Bayswater Breakwater, a unique and scenic short walk

Bayswater Marina is is enclosed on three sides by a 900 meter floating breakwater that is open to the public for walking and enjoying the views and sea breezes at sea level.  It also provides deepwater access and is popular for fishing.

Central Auckland and Sky Tower from Bayswater Marina Breakwater
Central Auckland and Sky Tower from Bayswater Marina Breakwater

Bayswater breakwater is easy to access by parking across from the big old white building at the north end of the marina, just south of Marine Parade Reserve.  It’s a short walk to the ramp to the breakwater itself.

Bayswater Windsports building and Bayswater Parade Reserve
Bayswater Windsports building and Bayswater Parade Reserve

A gate at the top of the ramp is locked at sunset, and whenever marina management considers weather conditions unsafe.

Early views include Shoal Bay and the Harbour Bridge.

Auckland Harbour Bridge from Bayswater Breakwater
Auckland Harbour Bridge from Bayswater Breakwater

The south side looks right across Waitemata Harbor at central Auckland.

Central Auckland from Bayswater Breakwater
Central Auckland from Bayswater Breakwater

The last section was closed on my last visit.  I assume marina management has deemed it unsafe for some reason.

Bayswater Breakwater
Bayswater Breakwater

If you could reach the end of hte breakwater you’d have an even better view over Ngataringa Bay to Stanley Point.

Ngataringa Bay and Stanley Point
Ngataringa Bay and Stanley Point

These larger walled platforms seem to have been built for fishing.

Bayswater Breakwater
Bayswater Breakwater

On the way back you’re looking over Shoal Bay toward Takapuna.

Shoal Bay and Takapuna
Shoal Bay and Takapuna

Everything looked great in the light of the approaching sunset, and I wasn’t done walking.

Bayswater Parade Reserve
Bayswater Parade Reserve

The tide was low, and the coast beckoned.

Bayswater Parade Reserve
Bayswater Parade Reserve

I didn’t have time to go far.  But I did confirm that i wanted to come back and walk this coast another time.

Shoal Bay Coast
Shoal Bay Coast

Bayswater is a favorite north shore location with some great coast access and unique views of Auckland.

Bayswater
Bayswater

Please enjoy the full gallery of 18 pictures below.  To view on imgur click here.

Eskdale Reserve, 4 Reserves in One

Auckland‘s parks and domains can get confusing.  Some seem to become combined with other reserves over time, but the old names seem to persist.  Eskdale Reserve is a composite of Birkenhead Domain, Hiwihau Scenic Reserve, Eskdale Bush, and Lauderdale Reserve.

Eskdale Reserve map from the 2015 Kaipatiki Explorer
Eskdale Reserve map from the 2015 Kaipatiki Explorer

There’s parking along Domain Road.  There’s an entrance there, and I haven’t really seen another good place to park.

Domain Road entrance to Eskdale Reserve
Domain Road entrance

Heading east, it doesn’t take long to arrive at this interesting spot.

Eskdale Reserve
Eskdale Reserve
Eskdale Reserve
Eskdale Reserve
Eskdale Reserve
Eskdale Reserve

At that point you’re on a single path following the creek, with side tracks leading to the various exits.  A couple of those require bridges which were closed due to being unsafe.  The river spreads out and is full of mangroves.  Shortly after I came into view of Beach Haven Road I turned back.

Kaipatiki Creek
Kaipatiki Creek

I wanted to see more of the Birkenhead Domain part of Eskdale Reserve so instead of heading back to Domain Road I headed south into the park.  I reached Glenfield Road and decided to try to find my way back to Domain Road through the bush.  There is an extensive network of tracks to walk, but the creek stopped me from reaching Domain Road, so I ended up returning to Glenfield Road and following the streets back to my car.

Eskdale Reserve
Eskdale Reserve

Enjoy the full gallery of 12 pictures below.  To view on imgur, click here.

New Zealand at Night – New NASA Night Lights Maps

New NASA Night Lights Maps offer a look at New Zealand at Night, and an excellent visualization of how sparsely populated the country really is.

