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Hooton Reserve | Oteha Valley, Albany

February 15, 2016

This week we have a guest post by Albany resident Nicholas Carman.

The Bike Friendly crew have ridden around this area plenty of times, visited the playground and the skatepark, never realising a great bike-path was hiding a stone’s throw away. Thanks for sharing this hidden gem with us Nicholas! 

Scenic Gravel in Hooton Reserve

A scenic section winding it’s way behind the Albany Tennis Park.

My family and I moved to Albany in mid 2013 and it wasn’t long before I began looking speculatively at my old mountain bike which had been resting unloved in my parents basement for the last ten years.

After I took it along to a nearby bike shop and revived it I started looking around for places to ride. I was straight away drawn to the green area in front of Mitre 10 Mega on Oteha Valley Rd.

Hooton Reserve looked to have been made by the old North Shore City Council and consisted of a playground and a bike-trail that stretched from the motorway almost all the way to Albany Village. Almost, because it stopped short at the stream before Gills Road, as if the council had run out of money to complete the project.

Gills Road Entrance

The beginning of the trail at Gill’s Rd, close to Albany Village.

I intended to write to the local board to suggest that they ought to finish the trail so that it ran all the way to Albany, but somebody beat me to the punch. Over the winter and spring of 2015 a crew came in and built the bridge and finished the path all the way to Gills Rd.

The completed path offers walkers and riders a car-free route all the way from the motorway to Albany Village. I use it to take my son to the Albany Library when the weather is good. It also helps connect walkers and riders to the Kell Park reserve behind the library.

This path can be found starting next to the northbound on-ramp at Oteha Valley Rd, or at the other end from the northern side of Albany Village, by turning down Gills Rd.

Northern End Of Trail

The trail ends here with a looped section as it meets the Northern Motorway.

The path begins at the Oteha Valley end with a funny little loop around a stormwater pond (one of the leftovers which the recent improvements has connected up). It crosses a bridge and then descends into the park, running alongside the stream.

The path is mostly crushed white stone, with concrete on some downhill sections. It’s ideal for families as it is all off-road and mostly flat. There’s also a playground in the middle, in front of Mitre 10 Mega if the kids need a break.

The only place you will encounter cars on the path is in front of the Kawai Purapura yoga retreat. Visitors occasionally drive their cars in and out of the retreat, but the intersection is signposted, and traffic is sparse.

Hooton Reserve Playground

The playground in front of Mitre 10 Mega on Oteha Valley Rd

For visitors from outside Albany I would suggest a good place to start would be the kids playground in the middle. You could ride into Albany and visit the library, and buy a coffee or ice cream at the shops. Or you could park in Albany and ride to the motorway and back.

I recommend Hooton Reserve to you as a green and pleasant place to take your family riding, or if you live in Albany, it makes an excellent car-free shortcut to the shops.
– Nicholas

6 Comments leave one →
  1. February 16, 2016 1:56 pm

    If you are a confident mountain-biker, try crossing the Mills Lane bridge then turning left immediately along a track under the walnut trees. This mettled trail is rideable alongside the creek all the way to the bridge at the bottom of Gills Rd, where you will find the start of the cycleway shown in the second photo. Many walkers use this track, so please give way to avoid cyclists being banned.

  2. March 14, 2016 5:11 pm

    You are right, it is only for confident mountain bikers. I tried using it from the bridge end & I nearly fell in the stream! I walked the rest of the way.

  3. barry vince permalink
    September 15, 2016 5:10 pm

    we are riding that trail plus others, linking up parks including lucas creek to make about 26ks of riding. i am there nearly every tuesday 8.30 to 9am when the weather gets better. We are gold card mountain bike riders so if anybody is interested in riding their mountain bike then let me know or turn up.

    • September 20, 2016 10:36 am

      That’s awesome Barry, haven’t been over that way since last Summer. I like riding the greenways beside Lucas Creek from Kell Park towards the substation.
      – Antoine

  4. barry vince permalink
    September 21, 2016 9:14 am

    on that same ride we end up at goldfinch drive i am hoping we will carry on and ride centennial park, where you ride, once it gets a bit dryer

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