Welcome to Devonport, Home of Eliza McCartney

Everything I saw of the 2016 Summer Olympics was completely by chance, but I feel lucky that I got to watch Eliza McCartney win the bronze medal in the pole vault.  She showed such sincere enthusiasm for her first Olympics appearance, and in her celebrations of her good jumps, that the presenters could not fail to comment, or the audience to root for her.  At 19 years and 252 days, Eliza became the youngest Olympic medalist in the women’s pole vault.

At Caledonian Athletic Ground in Dunedin, on 5 March 2016, after clearing 4.80m. - Wikimedia Commons
At Caledonian Athletic Ground in Dunedin, on 5 March 2016, after clearing 4.80m. – Wikimedia Commons

I didn’t realize at the time that I was watching a kiwi girl.  I caught on to this during televised replays of the event not long after.  It was pretty cool listening in on a group of little local girls as they watched and spoke admiringly of Eliza.

NZ pole vaulting representative in Rio 2016 - Wikimedia Commons
NZ pole vaulting representative in Rio 2016 – Wikimedia Commons

It still strikes me as somehow quaint that a sign hand-painted on a sheet of plywood was placed next to the sign for Devonport proclaiming it “Home of Eliza McCartney”.  Maybe the town has plans for something more; at this point the Devonport sign itself could really use a freshening up.

Devonport, Home of Eliza McCartney
Devonport, Home of Eliza McCartney

I’m in Devonport almost daily because the small but affluent Auckland suburb has a good number of businesses that offer free WiFi and are good places to work online.  As it turns out a young girl who works at my favorite Devonport cafe is a long time friend of Eliza, and watched Eliza win the bronze with Eliza’s mother.  A short time later I learned that my long-time friend was taught kiteboarding and paragliding by Eliza’s boyfriend’s mother, and I believe father, who run a company teaching these sports in Bayswater.  The boyfriend is a champion kiteboarder.

Eliza arrived back in Auckland today, and appeared on the local news this morning, and at a welcome ceremony later this morning.

Rio Olympics 2016: New Zealand’s Eliza McCartney claims bronze medal in pole vault

11 things you didn’t know about Eliza

Whakatiwai

Whakatiwai is a regional park in Auckland’s Hunua Ranges, on the southeastern coast of the Auckland Region.

You can view the full gallery of 20 pictures below.  To view on imgur, click here.

There’s a sign for Whakatiwai next to a small carpark, right next to East Coast Road, that looks like it was allocated from the front yard of a local farmhouse.  It’s right across the road from the coast, so I had to go and have a closer look.

Firth of Thames
Firth of Thames
Firth of Thames
Firth of Thames

You can’t do enough research before heading out in New Zealand.  The Auckland Council website sometimes has no track information for a given park, so you have to look elsewhere for info on walking in that park.  The site lists two tracks for Whakatiwai though – Whakatiwai Ridge Track and Whakatiwai Track.  But the sign near the Whakatiwai carpark showed two entirely different tracks.

Not the tracks I was looking for
Not the tracks I was looking for

I tried to search online for more information, but the cell signal came and went, and I could get no further information.  I decided to just walk the track to Whaharau, a nearby regional park, see what it had to offer, as far as I could in the time available.

At first I was walking through what appear to still be used as pastures, complete with deep wet hoof prints and very muddy.  They the track transitions to a muddy road that gradually contains more gravel and becomes more firm and dry.  After passing a couple of farmhouses there are some attractive hillside pastures.  Somewhere near this point I was getting a proper 3G signal, and was able to drop a pin in Google Maps in case I needed it to find my way back.

Muddy road and pastures
Muddy road and pastures

The most attractive views of the walk look over the pasture lands of Whakatiwai and over the Firth of Thames to the Coromandel Peninsula.

Whakatiwai, Firth of Thames, and Coromandel Peninsula
Whakatiwai, Firth of Thames, and Coromandel Peninsula

After traversing several pastures the road enters a fairly dense bush, and begins to climb steeply.