New Zealand at Night
NZ at night

New Zealand’s small population – about 4.5 million people – is behind many of the unique characteristics of the country.  It’s a big reason that the natural beauty of these green islands is so well preserved.

Here’s the UK for comparison.

UK at night
UK at night

The UK is slightly smaller in area than New Zealand, and has a population of over 65 million people.

Here’s the USA for comparison.  The contrast between east and west is also interesting here.

USA at night
USA at night

And the planet Earth:

Earth at night
Earth at night

Below are links to larger images of the entire globe:

Thanks to this post on reddit for inspiration and information.

Sculpture on the Gulf is a great reason to visit Waiheke Island

Like Lantern Festival, Sculpture on the Gulf is an event that I always attend when I’m in Auckland.  Sculpture Walk 2015 was the subject of my first real post on MileSteppin.com.

I had hoped to spend a week or two getting to know Waiheke Island, but the timing wasn’t right, so we took the ferry out to Waiheke for the day just to enjoy the sculpture walk.

Part of the exhibition was visible from the ferry, on the headland at Matiatia Bay, not far from where the ferry docks.

Sculpture on the Gulf, headland at Matiatia Bay
Sculpture on the headland at Matiatia Bay

We caught the shuttle to the start of the walk, which returns to Matiatia Wharf.  The route was the same as 2 years ago.  I guess it probably always has been the same, but I didn’t recognize it before this year.

Sculpture on the Gulf, Waiheke Island
Sculpture on the Gulf, Waiheke Island

The great thing about Sculpture on the Gulf is walking and enjoying art in that great setting.  The coast of Waiheke offers views across Hauraki Gulf to Motutapu and Rangitoto Islands, central Auckland and the Sky Tower (the latter not visible in the picture below).

Sculpture, Hauraki Gulf and Rangitoto Island
Sculpture on Hauraki Gulf, Motutapu and Rangitoto Islands
Sculpture on the Gulf
Sculpture on the Gulf
Sculpture on the Gulf
Sculpture on the Gulf

Boats have a special significance to Pacific Island cultures, including Maori.  They show up in a lot of New Zealand art.

Sculpture on the Gulf
Sculpture on the Gulf
Sculpture on the Gulf
Sculpture on the Gulf

New Zealand law insures public access to the foreshore.  That’s just the land that is underwater at the highest tide , but fortunately tracks along the coast above the waterline seem to be the norm. You see some impressive lawns along the walk, and in many cases you can’t see a house.  A line between stakes indicates the boundary of the walkway (see the header image at the very top of the page).

Sculpture on the Gulf
Private lawn visible from the Sculpture Walk

The Headland Sculpture Walk follows a generous strip of land along the coast, but the headland itself is the largest open public space.

Sculpture on the Gulf
Sculpture on the Gulf
Sculpture on the Gulf
Sculpture on the Gulf

Two years ago I attended the last day of the sculpture walk, and went to the Lantern Festival the following weekend.  This year the Sculpture Walk ended the weekend after the Lantern Festival.  This may be due to the latter being scheduled on the lunar calendar – I’m not really sure.

Sculpture on the Gulf
Sculpture on the Gulf
Sculpture on the Gulf
Sculpture on the Gulf

This summer, as every scheduled event approached, I watched the weather, hoping it would clear.   We went to Waiheke on Sunday, the last day of the Sculpture Walk.  Fortunately we got a day without rain.  The walk was closed for a few days earlier due to the wet and unsafe conditions.

Sculpture on the Gulf
Sculpture on the Gulf

Part of the sky, at least, was blue by mid-afternoon, and it got hot and sunny… and humid.

Sculpture on the Gulf
Sculpture on the Gulf
Sculpture on the Gulf
Sculpture on the Gulf

Signs warn visitors to take it slow as the trail gets a bit steep in places as it leaves the headland and follows the coast of Matiatia Bay back to the wharf.

