Kite Boarding Nationals 2014

In which Miles flashes back to 2014 for a better look at kite boarders on Shoal Bay.

To view the full gallery of 13 photos, click here.

In my previous post I mentioned the kite boarders on Shoal Bay in Auckland, but I didn’t have the right camera for shooting from a distance, so I could offer no good views of them.

I didn’t follow the competition, at the Kite Boarding Nationals back in 2014, but I enjoyed taking pictures.  I’d like to share with you these views of Shoal Bay, and point out the sand spit that reaches far out into the bay, when the tide is sufficiently low.  If I understand correctly, this makes it quite convenient for the kite boarders to get out on the bay and launch.

I may not have known what was going on, but I did find it a scenic event, with the many kites adding just a little something to the bay itself.

Enjoy the full gallery of 13 photos, click here.

 

Auckland’s First World War Heritage Trail

In which Miles explores part of an urban walkway and a WWI cemetery.

To view the full gallery of 11 photos on imgur, click here.

I’ve been aware of this walkway, and this cemetery, for some time, but hadn’t taken the time to explore it.  I found myself in a situation that has been familiar recently; not much daylight left, and a need to find somewhere close by to get outside while the weather was offering reasonably low chances of rain.  This walkway fit the bill.

Auckland’s First World War Heritage Trail doesn’t actually run through O’Neill’s Point Cemetery, so this was a bit of a false start, but I had always meant to one day explore the cemetery as well.

O’Neill’s Point Cemetery
O’Neill’s Point Cemetery

The Heritage Trail does run along the side of O’Neill’s Point Cemetery. Below is a view from the trail. This photo shows a flag of the Cook Islands. The cemetery contains 42 official war graves from
the First World War.

O’Neill’s Point Cemetery
O’Neill’s Point Cemetery

A short distance past the cemetery is a bridge over shallows filled with young mangroves.  The bridge offers good views over the mangroves and Shoal Bay, an area with a wide and unique diversity of wildlife.

View from the bridge
View from the bridge

Shoal Bay is also a favorite spot for kite boarding. If you zoom in on this photo, and several others in the album, you can see a good number of kite boarders enjoying the bay.

Further along the trail the Sky Tower and Auckland Harbour Bridge are visible in the distance.

Sky Tower and Harbour Bridge in the distance
Sky Tower and Harbour Bridge in the distance

I walked a small part of the First World War Heritage Trail, which runs from Central Takapuna to the ferry terminal in Devonport.  For more info on Auckland’s First World War Heritage Trail see the Auckland Council website.

It started to rain as I was reached my van at the end of my walk.  Basywater Marina was close by, so I stopped by to enjoy one of my old favorite views of the harbor and central Auckland.  I was treated to a nice full rainbow over the city.

Rainbow over Auckland from Bayswater Marina
Rainbow over Auckland from Bayswater Marina

To view the full gallery of 11 photos on imgur, click here.

 

Barabra

I give Barabra’s WiFi 4 bars for being free, fast, reliable, and basically unlimited (details below).  Barabra has one small table indoors with a place to plug in, and plugs outside that can be used from 2-3 tables, depending how the tables are set up on a given day.

Barabra is a bar and cafe on Prince’s Warf in central Auckland.  The view of the harbor and the Auckland Harbor Bridge is awesome.  It’s a great place to spend the day, and just as enjoyable at night.  Most of the seating is outside, but sheltered from the rain.  In the early afternoon the sun shines on Barabra, if there are no clouds, and can be quite bright, causing customers to move to the limited number of tables that offer shelter from its rays.

Visit Barabra’s website for menus, maps and other information.

Barabra’s WiFi doesn’t have a password, so it’s easy to connect the first time you visit.  Because it’s wide open, there is a limit of 400GB per day.  However, if you hit your  limit, the staff can call the tech guy, and he can reset your limit.  I told him that I had hit the limit a second time, and he removed the limit entirely for my laptop.  They want you to be able to use the WiFi, and they want you to stick around and enjoy Barabra.  The staff are always friendly and helpful.

Barabra serves a full range of coffees and teas, and also wine and beer, as well as various other beverages.  There is a good selection of food available as well, including scones and muffins, sandwiches and pizza.  For the great location, you pay a bit more for the food and alcoholic beverages.

You’re right by the harbor, and there’s always something interesting going on on the water.  I’ve made a number of posts about interesting things I’ve seen from Barabra, including the Haunui and the Hōkūleʻa, and the floating event center.  Barabra was also a great place to watch the Harbor Bridge Lightshow, and I still hope to see that make a comeback.