Whakatiwai bush
Whakatiwai bush

The dense bush doesn’t offer many views.  There are no viewing platforms or even benches along this track.

A view through the trees
A view through the trees

The road continues to climb until it reaches a fork, with Waharau to the right and Mangatangi straight ahead.  I continued a bit further because it appeared that the road might reach a peak, but that wasn’t the case.  At a turn-around I tried walking along a path into the bush, in hopes that the bush might open up for a more expansive view.  There were blue ribbons tied to trees giving me confidence about not getting lost, but the path became really not a path, and after walking too far without seeing the next blue ribbon, I turned back.

Other than a few narrow openings in the trees, I didn’t get any great views until I emerged again from the bush.

Whakatiwai-Auckland-DSC_3742

By this time everything looked a bit different in the evening light.

Whakatiwai
Whakatiwai
Whakatiwai
Whakatiwai

This wasn’t a bad walk, but I’ll have to do some research online to see if there is more to Whakatiwai Regional Park, perhaps another entrance that gives access to the other tracks listed on the Auckland Council site.

You can view the full gallery of 20 pictures below.  To view on imgur, click here.

Arataki Visitor Centre

In which the Arataki Visitor Centre gets its own post.

You can view the full gallery of 7 pictures below.  To view on imgur, click here.

The Auckland Council’s directory of regional parks  lists the Arataki Visitor Centre as a regional park.  It is more than just an exceptional visitor center, with a number of short walks of up to an hour accessible from the grounds, including several that offer views of large kauri trees.

When arriving at the visitor center you can’t miss the large Pouwhenua in front of the building.

Arataki Visitor Centre and Pouwhenua
Arataki Visitor Centre and Pouwhenua

The main entrance is on the second floor, and is accessed via long looping ramps on either side of the Pouwhenua shown above.  The ramp to the left leads past a viewing platform that offers very impressive views over parts of the Waitakere Ranges and eastern Auckland.

View of east Auckland
View of east Auckland

Inside is what amounts to a small museum.  The doors in back offer access to a raised wooden walkway through the native forest behind the visitor center with info plaques helpfully located along the way.

Arataki Visitor Centre
Arataki Visitor Centre

If you plan to visit any location within the Waitakere Ranges, it cannot hurt to drop in at the visitor center to see what helpful information they may have to offer.  It may well be right on the way to your destination.  And it may save you some serious time or trouble.  This winter they have helped me find various walks that aren’t too muddy and dangerous, for example.

The Arataki Visitor Centre is the gateway to the Waitakere Ranges Regional Park, with more than 16,000 hectares of native rainforest and coastline. It’s 250km of walking and tramping tracks provide access to beaches, breathtaking views, and spectacular rocky outcrops, including the Hillary Trail, black sand beaches, waterfalls and giant kauri trees.
http://regionalparks.aucklandcouncil.govt.nz/aratakivisitorcentre

I had some time on a recent visit, and decided to walk a short distance to a viewing platform above the visitor center.  It offers 360° views over the Waitakere Forest and Auckland.

East Auckland, Waitemata Harbor, CBD and Sky Tower, Rangitoto, and Hauraki Gulf
East Auckland, Waitemata Harbor, CBD and Sky Tower, Rangitoto, and Hauraki Gulf
East Auckland
East Auckland
Waitakere Forest
Waitakere Forest
East Auckland, Waitemata Harbor, CBD and Sky Tower, Rangitoto, and Hauraki Gulf
East Auckland, Waitemata Harbor, CBD and Sky Tower, Rangitoto, and Hauraki Gulf

You can view the full gallery of 7 pictures below.  To view on imgur, click here.

North Shore Coastal Walk – Castor Bay to Devonport

In which Miles finishes the North Shore Coastal Walk.

You can view the full gallery of 47 pictures below.  To view on imgur, click here.

With a break in a long period of rainy weather, and a low tide at noon, I decided to finish the North Shore Coastal Walk.  JFK Park closes its gates at 6 or 6:30pm, so I decided to start next door at Castor Bay.