Sculpture on the Gulf
Sculpture on the Gulf
Sculpture on the Gulf
Matiatia Bay
Sculpture on the Gulf
Sculpture on the Gulf
Sculpture on the Gulf
Sculpture on the Gulf
Sculpture on the Gulf
Matiatia Bay

We had parked in Devonport to take advantage of the late ferries and spend as much time as possible on Waiheke Island.  When we got back to Matiatia Wharf we caught a bus into Oneroa and had dinner on Oneroa Beach, enjoying the view of Oneroa Bay.

Sculpture on the Gulf
Sculpture on the Gulf

After dinner we strolled along the beach.  As always the landscape was even more photogenic during the golden hour before sunset.

Sculpture on the Gulf
Sculpture on the Gulf

It was a long day, but a good one.  We caught the bus back to Matiatia Wharf, then the ferry to Auckland, and finally one more ferry to Devonport.

Please enjoy the full gallery of 39 pictures below.  To view on imgur, click here.

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Lantern Festival in Auckland Domain

2016 was the first year that Auckland’s Lantern Festival was held in Auckland Domain.  It was also the first year that I was in New Zealand and didn’t attend.  In 2016 I was in the South Island, so 2017 was my first time experiencing the Lantern Festival in its new location.

Auckland War Memorial Museum sits atop the highest hill in Auckland Domain.

Auckland War Memorial Museum
Auckland War Memorial Museum

It is visible from a great distance, and it also offers great views, such as the view of the harbor, North Head, and Rangitoto Island below.

North Head and Rangitoto from Auckland War Memorial Museum
North Head and Rangitoto from Auckland War Memorial Museum

The Lantern Festival was located just down the hill to the west, around the Wintergardens and the nearby pond.

The vendors were forbidden to sell food before 4pm.  I hadn’t had lunch, so I went to the Wintergarden Cafe for something to eat.  The patio  has a nice view of the pond.

From the Wintergarden Cafe
From the Wintergarden Cafe

I took the bridge across and walked around the pond, taking in some old favorites from Lantern Festivals past.

Lantern Festival
Lantern Festival
Lantern Festival
Lantern Festival

I’m not sure I saw any lanterns that I hadn’t seen before.  That surprised me.  For a while it seemed that they were getting better every year.  The display below is a favorite.

Lantern Festival
Lantern Festival

The zoo is another newer display that stands out.

Lantern Festival
Lantern Festival

The dinosaurs are top-notch too.

Lantern Festival
Lantern Festival

The panda playground is always popular.  There are too many cool lanterns to include them all in this post, so be sure to check out the full gallery of 43 pictures at the bottom of the page.

Lantern Festival
Lantern Festival

Auckland Domain is a big park with a lot going for it, but Albert Park, the site of the Lantern Festival through 2015, is a very special place.  One great feature of Albert Park is the fact that it is full of very cool trees.  Auckland Domain has a few of those in the area where the Lantern Festival was held, the one below for example.

Lantern Festival
Lantern Festival
Lantern Festival
Lantern Festival

Auckland domain isn’t packed with awesome trees like Albert Park, but I did notice a couple of great trees the likes of which aren’t found in Albert Park.

Lantern Festival
Lantern Festival
Lantern Festival
Lantern Festival

I went to look around during the day on Friday, when there were very few people.  The skies threatened rain, but very little fell.  I returned on Sunday, the last day of the festival, when the lanterns really shine – literally – at night.

Lantern Festival
Lantern Festival

The reflecting pool flatters the Chinese dragons.

Lantern Festival
Lantern Festival

This pair look great in the dark.

Lantern Festival
Lantern Festival

The Lantern Festival closed, as it always does, with fireworks.  They were much better than the display put on for New Years Eve.

It rained as we waited for the fireworks to begin.  This summer I’ve found myself watching the weather as each event approaches, and hoping for a window in the weather.  Considering the amount of rain we’ve had, we’ve been pretty lucky in terms of getting those breaks when we really need them.

Lantern Festival
Lantern Festival

Please enjoy the full gallery of 43 pictures below.  To view on imgur click here.  Remember that the gallery below has a good slideshow mode, but it loads all of the pictures before it begins, so there will be a wait for a gallery of this size.

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