We were there for the big kauri, so we entered Leigh Reserve through the Morriggia Place entrance.
The bush opens onto a grassy area with a bench overlooking a house and driveway. The grassy bit slopes downhill and enters the bush, and things get interesting.
The big kauri right at the edge of the bush is unusual in that the view of it’s entire height is unblocked by other trees. It’s impressive, but the big one appears as you reach the top of the steps at the bottom right of the picture below.
This is the largest kauri on Auckland’s North Shore. It’s over 2 meters in diameter, and could be as old as 800 years.
With many kauri, you can only see clearly the part that is below or above the canopy. Fortunately the trail leads right past the trunk of this big tree, so you get a different perspective. Pictures often fail to capture the size of these trees. The pic below probably comes closest.
The bush at Leigh Scenic Reserve is shady with a large variety of trees.
Le Roys Bush is one of those reserves that provides (among other things) the nicest possible way to walk between neighborhoods. It connects with Little Shoal Bay Reserve offering longer walks in the bush.
I entered Le Roys Bush from the northernmost entrance on Onewa Road.
Onewa Road is busy, and it was a hot sunny day. Le Roys Bush was a cool lush sanctuary. I fell into a walking groove and didn’t stop to take out my camera until I reached Little Shoal Bay Reserve and found a bench in the shade with a nice view of the Sky Tower. I’ll start there, and take you back through Le Roys Bush.
Little Shoal Bay Reserve has open green space, a bowling club and basketball courts, and across Maritime Terrace, a boat yard and beach. I’ve been there a number of times, so I didn’t leave the shade at the back of the open space.
The creek that runs through the center of Le Roys Bush widens into a large marsh in Little Shoal Bay Reserve. The track follows the edge of that marsh to Le Roys Bush.
A boardwalk crosses that marsh near the west end of Little Shoal Bay Reserve to provide access to Glade Place. It was too inviting to pass up, and became my one wrong turn of the day.
Le Roys Bush is very dense and full of a wide variety of trees.
At a stream crossing an info board educates the visitor on the local fish.
Le Roy means “the king” in French. Apparently the surname Leroy is also sometimes spelled Le Roy. I wasn’t able to find any info regarding the name of this park.
Please enjoy the full gallery of 10 pictures below. To view on imgur click here.
I’ve seen Odin Place Reserve on Google Maps, but I’ve found no tracks into it. I’ve found no information online. Some reserves are just not developed and/or maintained. I had read some discussion online about developing Muriel Fisher Reserve, which is connected to Kauri Park.
Odin Place Reserve
I decided to explore Hadfield Street Reserve in hopes of finding a way into the neighboring Odin Place. I entered from Moller Street.
There’s a small patch of grass along a small rocky beach and stairs up to Poaka Place. I was looking for a track leading east into Odin Place Reserve, but I saw nothing obvious.
I quickly arrived at this bench overlooking the second, much nicer beach at Hadfield Street Reserve.
There are stairs up the other side, but they lead away from Odin Place Reserve.
As always I was drawn to the foreshore at low tide.
Some of the private shore access in this area is very interesting, like the rope ladder below..
And this dilapidated boat ramp, and even more dilapidated boat.
I searched bit more, but found no trails into Odin Place Reserve. I wasn’t interested in venturing in without some sort of path to follow, so I gave up and went to walk for a while around Shepherds Park.
Muriel Fisher Reserve
The next day I went looking for Muriel Fisher Reserve. I entered Kauri Park from Rangatira Road and followed the easternmost trail south. I thought I remembered some tracks branching off to the east before the path to Kauri Point Domain and Soldiers Bay.
I found that laminated paper signs had been posted to help me find my way around. I followed a track to Island Bay Road until other options became available.
Parts of the reserve are apparently named after parts of a farm and homestead, probably that of Muriel Fisher and her husband.
There are also apparently kahikatea and nikau groves.
The entrance from Island Bay Road is unmarked, and not obvious. I took another trail back into the reserve, past Madison and Monty’s fort.
I never found a trail in the direct pointed to by the sign pictured below. I walked in a ways, but found neither a track nor a nikau grove.
The tracks are a bit overgrown in places, but it seems like many of them had had some work. If they see more use that should help.
It was good to discover Murial Fisher Reserve, and since it’s so close I’ll probably go back for another look around. Murial Fisher is behind many of the parks and reserves in the Kaipatiki region, so it’s good to see the one with her name on it being developed.
You can view the full gallery of 14 pictures below. To view on imgur click here.
Shepherds Park has large open fields, but I prefer the bush tracks along the coast of Hellyers Creek. I’ve always liked this spot on the creek shore, especially at low tide.
Kaipatiki Coastal Walk 3 follows the coast of Hellyers Creek, which enters Waitemata Harbor at Beach Haven Wharf.
Kaipatiki Coastal Walk 3, like Kaipatiki Coastal Walk 2, features mud and mangroves. Fortunately the track follows the coast very closely, so I felt no need to walk the muddy foreshore. It ascends for a nice view of the mouth of another creek. It’s further to the other side than it looks.
It gets bushy going around the creek mouth. There are smaller paths to the shore, some leading to abandoned docks and boats.
There are a number of pipes over Hellyers Creek. This is further along the coast from Shepherds Park than I had gone before.
The pipe below has a locked maintenance bridge over it. It looked like a good place to sit for a break, but the mosquitoes zeroed in and sent me on my way.
The boardwalk seemed to have escaped damage from a couple of downed trees. Kaipatiki Coastal Walk 3 has well formed and maintained tracks.
