Kicking It Old-Growth in Eaves Bush

It’s probably true that a person can get jaded about anything.  I had been doing Auckland in every way I could think of for more than two years.  As beautiful as her parks and reserves are, it was getting hard to find a place that really blew me away.  Then I discovered Eaves Bush.

Old North Road entrance to Eaves Bush
Old North Road entrance to Eaves Bush

Formally known as Alice Eaves Scenic Reserve, this is 16 hectares of old-growth coastal kauri broadleaf forest.  It contains such other species as kahikatea, karaka, kōwhai, mataī, puriri, rewarewa, supplejack, taraire, and nīkau

Eaves Bush
Eaves Bush

Eaves Bush is located in Orewa, about a 30 minute drive from Auckland’s city center.

Below is the map from the info board at the entrance showing the tracks in the reserve.

Eaves Bush map
Eaves Bush map

The bush is impressive immediately upon entering the park.

Eaves Bush
Eaves Bush

I started by following the track to the old hollow kauri.

Old North Road to Kensington Park track
Old North Road to Kensington Park track

The old hollow kauri is about 800 years old.  It’s not very large for its age, apparently due to having endured storms, lightning, fire and at least one axe.

Old hollow kauri
Old hollow kauri

The distortion in the image above is due to the fact that it is a panorama shot vertically.  The boardwalk that keeps visitors off of the kauri’s roots kept me too close to get a good single picture of this big old tree.

I continued on past the old hollow kauri.  The bush kept on being stunning.

Old North Road to Kensington Park track
Old North Road to Kensington Park track

The track continues past the Kensington Park bridge, but it gets much muddier, and the bush gets a bit less interesting.  I walked on for maybe ten minutes before turning back.

Old North Road to Kensington Park track
Old North Road to Kensington Park track

I returned to the old hollow kauri and took the path up to the lookout.

Hollow kauri to lookout track
Hollow kauri to lookout track
Hollow kauri to lookout track
Hollow kauri to lookout track

The trees blocked any view from the lookout.  It’s sort of a shame, since Eaves Bush is very close to the Hibiscus Coast, and it would probably offer a pretty sweet view.  But I can understand a reluctance to cut on the trees in a reserve like this.

Lookout
Lookout

A walked a short distance up the track to Hillcrest Road to see if a view opened up, but it didn’t happen.

Lookout to Hillcrest Road track
Lookout to Hillcrest Road track

I walked the Loop track next.  The bush was similar to what you’ve seen so far, but with more kauri.  Then I took the track from the lookout back to Old North Road.

Somehow I realized that I had missed the pa site near Hillcrest Road, and decided to drive there.  The Hillcrest Road entrance is prominently marked.

Hillcrest Road entrance
Hillcrest Road entrance

It didn’t take long to reach a point on the path that I recognized from my short walk uphill toward Hillcrest Road from the lookout, but I didn’t see any signs for the pa.  I looked at the map again, and ventured into the bush near the entrance, but didn’t really see anything.  Some pa are easy to recognize as such, and some are not – this was one of the latter.

I found this map online, and realized that when I was exploring near the entrance, I was exploring Nukuhau Pa.  You can read more about it here.

Nukuhau Pa
Nukuhau Pa

Eaves Bush is small, but it’s pretty awesome.

Please enjoy the full gallery of 16 pictures below.  To view on imgur, click here.

Walking the Witheford Reserve Loop

Still working my way through the Kaipatiki Explorer, I set out to explore Witheford Reserve.

Witheford Reserve
Witheford Reserve

Kaipatiki Explorer 2017 doesn’t offer maps of many of the smaller reserves.  The map above is from Kaipatiki Explorer 2015.

I parked at the end of Noeleen Street, and entered Witheford Reserve via a narrow path between houses.

Witheford Reserve's Noeleen Street entrance
Witheford Reserve’s Noeleen Street entrance

At the end of the path pictured above a set of stairs descends into the abundant, verdant bush (I’ve worn out adjectives like “dense” and “lush” in my posts about Kaipatiki region parks).