Castor Bay
Castor Bay

This too proved to be a false start, but I had to put in some effort before finding that out.  The beach and view are beautiful, and I would get a close look for the first time… but because I was starting only about an hour before low tide, the lost time caused me some concern.

Castor Bay, Takapuna in the distance
Castor Bay, Takapuna in the distance

The rock shelf around the point was as slick and treacherous as any I had experienced on the Long Bay-Castor Bay segment of the walk.  With that comes really interesting rock formations.

Castor Bay coast
Castor Bay coast

This part of Auckland’s coast is closer to Rangitoto Island, and it was a clear sunny day, so the views of my favorite volcano were excellent.  Click the image below to see an animated gif of Rangitoto Island from 13 different points along the coast of Auckland’s North Shore.

Rangitoto from the coast of Auckland's North Shore
Rangitoto from the coast of Auckland’s North Shore

Boats exit the marina on Wairau Creek at high tide.  Even at low tide it is too deep to cross.  I had to retrace my steps, and drive the short distance to Milford Reserve, and continue from there.

Wairau Creek
Wairau Creek

Milford Beach is beautiful, and good encouragement for continuing.

Milford Beach
Milford Beach

A man-made walkway makes the going easier around the point from Castor Bay to Thorne Bay.

Walkway between Castor Bay to Thorne Bay
Walkway between Castor Bay to Thorne Bay

The walkway gets more narrow along Thorne Bay, and the houses are much closer to the shore, but it’s still very scenic.

Thorne Bay
Thorne Bay
Thorne Bay
Thorne Bay

Along Thorne Bay I came across some workers building a sort of wall.  Then I saw that they were rolling wheelbarrows full of cement along a walkway made by laying planks over the rocks.  I was impressed – even before I tried walking on those unsecured planks and decided that I was safer on the rocks!

Thorne Bay
Thorne Bay

Takapuna Beach is another long beautiful beach.

Takapuna Beach
Takapuna Beach

Starting at Castor Bay it looks like the coast walk will be very urban, but there are places where it seems that you are well away from the city.  South of Takapuna much of the coast is lined with high cliffs, which really help with that illusion.

South of Takapuna
South of Takapuna
South of Takapuna
South of Takapuna
Coast near Belmont?
Coast near Belmont?

Rounding the point and reaching Narrow Neck Beach was very tricky, and I began to wonder if it had been too long since low tide to continue.

Approaching Narrow Neck Beach
Approaching Narrow Neck Beach

Narrow Neck Beach is another great beach, and offers among the best and closest views of Rangitoto Island.

Narrow Neck Beach
Narrow Neck Beach
South end of Narrow Neck Beach
South end of Narrow Neck Beach

I almost left the coast and proceed along Vauxhall Road past Fort Takapuna… but then I thought, I came here to walk the coast, why not continue as far as I can?

Coast near Narrow Neck
Coast near Narrow Neck

As you can see below, the rising water wasn’t leaving much room to walk.

Coast below Fort Takapuna
Coast below Fort Takapuna

The cliffs are as interesting as any on the North Shore though.

Coast below Fort Takapuna
Coast below Fort Takapuna
Coast below Fort Takapuna
Coast below Fort Takapuna

With Cheltenham Beach in sight, I reached a point where I could not continue.  I’m interested to know how far I could proceed at low tide, so I’ll have to come back and try again.

Coast below Fort Takapuna
Coast near Cheltenham Beach

I assumed that Te Araroa would proceed along Vauxhall Road, but I didn’t see any signs.  Then again, I was a bit tired to remember to look for them.

Military bases in Auckland fit into the neighborhoods around them as unobtrusively as any I have seen.

Fort Caultley
Fort Caultley
Mount Victoria from the streets of Devonport
Mount Victoria from the streets of Devonport

It really seems like Te Araroa should somehow follow King Edward Parade, with its great views of Northhead, Waitemata Harbor, and central Auckland.