I suppose that would be a root growing across the path in the photo below.
I tried to follow the coast all the way to Kaipatiki Creek, in spite of what the map above shows It looked like it should work, but that area seems to be sort of a corporate park, and I walked in circles. From the bridge 2 big pipes are visible amongst the mud and mangroves.
I made a false start trying to get back to the coast after the bridge as well, but eventually found my way to a track along the coast. It ascends to offer a view of Manuka Reserve Boat Ramp.
And a view back across Kaipatiki Creek.
When I reached Manuka Reserve I went down to the boat ramp for a look.
The tide was high when I was at Shepherds Park, but the water was low at Manuka Reserve.
Hellyers Creek narrows quickly toward the north end of Manuka Reserve. Kaipatiki Coastal Walk 3 heads inland a bit through the reserve. I planned to continue to Glendhu Reserve, but when I missed my turn and ended up on the roads again I decided I was tired enough to call it a day.
I think if I had consulted the Kaipatiki Explorer map for Manuka Reserve I’d have known how to continue. I probably would have saved myself time and energy, and gone further, if I had been more careful using the maps I had, including Google Maps. I might go walk from Manuka Reserve to Glendhu Park some time to see how it is.
Please enjoy the full gallery of 18 pictures below. To view on imgur click here.
I slept outside on my second night on Tiritiri Matangi Island. I took the mattress from my bunk into the courtyard of the bunkhouse before it got dark. A volunteer had told me that kiwi will sometimes wander through the courtyard at night. It also let me avoid the awkwardness of trying not to disturb my roommates as I crawled into my bunk in the dark after my walk. See the previous 2 posts on days 1 and 2 on the island.
Because the ranger hauls baggage from the wharf to bunkhouse and back, I’ll pack a bit more next time I visit Tiritiri. A good inflatable mattress wouldn’t be a bad thing to bring to the bunkhouse. Even a Therm-a-Rest type camping mattress might be a good supplement to the mattresses provided.
A Second Dawn on Tiritiri Matangi Island
I listened to the dawn chorus from the courtyard, then got some more rest, and maybe even a little more sleep.
Later in the morning I enlisted the help of some bunkhouse guests to fish the messages out of the bottle I had found the night before on the beach near Tiritiri Wharf.
It turned out the bottle had been launched just 3 days earlier from Brown’s Bay. The messages were extremely silly. The senders had burned the edges of some of the pages to make them look old, and listed the date as 1790. My favorite part is “This is a very old letter”.
I texted Bella, and she seemed surprised and amused that someone had found the bottle. She liked the idea of me sending it on, so I added my own brief message, with the URL of this blog, refilled the bottle with messages, and put it back in my jacket pocket for return to the harbor.
Memory is cheap, and it’s been a while since I was up against a hard limit. I hadn’t brought my laptop to Tiritiri Matangi Island,, and had only one 16GB card and one 8GB card to store pictures. Because I was trying to get good pictures of the wildlife I was taking a lot of shots. By the end of my first day I knew I was taking too many pictures, and something had to give. I changed from 14BIT RAW mode to 12BIT RAW mode, and switched to uncompressed RAW. While I enjoyed tea and a snack at the visitors center I found an articlethat reassured me that I wasn’t making too much of a compromise. All the same, I had to delete a few shots to make sure I had room for any little blue penguins I might see in the harbor on the trip back to the city. It was only the 3rd time I’ve completely used all of my memory, and this time I shot no movies.
An Afternoon with the Birds
I decided to spend the rest of my time on Tiritiri Matangi Island along the Wattle Track, at the water troughs provided for the birds. The one closest to the road has the bigger deck of the 2, and more seating. I found it most comfortable, and it showed me the most birds. I was told that this is a great place to enjoy the dawn chorus.
Hearing people talk about the kōkako over my stay at the bunkhouse had really piqued my interest. Going into my 3rd day, this was the last creature I knew I wanted to meet. The beauty shown below came to the trough for a drink, and spent time in the surrounding trees as well, giving me lots of time to take pictures.
A couple of young girls sat down and watched for a while. They were particularly interested in meeting a kōkako. I told them about the one I had seen. Many birds came and went, but no kōkako. Ridiculously soon after they moved on, another one finally stopped by for a drink.
The picture above doesn’t show it, but that one had blue and white bands on its feet, this one has orange and silver.
An older woman was also disappointed that she didn’t see any kōkako. I felt lucky, but I had spent days walking to see birds, and I think I saw more of them by sitting quietly at the troughs.
Saddleback finally showed themselves to me in the open.
On the ferry ride to Gulf Harbour I sent the bottle on its way, with any luck to miss Tiritiri Matangi Island this time, and make its way to the Pacific Ocean. It felt a bit too similar to throwing trash into the ocean. I explained myself to a boy and his mom before launching, and they were supportive. Like everyone else on the boat, they seemed to have had a good day.
Tiritiri Matangi Island isn’t exactly a secret. It’s a popular day trip, but I could never bring myself to pay the price of the trip for just 5 hours on the island. It took me a while to invest the time to make the longer trip come together. Procrastinating was a mistake, booking 2 nights was not. I spent most of time time looking for exotic creatures, and at the same time walking through the beautiful landscape. I could have spent more time enjoying the sun and the waves and the beaches. It’ll be well worth making a 2nd trip to Tiritiri Matangi Island.
Please enjoy the full gallery of 6 pictures below. To view all 3 days on imgur, click here.
Steppin' the miles, enjoying the view, bringing it all to you.