My timing isn’t the best for posting this review.  Because much of the cafe is outdoors, and in a location that draws a lot of tourist traffic, the number of customers drops off in the winter.  I’m confident that outdoor heaters keep it comfortable, and Barabra appears to remain open, but I was told that the hours and menu would be reduced.

If you need WiFi and a coffee or tea, you can’t do much better than Barabra.

 

John F. Kennedy Memorial Park

In which Miles visits a small Auckland park and is surprised by spectacular coastline and preserved WWII gun emplacements.

To view the full gallery of 14 images, click here.

The John F. Kennedy Memorial Park website offers a lot of info on the park and its history – see the paragraph below – but I don’t think it explains why it is named after JFK.

“The gun emplacements and tunnels you now see at John F. Kennedy Memorial Park are the remnants of a 6-inch” gun battery constructed during 1941 and 1942 as part of Auckland’s World War II defences. Castor Bay was one of three gun batteries whose purpose was to defend the northern approaches to the Rangitoto Channel; the others were at Whangaparaoa and Motutapu. The eastern approaches were covered by batteries located at Motuihe and Rangitoto and from 1945 Stony Batter. The batteries at North Head, Fort Takapuna and Bastion Point were the last line of defence.”

The gun emplacements and other defensive installations are interesting enough, but the long stairs down to the shore are impressive and the coastline is spectacular.

Castor Bay and stairs to the beach.  Rangitoto Island in the distance.
Castor Bay and stairs to the beach. Rangitoto Island in the distance.

The water is so clear that you can see the shape of the rocks beneath from the top of the stairs.

There are a number of gun emplacements installed along the coast.  I didn’t climb up to this one, but it does look like fun.

Gun emplacement on the coast
Gun emplacement on the coast

The beach offers great views of Rangitoto Island and beautiful cliffs.

Castor Bay coastline, Rangitoto Island
Castor Bay coastline, Rangitoto Island

There are a variety of cool rock formations.

Castor Bay coastline
Castor Bay coastline

I was taking pictures at the top of the stairs when I noticed that something was moving, and took a series of pictures of a large ray swimming along the coast.

A large ray in Castor Bay
A large ray in Castor Bay

The gallery includes an animated GIF of this ray in motion, and more photos of the park and coastline.

To view the full gallery of 14 images, click here.

 

Luckens Reserve

In which Miles visits another small suburban reserve.

There is a gallery of 6 images below.

I do realize that a lot of the places I’ve visited lately, and/or my posts about them, are a bit underwhelming, considering what is available in New Zealand.  I’ll post about some reasons for that soon.  The next place I visited, JFK Memorial Park, I found a lot more interesting, so look out for my post that in a couple of days.  A visit to Muriwai Beach and Mokoroa Falls is coming soon after that.

The largest part of Luckens Reserve is a large lawn that overlooks the Westlake Marina.

Large lawn at Luckens Reserve, view of Westpark Marina
Large lawn at Luckens Reserve, view of Westpark Marina

There is also a playground area near the car park for kids.  The Waipareira Walkway offers a walk along the coast of about 1.5km, and passes through Luckens Reserve.  For some more info visit the planmyplay website.

A path leading down to the shore is surrounded by some attractive bush.

Along the path down to the bay
Along the path down to the bay

The coastline here is very muddy, with a lot of young mangrove.  I didn’t have the right shoes, but I still found it pleasant to stroll along the shore and enjoy the view of downtown Auckland over the bay and harbor.  There were a number of birds foraging in the mud.  I found this to be the best part of Luckens Reserve, and a nice place to spend a couple of hours.

Waipareira Bay, view of central Auckland and Sky Tower
Waipareira Bay, view of central Auckland and Sky Tower

Dogs are welcome at Luckens Reserve.  I passed an older couple coming up from the beach, exchanged greeting, and continued my ascent. A short while later I looked up to see a huge pit bull standing with its legs planted far apart in the middle of the path. It was big, and very thick as well, but I didn’t feel threatened, although that pose was a bit unsettling. I said “hi buddy!”, and he immediately changed his stance, walking forward but also moving to the opposite side of the trail in a way that was almost shy. I continued walking, and after a brief delay it crossed the trail toward me. As it got close I stood still. It walked up and stood with its head close to me, looking away. I talked to it again, and slowly put my hand on its back. It stood there, not moving, so I began to pet its head, which was about at my waist. I like dogs big enough that I can pet just their heads. This dog had short, soft fur covering an enormous skull. It looked like an older dog. After petting and talking to it for a while, I noticed that the couple was standing further down the trail watching. I said “Oh, they’re waiting for you. Nice to meet you buddy!” I gave it a last pat on the head and it went on its way to its owners. What a nice dog!  I wonder how muddy it was upon leaving the “beach” area below.