Northhead from Kind Edward Parade
Northhead from King Edward Parade
Central Auckland and the Devonport Ferry building from King Edward Parade
Central Auckland and the Devonport Ferry building from King Edward Parade

Devonport has at least one resident sulphur-crested cockatoo.  These are considered an invasive species in New Zealand.  This guy is very loud, but it doesn’t look to me like anyone in Devonport is interested in ratting him out to the DOC.

Sulphur-crested cockatoo
Sulphur-crested cockatoo

My second day on the North Shore Coastal Walk proved as cool as the first, and the walk left me feeling that I had earned the great scenery and experience.  A bus was waiting for me when I got to the ferry building, and I boarded immediately for my ride back to Milford Reserve.

You can view the full gallery of 47 pictures below.  To view on imgur, click here.

Waharau

In which Miles visits Waharau Regional Park in the Hunua Ranges.

You can view the full gallery of 9 pictures below.  To view on imgur, click here.

Fortunately I remembered to check the tides, and discovered that this was not a good day to try to finish the North Shore Coastal Walk.

The Hunua Ranges is a large regional park in Auckland’s southeast.  It looks to be about as large as the Waitakere Ranges in the northwest.  Both contain within them a number of other regional parks.  From Auckland’s southeast you can see the Coromandel Peninsula across the Firth of Thames.

View over the Firth of Thames to the Coromandel Peninsula
View over the Firth of Thames to the Coromandel Peninsula

Many tracks in the Hunua Ranges were closed through the middle of July for goat control!  “The control is part of an annual programme to reduce goat numbers and protect the high conservation value of the park. The programme is proving to be successful but requires an ongoing commitment to maintain low goat numbers within the Regional Park.  Control will be carried out by contracted professional hunters using dogs and rifles. Helicopters will not be used as part of this operation.”  You can read more about the goat control program here.

Feral goats in the Hunua Ranges - from alpineclub.org.nz
Feral goats in the Hunua Ranges – from alpineclub.org.nz

I saw no other people at Waharau Regional Park during my entire visit.  I parked next to a sort of visitors center that was closed, although the toilets, which could be locked, were open.  Behind it is a pasture full of sheep.  All of the trails start by passing through a number of campgrounds together before branching off in different directions.  They are well marked with colored-coded posts.  I chose the Waharau Ridge Track, a 3.5 hour loop.  It starts with a long steep climb through the bush before offering some views over forest and pasture land, as well as over the Firth of Thames to the Coromandel Peninsula.

Waharau view
Waharau view

The trail was a bit muddy, but the ground contains a lot of gravel that kept things from getting too slick.

Waharau Regional Park
Waharau Regional Park

As evening approached the blue skies got a bit hazy.

view from Waharau Regional Park
view from Waharau Regional Park

It grew dark before I finished my walk, and near the start of the tracks there are no signs directing one to the carpark.  I got lost among the campgrounds, and had to look at the color-coded signposts and deduct where I was based on which colors were present, and which were missing.  This gave me a good idea where I was, but to find out which direction I was heading I just had to walk and see.  It took me about 1.5 hours to find my way back to the carpark.  I used a flashlight app on my phone to see my way; fortunately I keep a spare battery in my camera pack.  I resolved to keep a flashlight in my pack, and make a habit of downloading Google map data for the areas I visit, and also dropping a pin where I’m parked.

I saw no goats during my walk.  The goat control program is working!

You can view the full gallery of 9 pictures below.  To view on imgur, click here.

North Shore Coastal Walk

In which the North Shore Coastal Walk proves as awesome as any walk in Auckland, and much closer to home than many.

You can view the full gallery of 30 pictures below.  To view on imgur, click here.

Te Araroa is New Zealand’s Trail – taking in spectacular New Zealand landscapes from beaches to volcanoes to forests to cities.

The 3000km route stretching from Cape Reinga in the North of New Zealand to Bluff in the South was officially opened December 3rd, 2011 by the Governor-General of New Zealand, Sir Jerry Mateparae.
http://www.teararoa.org.nz/

Te Araroa passes through Auckland of course, and the North Shore Coastal Walk is the section from Long Bay to Devonport.  The logo appears on road signs along the coast.  The site recommends against it, but mentions that it is possible to walk along the foreshore at low tide.  I got a taste of the street-and-footpath route with a friend who is not a walker, and that was enough to know that I wanted to do the low tide route.

