Sylvan Park

In which Miles finally lays eyes on Lake Pupuke.

For the full gallery of 5 pictures on imgur, click here.

For a long time I was aware of the existence of Lake Pupuke, a large crater lake in Takapuna, only from looking at maps, even though I had driven around the area quite a bit.  One day when I had nice weather and some free time I decided to go to Sylvan Park to have a look.

Lake Pupuke
Lake Pupuke

Sylvan Park itself is pretty small.  But there is a path that can be followed along the shore of the lake, and that makes all the difference.  Much of the time I felt that I was really in someone’s back yard, but it seemed ok to be there.  Access to the foreshore is either a requirement or a commonly extended courtesy in New Zealand, and I assume this is the case with the lake shore as well.

There were a lot of black swans on the lake, and a lot of other birds as well.

Lake Pupuke black swan
Lake Pupuke black swan

It was an overcast day, but I got to watch the rain come in and keep mostly to the opposite side of the lake.  The weather and Takapuna looked great over the lake.

One day I might see if it is possible to walk all the way around Lake Pupuke.  It was definitely a pleasant enough place for a second visit.

For the full gallery of 5 pictures on imgur, click here.

 

New views of Tawharanui

in which Miles takes in the previously unseen at Tawharanui Open Sanctuary.

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

With the white sand beaches so near the car park, it’s easy to have a look before proceeding further.  A cloud shrouded the top of Little Barrier Island throughout this visit.

Omaha Bay and Little Barrier Island
Omaha Bay and Little Barrier Island

My plan was to walk the North Coast and South Coast Tracks, but I was pushing the limits of the time available before sunset, and not inclined to take less time for pictures, or to rush in any way.  Fishermans Track offered me a way to compromise, and walk just part of the South Coast Track.  See the map of the park on the Auckland Council website.

The North Coast Track offered familiar views of that coastline from a higher vantage point.  The track itself is mowed grass through pasture-like lands.

North Coast Track
North Coast Track

It seemed a shame not to take the Tokatu Point Lookout Track to the end of the peninsula, but I decided to save that for another day.

Little Barrier Island over Tokatu Point
Little Barrier Island over Tokatu Point

The meeting of the North Coast and South Coast Tracks offers a nice view of the waters on both sides of the peninsula.

Tawharanui Peninsula from the intersection of the North and South Coast Tracks
Tawharanui Peninsula from the intersection of the North and South Coast Tracks

The South Coast Track shares meadow-like characteristics with the North Coast Track.  Fishermans Track however dove quickly into the bush.

Fishermans Track
Fishermans Track

On Fishermans Track I got my first decent pictures of a Wood Pigeon.  It seemed much more cautious than drunk on the berries they are reportedly fond of.  Maybe none are available in Tawharanui.

New Zealand Wood Pidgeon
New Zealand Wood Pigeon

There are more pictures to enjoy, and I plan to add just a bit more information in the captions as well.  To view the full gallery of photos on imgur, click here.

 

JFK Park at low tide

In which Miles enjoys still more new experiences at Kennedy Memorial Park.

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

On a recent visit to JFK park, I was excited to see how low the water was.  Compare the image below with those in my previous posts on JFK Park.

Castor Bay from JFK Park
Castor Bay from JFK Park

It looked easier to walk around the point to the north, so I did that.  I also walked around the point beyond that.  It was often very slippery, so it wasn’t as easy as it looked, but it did offer some nice, different scenery.

North along the beach
North along the beach

The weather was good, and the sky and clouds contributed as usual.

Castor Bay and Rangitoto Island
Castor Bay and Rangitoto Island

There are more cool cliffs as well.

Cliffs on Castor Bay
Cliffs on Castor Bay
Cliffs on Castor Bay
Cliffs on Castor Bay

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

 

Long Bay

In which Miles revisits Long Bay Regional Park for further exploration.

To view the full gallery of 19 photos on imgur, click here.

Long Bay is conveniently located, so I’ve made several trips back at times when time was short, but I wanted to get outdoors.

On my first trip back I decided to walk to the south end of the beach, then continued south along the coast.  It is similar to the coast to the north of Long Bay, with impressive tide pools and rock shelf, cliffs and trees.

South end of Long Bay Beach
South end of Long Bay Beach

I paid a 3rd visit to Long Bay Park at high tide, and that seemed like a great time to walk the Coastal Track, which follows the coast along the tops of the cliffs, dipping down to sea level at Grannys Bay Beach and Pohutakawa Bay Beach.  I followed this track to its end at Okura River.  Further up this river is Okura Bush Scenic Reserve, a place that I still plan to revisit when I have the time to complete the Okura Bush Walkway.

Coastal Track
Coastal Track

On my 4th visit I headed north on the Coastal Track, with no plan in mind, just knowing that most of the tracks start at the north end of the park.  The Nature Trail branches off from the Coastal Track, so I followed that.  This is a short track with some very scenic bush, ending near the Vaughan Homestead.  The beach was visible from there, so I responded to its siren call and enjoyed walking the shore at low tide.

Long Bay Coast
Long Bay Coast

My memory of previous visits was correct, and at Grannys Bay I was able to hook up with the north end of the 100 Acre Track, making it convenient to explore more new ground on my return to the car park.  The track climbs away from the coast through young regenerating forest, and offers more nice views of the bay.

I’ve covered most of Long Bay Regional Park now, but since it is so convenient I wouldn’t rule out returning again in the future.

Check out the Auckland Council page, and also the map of the park.

To view the full gallery of 19 photos on imgur, click here.

 

Heritage Trail, Shakespear Park

In which Miles walks the Heritage Trail in Shakespear Park.

To view the full gallery of 8 photos on imgur, click here.

You pass Army Bay on the way in, and it’s always tempting to stop.

Army Bay
Army Bay

I had some trouble finding the Waterfall Gully car park, so I parked at Okoromai Bay and walked from there.

Okoromai Bay
Okoromai Bay

It’s a climb from the bay to the Lookout, to which all tracks in the park lead.  Most of the work is over by the Pillbox, which housed a large machine gun during WWII.

Pillbox
Pillbox

From the Lookout the track descends, soon entering a scenic bush and following a river.  The falls below are a highlight.

Falls on Heritage Trail
Falls on Heritage Trail

After walking the Heritage Trail I realized that I walked half of it back in 2014, before walking back from the Lookout the way I had come, rather than completing the loop.

See my previous posts on visits to Shakespear Park, in 2014 and 2015.

Here’s a map of Shakespear Park, and here’s the Auckland Council page on Shakespear Park.

To view the full gallery of 8 photos on imgur, click here.

 

Shepherds Park

In which Miles visits a small North Shore park.

To view the full gallery on imgur, click here.

Shepherds Park is just big enough.  It has tennis courts and a lot of space dedicated to larger sports fields like football or rugby.  But it also has a good amount of bush to walk through, and some interesting coastline access.  And some striking trees.

Shepherds Park trees
Shepherds Park trees
Shepherds Park
Shepherds Park

There’s some rock shelf, but even the rock is very muddy.  There are a lot of mangroves.

Shepherds Park
Shepherds Park

A path leads to a view over a small inlet, and then around that inlet to the boat ramp on the other side… and beyond.

Shepherds Park
Shepherds Park

There are a number of secret spots along the way, off of the trail, to sit and enjoy the mangroves.

Shepherds Park
Shepherds Park

To view the full gallery on imgur, click here.