8 Easy 4WD Tracks Close To Auckland That Are Worth A Trip

If you live in New Zealand and are a new 4WD owner, a neophyte of the off-roading culture, or a full-blown 4WD enthusiast looking for an easy drive that isn’t entirely on bitumen, this is a detailed list you will want to look at. Check out our selection for 8 Easy 4WD Tracks Near Auckland That Are Worth A Trip.

* All times to finish are approximations and are subject to stopovers, breaks, recovery time, bushwalking sections, etc.

So before you continue, If your new to 4WD and offroading or are not sure what equipment to take out with you on your adventures, make sure to check out the Off Road Aussies Essential 4×4 Equipment List where I have taken the time to review and recommend the equipment I use. If you kit yourself out correctly you will be able to tackle everything that your new adventures will throw at you.

Moumoukai Hill Road

Length: Approximately 16 KM

Time to finish: Under one hour*

Difficulty: Very Easy

Terrain: Gravel, dirt

How to get here: 

From Auckland, head south onto State Highway 1 and follow the Southern Motorway for about 20 km, following signs towards Mt. Wellington Highway/Manukau Hamilton. Get off at exit 448 onto Redoubt Rd and follow it for about 4 km, then take a right onto Mill Rd. Follow Mill Rd until you reach a roundabout with the Alfriston School on the opposite side. Take the exit onto Alfriston Rd (which becomes Brookby Rd) and turn right onto West Rd after you pass Brookby School. Follow it towards Clevedon and turn left onto Papakura-Clevedon Rd and continue until you reach another roundabout. From this roundabout, continue onto Clevedon-Kawakawa Rd. This goes on for about 6 km until you the road forks; proceed straight to get on Ness Valley Rd. Continue for another 7 km or so and take a right onto Moumoukai Hill Rd. You start here.

Notables:

An easy gravel track that cuts across the Hunua Ranges Regional Park. 

The Moumoukai Hill Road track is a pleasant 4WD track that can be completed on foot, ATV or even a baby 1.8L 4WD. It’s very straightforward and should take you no longer than an hour to complete. The nice things to consider about this track are its proximity to Auckland (less than an hour away from downtown) and flexibility in terms of what methods you can use to complete it. The inclines and descents are not very steep, but you should keep an eye out for the Upper Mangatawhiri Reservoir where you can catch some nice scenery. Keep an eye out for the car park, as this area is also a well-known bushwalking trail. 

Further down the track (on the way out via ARA Dr), you can get off your 4WD and do more bushwalking in the Wairoa Loop Track, which should also grant you a better view of the Wairoa Reservoir north of the walking trail.

You can find more information about Moumoukai Hill Road on this page.

Otau Mountain Road

Length: Approximately 10 KM

Time to finish: Under one hour*

Difficulty: Very Easy

Terrain: Gravel, Bitumen

How to get here: 

From Auckland, get onto State Highway 1 heading south. From the Southern Motorway, get off at exit 453 to Takanini/National Route 3. Continue onto Manuroa Rd to take exit onto Porchester Rd at the roundabout. At the next roundabout, exit onto Airfield Rd. From the third roundabout, exit onto Mill Rd, then take a left onto Hamlin Rd. Follow this road until it hits Papakura-Clevedon Rd, then take a left and head towards Clevedon. Take a right onto Tourist Rd after about 5 km and then turn left on McNicol Rd at the intersection. Otau Mountain Rd should be on your right side.

Notables:

A twisty track on an isolated road in the countryside.

It sounds like the setting for a horror movie, but the pastoral landscape surrounding Otau Mountain Road can be very calming. This is a good road to drive if you’re in the mood for a nice, relaxing drive outside of the city. You don’t necessarily need a 4WD to drive this short track; you can complete it in a sedan, really. But the power and low gear capabilities of a 4WD may help with the grade.

Be mindful when picking up speed on this road as it is also used by loggers and large trucks; the road turns into one lane not long after you enter from McNicol Rd, so keep your wits about you.

The road ends at Ness Valley Rd and you may choose to continue east towards the Moumoukai Hill Road track if you haven’t ventured there yet.

You can find more information about Otau Mountain Road on this page.

Muriwai Beach

Length: Approximately 30 sq KM

Time to finish: 1-2 hours*

Difficulty: Easy

Terrain: Sandy, coastal (woodland, if you decide to trek into the Woodhill Forest)

How to get here: 

From Auckland, take State Highway 1 north out of the city. From the Northern Motorway, exit west onto State Highway 18 (Upper Harbour Motorway) and follow it until Hobsonville. Take exit 9 towards Brigham Creek Rd and head towards Helensville. Follow Brigham Creek Rd until you reach a roundabout and exit onto State Highway 16 heading north towards Kumeu/Wellsford. After about 11 km, take a left onto Muriwai Rd from State Highway 16 (past the Waimauku School). From here, travel west towards the coast for another 11 km and take a right turn to get to Motutara Rd. Take a right onto Coast Rd and take a left after about 2 km. This is the entrance for all vehicle traffic at Muriwai Beach.