The cliffs and rock shelves at the south end of Long Bay reminded me of why I love to walk along the coast, and of what the North Shore Coastal Walk would be like.

South end of Long Bay
South end of Long Bay

The rocks along the coast can be extremely slippery, and precarious in other ways as well.  The scenery is incredible, but it is essential that you spend a lot of time looking at the surfaces you are about to walk on.  I tried to maintain a habit of finding good footing, then enjoying the view while stationary.

Looking north across Long Bay
Looking north across Long Bay

Just around the first point is the southern boundary of the Long Bay-Okura Marine Reserve.  There were a couple guys fishing right at the border.  I imagine fish are plentiful there.

Southern boundary of the Long Bay-Okura Marine Reserve
Southern boundary of the Long Bay-Okura Marine Reserve

Torbay is the neighborhood just south of Long Bay on land – but Torbay the bay is south of both Winstones Cove and Waiake Bay – and The Tor itself is between the two.

The Tor, from Winstones Cove
The Tor, from Winstones Cove

Houses are nearby, but just far enough from the shore that much of the coast feels pretty remote.  There are frequent paths or stairs providing access from the houses and neighborhoods, but I encountered fairly few people.  I had lunch on a bench on a nice little beach on Winstones Cove.

The Tor, from Winstones Cove
The Tor, from Winstones Cove

The Tor is a pretty photogenic feature, and I took a lot of pictures of it and its surroundings.

Looking north over Waiake Bay at The Tor
Looking north over Waiake Bay at The Tor
Looking north over Waiake Bay at The Tor
Looking north over Waiake Bay at The Tor

Rangitoto is always visible along Auckland’s east coast.  It was an overcast day, with a bit of haze that cleared a bit as the day progressed.  Below is the point between Torbay and Browns Bay.

Rangitoto Island in the distance
Rangitoto Island in the distance

I walked the beach at Browns Bay without recognizing it.

Browns Bay
Browns Bay

This walk is full of bizarre rock formations.

North Shore Coast
North Shore Coast

Approaching Murrays Bay was probably the most slippery and difficult terrain of the day.

Murrays Bay
Murrays Bay

I almost caught a bus at Murrays Bay, but I decided to walk on.

Murrays Bay
Murrays Bay

A walkway from Murrays Bay to Mairangi Bay made the going much easier, and by this time it was a greatly appreciated break.

Walkway from Murrays Bay to Mairangi Bay
Walkway from Murrays Bay to Mairangi Bay
Mairangi Bay
Mairangi Bay

A similar walkway helped with the walk from Mairangi Bay to Campbells Bay.

Walkway from Mairangi Bay to Campbells Bay
Walkway from Mairangi Bay to Campbells Bay

As I got tired I had to focus more on being careful with my footing, taking short steps, and keeping my center of gravity centered between my feet.  I saw on Google Maps that I was nearing the coast below J. F. Kennedy Memorial Park, and asked a tall distinguished gentleman and his grandson whether they thought the tide would still permit me to make it there, and how long it would take.  They told me that they’d be surprised if I couldn’t make it there in a half hour.  He speculated that there were as many walking tracks in Auckland as restaurants, and then told me how the only restaurants in Auckland back in the day were fish and chip shops.  I wished them luck with the fishing they intended to do and walked on.

Just before Castor Bay
Just before Castor Bay

Rounding the point I saw the very familiar coastline below J. F. Kennedy Memorial Park, including the long stairs up to the park in the distance.

First view of the coast below J. F. Kennedy Memorial Park
First view of the coast below J. F. Kennedy Memorial Park

JFK is a favorite spot, and the unique terrain is always a welcome sight.