Enjoy the full gallery of 6 photos below.

Kauri Point Domain & Kauri Point Centennial Park

In which Miles goes looking for kauri, but once again ends up admiring coastline.

To view the full gallery of 20 photos on imgur, click here.

Kauri Point Domain

I spotted this park in Google maps, and thought it sounded promising.

The walk starts with a gradual ascent, offering a short diversion to a small mangrove-filled bay.

Small bay full of mangroves
Small bay full of mangroves

A grassy, open expanse offered a view of the Waitemata Harbour before leading onto a short descent to a beach on Fitzpatrick Bay.

View of Waitemata Harbour
View of Waitemata Harbour
Beach on Fitzpatrick Bay
Beach on Fitzpatrick Bay

I thought I saw a path leading up the hillside opposite where I had entered what I’d call a small valley.  There was no other obvious way out except the trail on which I had entered that valley.  The beach seemed to be a popular place for people to bring their dogs.  I asked a dog owner about the path I had seen.  She said that it was an alternate route back to where I had parked.  She pointed out another way up the hill that was a bit less difficult than the one I had seen, but connected with the same trail.  She also told me that in spite of the park looking larger on the map, there wasn’t really anywhere else to go but back to the car park.  Then she told me about nearby Kauri Point Centennial Park, which offers a few more walking trails.

The route she showed me was extremely steep.  It was more climb than walk.  I used both hands in spots, but there were a lot of good strong roots to offer good hand holds.

Kauri Point Centennial Park

The track I took in Kauri Point Centennial Park led downhill to Kendall Bay, offering views of the bay along the way.  There are options for longer walks, but the park is not a large one.

Kendall Bay in Kauri Point Centennial Park
Kendall Bay in Kauri Point Centennial Park

I walked along the shore to the point to the left, which is obscured by a tree in the image above.  The coast of Kendall Bay offered views of the bay and harbour, and cool cliffs, trees and rock formations that didn’t disappoint, in spite of the fact that I’ve enjoyed so many of these things recently.

Cliffs on Kendall Bay
Cliffs on Kendall Bay
Rock shelf on Kendall Bay
Rock shelf on Kendall Bay
View over Kendall Bay
View over Kendall Bay

I was told that there are kauri trees in both of these parks, but I didn’t see any.  I believe they are young, and relatively small.

To view the full gallery of 20 photos on imgur, click here.

 

Eskdale Bush and Birkenhead Domain

In which Miles visits a couple of small parks in Auckland’s north shore area.

Eskdale Reserve is next to Birkenhead Domain, and also to Hiwihau Reserve.  Apparently this fact offers a few longer walks.

Eskdale Reserve one entrance
Eskdale Reserve, one entrance

I spent a very short amount of time in these parks.  They deserve another visit.  I did enjoy the setting pictured below.

Waterfall and stream in Eskdale Reserve/Birkenhead Domain
Waterfall and stream in Eskdale Reserve/Birkenhead Domain

The Short Walks in Auckland site offers some good info, including maps.  I hope to be better informed, and better experienced, in regard to Eskdale Bush and Birkenhead Domain in the near future.

Albert Park

In which Miles pays a brief visit to one of his favorite parks, and one of his favorite trees.

There is a gallery of 9 photos below.

It may seem a dramatic thing to name a favorite tree, or for that matter a favorite park, but here we are.  In fact, I’m only committing today to naming these among my favorites.

Albert Park is situated in the central business district of Auckland, just off of Queen Street.  It’s a small park, but it is full of very cool trees.  For years now, if I have some time to relax in Auckland, Albert Park has been one of my go-to options.  I had the chance to sepnd some time there last weekend.  I showed you some of Albert Park, and it’s trees, in my post on the Lantern Festival, which is held in Albert Park every year.

One tree in particular in Albert Park has always stood out for me.  I’ve always liked seeing groups of people sitting inside this tree, and I’ve occasionally done the same myself.