Notables:

An easy drive on a scenic beach with lots to do.

Muriwai Beach is located on the western coast of Auckland and is a popular spot for both tourists and native Aucklanders. More importantly, Muriwai Beach is one of only two beaches in New Zealand where you are permitted to go off-roading in a 4WD! Keep in mind however, that vehicle permits are required and adherence to off-roading etiquette is strictly enforced.

The 4WD-able parts of the beach encompass the areas from the vehicle entrance at Coast Rd all the way to the northern entrance at Helensville. While on the beach, you can swim, surf, paraglide or hang glide, fish or ride horseback. However you cannot light fires or barbecues!

Be sure to check out the Muriwai Golf Club, Muriwai Surf School, Muriwai Gannet Colony, and Woodhill Forest (you may need to pay extra fees to go 4WD adventuring in this area). 

You can find more information about Muriwai Beach on this page.

Karioitahi Beach

Length: Approximately 10 sq KM

Time to finish: 1-2 hours*

Difficulty: Easy

Terrain: Sandy, coastal, rocky

How to get here: 

Get onto State Highway 20 and head south towards Dominion Rd/Manukau. Follow SH 20 for about 20 km and merge onto the Southern Motorway (State Highway 1). From the Southern Motorway, follow it for 12 km until you reach Drury and take exit 461 to get onto State Highway 22 towards Pukekohe. Follow SH 22 for about 7 km and take a right on Glenbrook Rd. After about 8 km continue past Glenbrook School to continue onto Glenbrook-Waiuku Rd, then turn right on Collingwood Rd. Turn right onto Kitchener Rd. Just past View Rd, you will take a right to get onto King St, then turn left on Constable Rd. Constable Rd becomes Karioitahi Rd after about 2km, and just follow this road until you hit the beach’s northern access point.

Notables:

A darker, more down-to-earth beach with its own set of amenities.

Karioitahi Beach is (quite literally) like Muriwai Beach’s darker sibling. You can expect darker, rougher sands here and more rocky borders. In terms of actual geographical features, the beach offers little else than a nice, sandy cruise along the western Auckland coastline. This beach is also heavily patrolled; so watch your speed and mind your road manners. 

You can check out Lake Puketi to the east; a nice little body of water just before you enter the beach. You can also drive south towards Waikato River to check out the estuary (but don’t expect to do any river crossings here).

In terms of things to do outside of off-road 4WD’ing, you can surf, swim (although the waves and waters are best-suited for surfing), fish and hang glide or paraglide.

You can find more information about Karioitahi Beach on this page.

Kawhia to Raglan Track

Length: Approximately 65 KM

Time to finish: 2-3 hours*

Difficulty: Easy

Terrain: Gravel, dirt, rocky, bitumen

How to get here: 

From Auckland, head south on State Highway 1 towards Mt. Wellington Highway/Manukau Hamilton. After approximately 90 km, you will find yourself at a roundabout. Take the exit onto State Highway 1B. This portion goes for about 2 km where you will find yourself at another roundabout. Follow signs to get back onto SH 1 towards Hamilton and ride SH 1 for another 12 km, then take exit 39 towards Raglan/Otorohanga. Follow signs towards State Highway 39 and stay on SH 39 for another 36 km. Afterwards, take a right on Ngutunui Rd and stay on this road for about 7 km and turn right to get onto State Highway 31 (Kawhia Rd). Stay on SH 31 for about 32 km. The actual track starts at Raglan Rd on your right, but you can continue on towards the town of Kawhia if you need to refuel or resupply.

Notables:

A longer track that gives you some great views of the Tasman Sea.

It takes about three hours to get to the starting point of this track from Auckland, but the track length and breathtaking scenery are more than worth the long drive. Head north onto Raglan Rd past Kawhia to the northeast and follow this towards Makomako. 

At the fork in the road ahead, you can either choose to turn right to continue onto Kawhia Rd and check out Bridal Veil Falls, or turn left onto Te Papatapu Rd to get a closer view of the bay/estuary that empties into the Tasman Sea. 

As you proceed up north, you will merge onto Te Mata Rd, then turn left onto Waimaori Rd (taking Te Mata Rd all the way to Te Hutewai Rd is faster, but has you missing out on the view). Take a right on Matawha Rd, then take another right onto Tuturimu Rd. You will end up at Ruapuke Rd where you can check in at the bed-and-breakfast, Ruapuke BnB if you turn right.