The coast near J. F. Kennedy Memorial Park
The coast near J. F. Kennedy Memorial Park
The coast near J. F. Kennedy Memorial Park
The coast near J. F. Kennedy Memorial Park

JFK seemed a great place to stop for the day.  I climbed the long stairway and caught a bus back to Long Bay.  It was accomplished on a single bus that followed Beach Road the whole way.  Long Bay has a bus stop just inside the park, right next to one of the carparks.

Long stairway up to J. F. Kennedy Memorial Park
Long stairway up to J. F. Kennedy Memorial Park

This was a great walk, and I looked forward to coming back and finishing the North Shore Coastal Walk by walking from JFK to Devonport.

You can view the full gallery of 30 pictures below.  To view on imgur, click here.

Tramline Track

In which Miles returns to the Waitakere Dam to walk the Tramline Track.

You can view the full gallery of 16 pictures below.  To view on imgur, click here.

The Walk of the Week, at the Arataki Visitor Centre, was still the Waitakere Dam Walk.  It had been very rainy lately, so after some input from a staff member I decided to return to the Waitakere Dam to walk the Tramline Track, continuing on to Anderson Track, Cascade Track and Fence Line Track to make my walk a loop.  Cascade Track and Fence Line Track are part of the Montana Heritage Walk, which I did the last time I visited the Waitakere Dam.

Cascade Kauri & Waitakere Dam Loop
Cascade Kauri & Waitakere Dam Loop

Right before the dam there is a lookout with a bench that offers a great view of the dam and the valley below.

Waitakere Dam
Waitakere Dam

Before starting the Tramline Track, I walked down the stairs next to the dam to see what lies below.  It offers another view over the valley, and a different view of the dam, and ascends to the other side of the dam to make a short loop.

Waitakere Dam
Waitakere Dam

A steep set of stairs take you down to a set of tracks used to maintain the pipe that carries some of Auckland’s drinking water from the Waitakere Reservoir.

Stairs to the Tramline Track
Stairs to the Tramline Track

The walk to the dam, from the carpark, follows a gravel road.  The Tramline Track follows the tracks and their gravel bed, so these parts of my walk were not very muddy, in spite of the wet conditions.  There are a few bridges along the way.

Tramline Track
Tramline Track

I’ve never seen the train that runs on these tracks, but it must be pretty small, judging from the picture below.

Tramline Track
Tramline Track

I hadn’t previously had a view of the waterfall below the dam.

Waitakere Dam
Waitakere Dam

The tunnel is less intimidating once you get close enough to see the other side.

Tramline Track tunnel
Tramline Track tunnel

The ceiling is a bit low, but not too bad.  Puddles form between the ties, but they’re not too deep.

Tramline Track tunnel
Tramline Track tunnel
Tramline Track tunnel
Tramline Track tunnel

Anderson Track quickly gets much more wet and muddy.  Fortunately the steepest parts have stairs.

Anderson Track
Anderson Track

There is a stream crossing that requires either wading, or use of just enough rocks for the agile to cross.  The other side of the stream was very muddy, but there were enough roots to make it more than just a mudslide.

Anderson Track
Anderson Track

Soon after the end of Anderson Track I was in familiar territory.  Unfortunately, this was the steepest part of the Montana Heritage Walk (I recommend doing the Montana Heritage Walk in a counter-clockwise direction).  I took my time, and enjoyed the big kauri.

Kauri on Cascade Track
Kauri on Cascade Track
Kauri on Cascade Track
Kauri on Cascade Track

You can view the full gallery of 16 pictures below.  To view on imgur, click here.

Tawhitokino

In which Miles visits Auckland’s Tawhitokino Regional Park, which is only accessible at low tide – or by boat.

You can view the full gallery of 23 pictures below.  To view on imgur, click here.

If you type “Tawhitokino Regional Park” into Google Maps, it offers you Duder Regional Park instead.  The Auckland Council site lists the physical address of the park as 265 Kawakawa Bay Coast Road, Clevedon.  If you enter that into Google Maps, it offers you directions to Clevedon Coast Oysters, which is actually located at 914 Clevedon Kawakawa Bay Road.

