SOUTH WESTERN CYCLEWAY
Route: Point Chevalier to Onehunga
Rating: Beginner - though eastbound suggested
Type: Mostly off-road paths, short section of quiet (though steep) streets
Terrain: Mixed - several undulating sections. Hendry Ave very steep uphill if travelling westbound, eastbound strongly suggested.
The South Western Cycleway is one of Auckland's premier off-road cycleways, though not nearly as well known as the North Western. It extends 12 kilometres across Auckland's Isthmus from Point Chevalier to Onehunga.
Wayfinding signage is generally good, especially on the newer sections in the west. Note that path is a shared path, and is popular with strollers, runners and dog walkers. This is especially true of the section between Unitec and New Windsor where the path winds through local parks.
This ride starts off behind the Point Chevalier shops, on Carrington Road. Cross the motorway, and on the west hand side you'll see a sign that directs you into the Unitec campus. Follow the path past the Unitec's historic Building 1, built in the 1860's as the 'Whau Lunatic Assylum'. Follow the fantastic rainbow bridge as in curves alongside the motorway, then continue alongside Great North Road. Take care along this section as it is narrow, close to busy traffic & some parts of the surface are in poor condition. Cross in-front of the BP station, again take care at the vehicle entrances as cars enter at high speed.
Soon after the BP, you'll see a large bridge crossing the Oakely Creek. This is the start of new Waterview section of the South-Western cycleway, built at the same time as the Waterview tunnel below. Cross the bridge, and again you'll be in the grounds of Unitec. Follow the path which continues to follow Oakley Creek, through Phyliss and Harbutt Reserves. The path meets the railway line, and the path splits in two at a bridge. Avondale is only 500 metres further straight & from late 2021 this path will continie to New Lynn. For now cross over the railway line, and then over New North Road at the lights.
The path then enters Alan Wood Reserve, and after a couple of minutes ride you'll notice the Waterview tunnel portal. The spectacular arch bridge over the motorway you'll see will take you to the Te Auaunga Awa path, though continue straight. The remainder of the ride to Onehunga continues along the south side of SH20.
A short steady uphill section will take you to Mairoro Street, which is the first of the several major signalised intersections you'll come across. Each of these roads are very busy as are also motorway interchanges, so can take a while to get across. After passing another bridge (connecting to Sandringham Road), and passing under May Road you'll come across Pukewīwī / Puketāpapa. The path narrows to only a footpath width as you cross the lower slopes of the maunga. This was done to minimise damage to slopes, so keep it slow through here.
You'll soon come out to Dominion Road. Again cross the road, and continue alongside the motorway. The path follows along the edge of Kieth Hay Park, with it's sportsfield and walking circuit around the park. Continue past the next bridge over the motorway, which will take you to Frost Road. This bridge connects you to the Te Auaunga Awa cycleway, which makes a nice loop.
The path briefly comes out onto Melrose Road, under Hayr Road, continuing along through to Hillsborough Road. After Hillsborough Road, the path heads up along a brief hairpin you'll come out on Hendry Ave. This is the start of steppe decent down to sea level. You'll descend 75 metres in just over a kilometre. Make sure you're brakes are working well before this descent! This hill is why we strongly recommend riding this cycleway in a west to east direction, unless you are very fit or have a ebike you are confident in. Part way along Hendry Ave you'll come to a roundabout, which is part of the motorway interchange. Don't attempt to ride around the roundabout, but head uphill on the footpath & then cross the road at the defined location before heading back down, and along the cycleway down to the Manukau Harbour.
At the foot of the hill is Taumanu Reserve, an urban beach opened in 2015, as long delayed mitigation for the loss of the beach in Onehunga Bay due to the construction of State Highway 20 in the 1970's. Here you can head straight along the relatively quiet Orpheus Drive, or take in the nice views on the winding paths through Taumanu Reserve itself. The bridge over the motorway you'll see will take you through to Princes St, which is the recommended way through to Onehunga Mall, 500m further on.
Continue along Orpheus Drive, and as you approach the motorway interchange keep an eye out for the path the starts on the right, helping you avoid the on-ramp. Pass the historic Aotea Sea Scouts building, which started its life in 1911 as the Manukau Yacht and Motor Boat clubhouse. The path then runs alongside the very busy Onehunga Harbour Drive, which is major part of the Onehunga motorway interchange. Take care across the wide vehicle entrance to the old Onehunga Wharf, now used as a busy truck depot. After a slight uphill, giving views over the old wharf you'll come to junction, and the end of this ride. You can either head south over the high level Mangere Bridge, cross the road & head towards Onehunga (though cycleway soons runs out) or continue west for 4km along the Manukau Harbour along the Waikaraka Cycleway, which takes you through to Hugo Johnstone Drive in Penrose.
The South Western Cycleway connects to a range of other cycleways across Auckland.
At Point Chevalier you can head off along the North Western cycleway, and go west to Westgate, or east to the City Centre.
From the bridge across the railway, you can continue straight for only 700m and you'll be in Avondale where you can stop for a coffee at Browne Street, or turn left onto Crayford Street & catch a Western Line train.
At the Te Whitinga arch bridge you can join the wonderful Te Auaunga Awa path, which follows Oakley Creek, and joins back to the South Western cycleway just after Keith Hay Park.
Stops along the way.
The main downside of the Northwestern Cycleway is the limited number of stopping places along the way. However there are few places to stop along the way.
At Carrington Road, Point Chevalier town centre is just around the corner, which has a range of cafes, eating places and bars.
For a coffee, stay on the north side of the railway at the bridge by Pak'n'Save you can continue straight for only 700m and you'll be in Avondale where you can stop for a coffee at Browne Street, which you'll see on your left as you ride down Rosebank Road.
If you're after a unique lunch or dinner, cross the cycling bridge 400m east of Maioro Street, which will take you to Stoddard Road. Continue 300 right & you'll find Des Traditions and Baklawa Cafe, both serving delicious & affordable middle eastern food.
For those with a sweet tooth Bluebell's Cakery is just 100m south of the cycleway at Hillsborough Road.
Onehunga is 500m past the end of the cycleway. Here you find a full range of bars (try Good Home or Brothers Onehunga which are closest), cafes and cheap eats.
Taumanu Reserve is at the Onehunga end of the cycleway, which is a beach suitable for swimming (check Safeswim), as well as having loving spots for picnics with beautiful views over the Manukau Harbour.