Witheford Reserve
Witheford Reserve

A second set of stairs is really steep.  If you leave the reserve via Noeleen Street or Valcrest Place you’re in for a good workout.

Witheford Reserve
Witheford Reserve

Fallen trees blocked the first bridge I came to, but I was able to get past them, and continue on a worn but solid boardwalk.

Witheford Reserve
Witheford Reserve

This reserve is a bit rough around the edges, but other than the fallen trees the bridges and stairs are safe, although the latter are a bit steep in places, and the trails are solid and in most place drain well, and don’t get too muddy.

Witheford Reserve
Witheford Reserve

At the south end of the reserve you have four options – you can exit onto Witheford Drive, you can continue on to Manuka Reserve, or you can cross the bridge and head south to Eskdale Reserve, or north to continue walking around Witheford Reserve.

I usually like a good loop, but it would have been more enjoyable to walk back through the center of the reserve.  I had a look at the path along Kaipatiki Road, and it looked reasonably pleasant at the start.

Witheford Reserve, Kaipatiki Road
Witheford Reserve, Kaipatiki Road

But soon it turned into this.

Witheford Reserve, Kaipatiki Road
Witheford Reserve, Kaipatiki Road

And then into this.  Eventually I was tightrope walking the curb to try to avoid actually walking in the road.

Witheford Reserve, Kaipatiki Road
Witheford Reserve, Kaipatiki Road

The entrance back into the reserve is across from a school, but there is no place nearby to cross Kaipatiki Road, and no place nearby to park.

Witheford Reserve, Kaipatiki Road Entrance
Witheford Reserve, Kaipatiki Road Entrance

The bush was a pleasant change from Kaipatiki Road and immediate confirmation that walking back inside the reserve was the better option.

Witheford Reserve
Witheford Reserve

It is a fairly short walk back to the steep stairs at the north end of Witheford Reserve.

Please enjoy the full gallery of 13 pictures below.  To view of imgur click here.

Mangere Lagoon offers a nice and scenic short walk

The Watercare Coastal Walkway is a bit long to walk, at 7km one way, especially considering that no buses run to Otuataua Stonefields, one end of the walk.  One day I’d like to do it on a bicycle.  In the meantime I decided to go check out one of the side trips along the walkway – the Mangere Lagoon loop.  To see the lagoon on Google Maps, click here.

Mangere Lagoon
Mangere Lagoon

Mangere Lagoon is a maar, a broad, low-relief volcanic crater caused by a phreatomagmatic eruption, an explosion which occurs when groundwater comes into contact with hot lava or magma.  It has a small scoria island in the center.  Mangere Mountain is right next to it.

Mangere Lagoon, scoria island, and Mangere Mountain
Mangere Lagoon, scoria island, and Mangere Mountain

Mangere Lagoon is a tidal lagoon.  The tide was low during my visit.  Below is a picture from Wikimedia Commons, taken from Mangere Mountain, showing more water in the lagoon.  You can see the narrow causeway that separates the lagoon from the Manukau Harbor.  In the distance is the causeway that leads to Puketutu Island.

Mangere Lagoon from Mangere Mountain
Mangere Lagoon from Mangere Mountain

We parked in the carpark just off of Creamery Road, and walked in a clockwise direction.  This leads quickly to the causeway that separates the lagoon from Manukau Harbor.

Manukau Harbor, Puketutu Island
Manukau Harbor, Puketutu Island
Manukau Harbor, Puketutu Island
Manukau Harbor, Puketutu Island

Black swans decorated the land and seascapes.

Black swans at Mangere Lagoon
Black swans at Mangere Lagoon

In the 30s they tried to convert the Mangere Lagoon to pasture land.  In the late 50s the scoria cone was removed and the lagoon converted into sludge ponds for sewage treatment.

Mangere Lagoon
Mangere Lagoon

Later they created an improved sewage treatment facility next to the lagoon.  You can see it on the left edge of the first pic in this post.  The lagoon and scoria cone were restored, with extra flat space for birds to roost.