Kawakawa Bay, from Clevedon Kawakawa Bay Road
Kawakawa Bay, from Clevedon Kawakawa Bay Road

This kind of problem is common when trying to locate Auckland’s less frequented and/or newer regional parks.  It is a good idea to try to find info from a number of different sites, if available, to try to be sure that you have reliable information. You sometimes have to find sources other than the Auckland Council site in order to find information about walking tracks in the parks.

Kawakawa Bay
Kawakawa Bay

In this case, I stopped in Clevedon Coast Oysters to ask for help.  You can’t miss this business when traveling along Clevedon Kawakawa Bay Road, which leads to many of the parks along Auckland’s southeast coast.  They’re an oyster farm, and you can buy oysters here at their factory shop.  The woman working at the counter found a fellow employee for me who is an avid walker, who found a third employee who walks in the Tawhitokino area.  He gave me detailed directions, and told me that Tawhitokino Beach should be accessible up to three hours after low tide.

Kawakawa Bay
Kawakawa Bay

Kawakawa Bay is very scenic, and Clevedon Kawakawa Bay Road follows right along the coast.  I actually stopped to take the pictures above after leaving Tawhitokino Regional Park.

At the end of Clevedon Kawakawa Bay Road I continued onto Kawakawa Bay Coast Road, following it to the end to reach Tawhitokino Regional Park.  It is a very narrow and very scenic road.

There is a small carpark right next to a nice little beach at Waiti Bay.  Signs provide info for walking to Tawhitokino Beach.  You have to walk south along the rocky coast around the first point to reach Tuturau Bay.

Waiti Bay
Waiti Bay
Waiti Bay
Waiti Bay

It doesn’t take long to reach Tuturau Bay.  Access to the beach is limited, and it is a quiet and beautiful little beach.

Tuturau Bay
Tuturau Bay

I almost followed a pair of fisherman around Papanui Point, at the far end of Tuturau Bay, before I remembered that a bush track over the point leads to Tawhitokino Bay.  You have to look carefully to see the sign.  I watched the fisherman start their walk to the end of the point, where they started fishing, and it looked a bit challenging.

Sign and stairs for track to Tawhitokino Beach
Sign and stairs for track to Tawhitokino Beach

It’s a fairly steep and bushy climb over Papanui Point.  It’s much further than it looks in the picture below.

Papanui Point
Papanui Point

It’s a somewhat dramatic transition from the bush to Tawhitokino Beach.

Tawhitokino Beach
Tawhitokino Beach

The stairs down to the beach end at what appears to be some sort of lava rock formation.

Stairs down to Tawhitokino Beach
Stairs down to Tawhitokino Beach

I walked to the far end of the beach, and sat on the rocks to have lunch.  Sandflies, midges, or some similar biting insect found me while I was stationary.

Tawhitokino Beach
Tawhitokino Beach

After lunch I tweeted a photo of the view from the south end of Tawhitokino Beach.  Follow Miles on Twitter for my very latest pictures, live from some amazing place!

Tawhitokino Beach
Tawhitokino Beach

I explored the rocks a bit.  Rounding the point to the south looked quite challenging.

Rocky point at south end of Tawhitokino Beach
Rocky point at south end of Tawhitokino Beach
Tawhitokino Bay
Tawhitokino Bay

On my way back along Tawhitokino Beach I had a look at Tawhitokino Campground.  This is a stop on Te Ara Moana, ‘the sea-going pathway’, a self-guided five day sea kayak tour along approximately 51km of Auckland’s south eastern coastline connecting five of Auckland’s Regional Parks.  I got the impression that Tawhitokino Regional Park exists to serve as a stop on Te Ara Moana, but I could easily be wrong about that.  Insect repellent would seem to be crucial for doing Te Ara Moana; tiny six-legged vampires found me quickly in the campground.

Tawhitokino Campground
Tawhitokino Campground

This was possibly the best weather of this winter.  It was a nice walk back to the carpark, with no problems rounding the point 2-3 hours after low tide.  It was a nice drive back along Auckland’s southeastern coast as well.

You can view the full gallery of 23 pictures below.  To view on imgur, click here.