To continue along the trail, turn left and continue onto Whaanga Rd. Just past the motor camp, you can take a left and enjoy the sights and sounds of the Ruapuke Beach. If you continue north along Whaanga Rd, you can also check out the Karioi Summit Track, Te Toto Gorge Track, Farm Cottage Raglan, Raglan Surfing School, and Manu Bay when you merge onto Wainui Rd. From this point, you can continue on until you hit Raglan.

You can find more information about Kawhia to Raglan Track on this page.

Klondyke Road

Length: Approximately 19 KM

Time to finish: Under one hour*

Difficulty: Very Easy

Terrain: Gravel, dirt, bitumen

How to get here: 

From Auckland, head south on State Highway 1 and follow the Southern Motorway towards Mt. Wellington/Manukau Hamilton for almost 40 km, then take exit 476 towards Helenslee Rd. From Helenslee Rd, take a right onto Munro Rd and follow it down to the end to take a right on Pokeno Rd. Pokeno Rd becomes Whangarata Rd which hits River Rd. Take a left on River Rd and cross the Tuakau Bridge. Take a right onto Onewhero/Tuakau Bridge Rd, which becomes Wairamarama Onewhero Rd. In less than 2 km you should see Klondyke Rd on your right.

Notables:

A windy track close to Auckland with some steep areas.

Another quick track close the city, Klondyke Road can be completed with a light 4WD vehicle. The track starts just after Onewhero School and ends close to Port Waikato to the west. Klondyke Road is a decent choice if you want a quick and dirty drive that isn’t too far from downtown Auckland.

Take note that Klondyke Road is also used regularly by loggers and farmers, so be prepared to share the road with semi’s, tractors and trailers.

You can find more information about Klondyke Road on this page.

90 Mile Beach

Length: Approximately 60 KM

Time to finish: 2-3 hours*

Difficulty: Easy

Terrain: Sandy, coastal

How to get here: 

From Auckland, get on State Highway 1 heading north towards the Northern Motorway. Stay on this route for a good 375 km, following signs for Kaitaia/Cape Reina/Route 1. Just before you reach Te Kao, make a left onto Taylors Rd which becomes Number 3 Arterial Rd and within 2 km you should be able to see the coastline.

Notables:

A large beach that requires no permits!

90 Mile Beach is classified as a public highway so you don’t need to worry about acquiring vehicle permits (YES!). Just remember to stay away from soft sand! There are signs everywhere (as far south as Awanui) that remind 4WD off-roaders of the potential driving hazards on the beach, but so long as you stick to the hard sand, off-roading should be a breeze. 

Outside of 4WD’ing, you can swim, surf, fish and spot whales or dolphins on this pristine beach. 

Alternatively, you could enter the beach from as far down south as Waipapakauri; the ramp is the most accessible way to gain entrance to 90 Mile Beach.

Check out 90 Mile Beach Holiday Park to the southwest and Te Paki Stream to the north, if you want a challenge. However, you may need permission to head north past Hukatere Hill, as the area beyond this point is private access.

You can find more information about 90 Mile Beach on this page.

Polaris 4WD Park (Woodhill Forest)

Length: Approximately 10 sq KM

Time to finish: 3-4 hours*

Difficulty: Easy to Hard

Terrain: Rainforest, woodland, mud, dirt, rocky, bush, sandy

How to get here: 

From Auckland, head west on State Highway 16 and follow signs towards Helensville. Stay on SH 16 for about 42 km, then turn left onto Rimmer Rd. Rimmer Rd becomes Selwyn Rd, and then turn right before you enter the boundary of Woodhill Forest. Go past the paintball field and check in at Polaris 4WD Park.

Notables:

A fun 4WD amusement park with enough terrain to accommodate beginners and pros.

The Polaris 4WD Park is a highly-rated, highly-recommended 4WD area that caters to both neophytes and full-blown practitioners of the off-roading culture. Whether it’s scenery, a test of your mettle, heavy mud-slinging, or any kind of real 4WD fun, the 4WD park is a place you need to make time for if you find yourself in the Auckland area.

Much of the activities and tracks can be found inside the Woodhill Forest area. You can expect a wide variety of terrain and environments in the dense 10 square km area. It should be noted that the park has packages available for individuals looking to sate their 4WD fix during the nighttime on Saturdays!

Also, the Polaris 4WD Park offers 4WD training programs for interested individuals. You can follow the park’s news alerts and updates on their Facebook page.

While the entry fee is somewhat hefty, weighing in at a boastful $60, their 4WD facilities are well-maintained and the programs are well-facilitated. Plus, the $60 lasts for the whole day, so keep some food and water handy.

Make sure your 4WD is insured and that you follow the rules closely; most of the tracks that are set up in the area are made for one-way crossings only, so double back at your own risk.

You can find more information about Polaris 4WD Park on this page.

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