View of the "entrance", June 5 2015
View of the “entrance”, June 5 2015

I decided that it may be interesting to shoot a panoramic view from inside that tree.

Panoramic view inside the tree, June 5, 2015
Panoramic view inside the tree, June 5, 2015

High winds in February 2014 broke a big limb, changing the shape of the tree dramatically, and creating a kind of entrance that was not there before.  The photos below are from 2014 and show the tree freshly broken.

Freshly broken in 2014
Freshly broken in 2014
Freshly broken in 2014
Freshly broken in 2014

The photos below were shot in 2005, and show what the tree used to look like.

Similar view from 2005
Another view from 2005
Inside, 2005
Inside, 2005
Another view, 2005
Another view, 2005

There are additional views in the gallery below.

Long Bay Regional Park

In which Miles takes a short walk on a Long Bay, on the Queen’s Birthday.

To view the full gallery of 41 photos on imgur, click here.

I selected Long Bay because it was the closest coastal park I could find on the map.  With the rain and cold, the coast just sounded more open and sunny than the bush.  The coast at Long Bay is as entertaining as any of the coastlines I walked in the previous several days.  The weather was pretty good, and it was a public holiday, so a lot of other people had the idea to go to Long Bay, but most people stayed close to the beach.

Longbay Beach, looking north toward Rangitoto
Longbay Beach, looking north toward Rangitoto

The Coastal Walk at Long Bay overlaps with part of Te Araroa (The Long Pathway), the 3000km route stretching from Cape Reinga in the North of New Zealand to Bluff on the southern tip of the South Island.  I haven’t mentioned it, but several of the walks I’ve written about are part of Te Araroa.

The cliffs, trees and rocks along the foreshore at Long Bay are all spectacular.

Coastal cliff on Long Bay
Coastal cliff on Long Bay
Tree at Pohutukawa Bay
Trees at Pohutukawa Bay
Long Bay coast
Long Bay coast

I’d say the tide came in a bit during my walk, but it didn’t feel like walking the foreshore was going to become a big problem for a while.  There were places that weren’t easy; there were fields of large rocks that require careful attention to cross, and closer to the water there large areas of very slippery rock.  I found it wise to take it slow in those areas.

Foreshore at Long Bay
Foreshore at Long Bay

At Pohutukawa Bay I left the coast to venture up for a view from the cliffs at Piripiri Point.  I didn’t find an especially open vantage point, but the grass and trees looked great after all of the recent rain.

View of Long Bay
View of Long Bay

Soon it was time to turn back, and I was still feeling the coast, so I rejoined it at Pohutukawa Bay.  The whole area looks great, but on this day I was up for avoiding the climbs, and enjoying the same coastline in reverse.

There are only a few walking trails at Long Bay Regional Park, but I’ll go back to enjoy the foreshore, if nothing else.

For more info on Long Bay Regional Park, visit the Auckland Council website.

To view the full gallery of 41 photos of Long Bay Regional Park on imgur, click here.

 

Lynwood Cove Ramble

In which Miles does the Lynwood Cove Ramble.

To view the full gallery of 14 photos on imgur, click here.

Lynwood Cove Ramble is one of the Auckland Council‘s Manukau coastal walks.  There’s a map and info at that link, and info on various other walks.

A friend and I parked at the end of Gilletta Road.  He thought the foreshore looked a bit muddy, so we took the other path first.  It starts with a steep ascent with a few views of Lynwood Cove and Manukau Harbor on the way up.   

View of Manukau Harbor
View of Manukau Harbor

We were talking, and this walk went by pretty quickly – the Auckland Council estimates this walk at 1-1.5 hours.  We got a bit turned around on the roads, and we may have missed some of the upper part of the trail.  In any case, we found the entrance to Manukau Domain, and descended the steps to the shore.

The tide appeared to have one out some since we started, and we decided to walk back along the rock shelf foreshore.

The Manukau arbor coast was an interesting one, with cool rock formations, cliffs and trees.  I was ready for more interesting foreshore after Tawharanui the day before.

Manukau Harbor coastline
Manukau Harbor coastline
Manukau Harbor coastline
Manukau Harbor coastline
Manukau Harbor coastline
Manukau Harbor coastline

This is a nice short walk, and easily reached from the city, but I would definitely recommend going at low tide, so you can walk the foreshore.  I’ll be looking for the good apps for info on tides.

To view the full gallery of 14 photos on imgur, click here.