Auckland

Auckland is a runner's paradise. That is, as long as your paradise involves four seasons in one day, and potentially four seasons in one run. But from the moment you hit the ground in Auckland you will be keenly aware that everyone is active, and the city is totally runner-friendly. You might as well wear your training shoes on the plane and hit the ground running. And really, the hardest thing about running in Auckland is deciding which run to take.

Auckland sits on an isthmus, and has two harbors in the urban area. Waitemata Harbour is in the North, and opens east to the Hauraki Gulf. Manukau Harbour, to the south, opens West to the Tasman Sea. Both harbours are connected by extensive running/walking paths. Meanwhile, the Auckland Domain is the city's oldest park. It is developed around the cone of an extinct volcano. The Auckland War Memorial Museum and the Botanical Gardens are in the middle of this park, so it's convenient location provides for a good meeting spot after a short run. One Tree Hill and Cornwall Park together form the largest area of parkland in Auckland, and are a great option for running rolling hills and counting sheep. (There are cows too!) Part of One Tree Hill is still a working farm. But still, if you're looking for a long stretch of flat, beautiful harbor views, head to the waterfront and the viaduct area, or cross the bridge and head to the east coast beaches and run on the coastal route. You can run around the east coast if you time it right with the tides.

Watch Out For: 
  • Four seasons in one day. You can head out to run in a T-shirt and shorts and wind up shivering your way back to your accommodation. Pack an extra layer or rain gear to be safe.
  • A lack of water fountains. When this Blaze writer was running in Auckland there were not many water fountains in the local parks. Bring some cash if you need a bottle of water along the way. Otherwise, be prepared to be thirsty!
  • Indecipherable sign names. With words like "Mangawhau" being pronounced like "Man-ga-fow", if you ask a local for directions they might give you street names that do not sound like how they are spelled. To be certain you are heading in the right direction, use a Blaze map and have a local point to the street name on the map. Don't be surprised when a "wh" makes the sound of an "f".