Dairy Flat Highway. Cross the busy road carefully opposite the Toyota dealership. There is a wide grass trail here heading around to the left into Kell Park around the back of some shops and a gallery. Cross what looks like an old orchard onto the path in Kell Park, down a boardwalk and around over the bridge crossing Lucas Creek. You then follow a path across a reserve all the way to Albany Highway.
Across the highway (there is pedestrian access under the road bridge at this point) is the entrance to Fernhill Escarpment, a beautiful bush section with many totara trees (the "closed" sign relates to bikes, not foot traffic). This is a long section of trail running alongside a creek all the way to Bush Rd. The best way to navigate through is to keep the creek on your right most of the way and stay on the trails nearest the creek - there are some upper trails as well that can be explored.
When you reach Bush Rd, cross the road, turn right, run to intersection with Rosedale Rd, cross, turn left and head down Rosedale Rd maybe 200m. (Note that the gpx file/map accompanying this guide shows a diversion into the Bushlands Escarpment - this is a great little trail however is harder to navigate and involves a river crossing to exit to Rosedale Rd - so for first timers best to run road to Rosedale). From Rosedale Rd there is a wide grass trail on your right, take this and you will end up on Emerald Way (houses), on your right there is a path and bridge leading to Stonedge Lane, go right and you will see an access way through to Rosedale Park Sportsground. Skirt around the fields and onto the path leading out to Paul Matthews Rd.
Immediately across the road is a bike/walking path leading down to a tunnel which passes under the Upper Harbour Highway (SH18). Follow the track to Unsworth Heights, crossing Barbados Drive. Take the long boardwalk into Unsworth Reserve, through Unsworth Reserve to Goldfinch Rise. Head right up the hills to intersection with Unsworth Drive, go left onto Glenfield Rd, and up to traffic lights (intersection with Sunset Rd) Cross here onto Glendhu Rd and you have a long downhill road section (1.7km) with a footbridge at the bottom to the western end of Glendhu Rd. A few metres up the road veer right and down the bottom of the street is the entrance to the Glenfield Coastal Walkway.
There a two sections - the first section (approx. 2km) goes to Manuka Reserve so keep following the signs to Manuka Rd. You go through a dog walking park as you approach Manuka Reserve. There is a good lookout over the estuary here and a boat ramp, toilets etc. The next section (also about 2km) is to Kaipatiki Rd. At the road go right and there is a trail for a few hundred metres alongside the road. Cross Kaipatiki Rd and head right a bit further to the bridge. Do not cross bridge: the entrance to Eskdale bush is on your left, head onto this trail. There are a few side trails on this track, you need to follow the signs to Eskdale Rd (upper). Towards the end of the trail there are a number of options, however there is signage you can follow.
NOTE THAT AS AT EARLY 2021 SOME OF THE ESKDALE TRACKS ARE UNDER MAINTENANCE AND THERE MAY BE SOME DEAD ENDS - IT MAY BE NECESSARY TO DIVERT TO ESKDALE ROAD SOONER.
At Eskdale Rd, cross over and head left up the hill to Inglis Street. Turn right down here, and within a few metres you will find a track into Ridgewood Reserve. Take this trail through some mature bush, when you reach a T junction at the end turn left onto track that leads to Roseberry Ave. Run a short way along Roseberry Ave to the junction with Berne Place - veer left up Berne Place, and then left again into Park Hill Road. Go up Park Hill (which is steepish) for around 150 metres and there is a walkway on your right. Take this and head down into Birkenhead War Memorial Park. T
he trails lead up to the sports field - once there make your way across fields to Glenfield Road. Cross Glenfield Road and turn left. A short way along there is a walkway on your right leading to City View Terrace. Head along City View Terrace to the end and then turn right into Tui Glen Rad. Follow the road down to the end: this is the entrance to the lovely Kauri Glen Reserve (entrance with a footwash station - this reserve lives up to its name and is full of kauri).
Follow the trails in Kauri Glen mostly downhill - following the signs for Woodside Ave. At Woodside Ave cross the road and go straight into the trail opposite, this runs alongside Onepoto Stream to Lake Road. Cross Lake Rd, go right for a few metres and then into Rotary Grove - down the path/road that also leads to the tennis club. The track continues past the tennis club and playground through some bush to Tarahanga Street. Cross the street and run down the grassy track to Onepoto Domain.
Run alongside the ponds and across the Domain - you want to get to Exmouth Road. Cross Exmouth Road and immediately opposite there is a small loop side road with a grass accessway between houses down to the Tuff Crater trail. Turn left onto the Tuff Crater trail and run around in a clockwise direction until you reach a track heading up the hill on your left. This will bring you out onto the end of Akoranga Drive near some big commercial buildings (including the Warehouse head office).
From there you want to head left along Akoranga Drive for about 1km. On your right there is an entrance to Smiths Bush - there is a short gravel access way leading to a grassy area, and a rough track leading into the bush on your left. Smiths Bush is the native bush reserve right next to the motorway, rugby fields and netball courts. It has some huge puriri trees and other native trees, and some easy boardwalked trails. When you emerge from this trail, cross the carpark by the fields and head left down the main road to the Beerspot at 54 Northcote Rd (or turn right and head over the motorway if you want to avoid the beer (why would you?)) If you are super-thirsty at this stage you can skip Smiths Bush, run to the end of Akoranga Drive, turn right and head down to the Beer Spot. Smales Farm bus station is a short walk back over the motorway and to your left.
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Features of interest
Several waterfalls, notably in Gills Reserve near beginning. Lucas Creek was an early settlement and there is info about that on the trail, as well as info about early settlement in Albany and Glenfield. Plenty of mature bush (including kauri in some parts), creeks, estuary. Tuff Crater near the end of the run is a volcanic crater that last erupted about 200,000 years ago.
Make Up of Run
Moderate Single Track: 15%
Easy Single Track: 70%
Sealed Road: 15%
Albany Park and Ride bus station, off Oteha Valley Rd, near Westfield Mall. Or park at Smales Farm bus station and catch Northern Express bus
to Albany (your finish point is near Smales Farm bus station).
Thousands of carparks (unless you are there on a work day morning when the park and ride is full). And as it is a bus station, plenty of transport options (Northern Express buses run from the city very regularly)
Route does cross a number of roads, it is useful to have map/phone to get your bearings. in recent years tracks have been closed from time to time in Eskdale and Kauri Glen, and new trails opened , so the exact route may need to vary.
Windproof jacket, Cellphone, Map.
Plenty of shops on route, and drinking taps in parks
Post run indulgence
54 Northcote Rd
Cos running should be rewarded with a decent beer - and Beer Spot has about 40 on tap!
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