One Tree Hill
One Tree Hill from the Mangere Lagoon loop

It was a fairly short walk, so we went to check out Puketutu Island.  We parked in the carpark where you arrive on the island, and walked the path to the north.  It’s a nice walk along the coast with views over the harbor, but it ends after maybe a 20 minute walk.  Beyond that path and one to the south of the carpark, access to the island seems to be restricted.

Puketutu Island
Puketutu Island

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

Spinella & Bonito Reserves

I set out to explore Spinella & Bonito Reserves.

I had seen on Google Maps that a narrow strip of Glendhu Scenic Reserve connects with Spinella Drive.  I had made an attempt to enter Glendhu Scenic Reserve via Glendhu Road but I didn’t get very far before any semblance of a trail disappeared.  I hadn’t found another way into this reserve, so I decided to try it from Spinella Drive.

Spinella Drive entrance to Glendhu Scenic Reserve
Spinella Drive entrance to Glendhu Scenic Reserve

There is something of a trail into the bush, probably used by local kids, but it doesn’t go very far.  I got as a far as a stream, but I didn’t feel like bushwhacking, so I turned back.

Spinella Drive entrance to Glendhu Scenic Reserve
Spinella Drive entrance to Glendhu Scenic Reserve

Spinella Reserve is a playground on Spinella Drive.  Bonito Scenic Reserve is a small bush area in a residential area, with one trail next to a stream.

Spinella & Bonito Reserves
Spinella & Bonito Reserves

The bush is dense and lush, as the Kaipatiki area parks tend to be.

Bonito Reserve - Spinella & Bonito Reserves
Bonito Reserve

The walk to Bonito Place and back was probably between 30 and 40 minutes.

Bonito Reserve - Spinella & Bonito Reserves
Bonito Reserve

Some parks are worth a special trip to visit, and some are just a nice place for people in the neighborhood to go for a quick walk.  Spinella & Bonito Reserves are the latter.  I try to go someplace new every time I have a day off, so I wasn’t really disappointed with Spinella & Bonito Reserves, but they didn’t offer me any particular reason to go back.

Please enjoy the full gallery of 4 pictures below.

Walking a Short Loop in Cecil Eady Bush

Back in December I walked a loop in Kauri Glen, and on a clear autumn day I went back to explore the neighboring Cecil Eady Bush.

Cecil Eady Bush
Cecil Eady Bush

I was still working my way through the Kaipatiki region’s parks and reserves.  Kaipatiki Explorer 2017 shows some different tracks than the map above, from Kaipatiki Explorer 2015 , but I think they’re all still accessible – and I believe there may be some others as well.

My plan was to start on Lake Road and walk a loop  by following the tracks to James Evans Drive and Holdaway Avenue.  I parked on Kokoro Street, and decided to have a quick look at Dudding Avenue Reserve.

Dudding Avenue Reserve
Dudding Avenue Reserve

It’s a small reserve with one track that connects with Dudding Avenue.  The bush is dense and the track could use some work, but it’s safe enough.  When I came within sight of Dudding Avenue I turned back.

Dudding Avenue Reserve
Dudding Avenue Reserve

The trail into Cecil Eady Bush starts at Lake Road next to a day care center, and follows Waiurutoa Stream through a narrow and shady strip of trees.  Woodside Avenue now connects with Fowler Street.  Just on the other side of Woodside Avenue the trail forks, and I ascended the stairs to James Evans Drive.

Cecil Eady Bush
Cecil Eady Bush

From Holdaway Avenue there’s a nice view of the Sky Tower and Mount Eden.

Sky Tower and Mount Eden from Holdaway Avenue
Sky Tower and Mount Eden from Holdaway Avenue

West of Holdaway Avenue is where the bush starts to get interesting.

Cecil Eady Bush
Cecil Eady Bush
Cecil Eady Bush
Cecil Eady Bush
Cecil Eady Bush
Cecil Eady Bush

It wasn’t long before I was heading east again.  I came to a large mowed clearing with houses nearby that I can’t find on Google Maps.  It is dominated by a large evergreen.

Cecil Eady Bush
Cecil Eady Bush

At the bottom of the clearing the trail drops down into a marshy area that becomes Waiurutoa Stream.

Cecil Eady Bush
Cecil Eady Bush

This may be the most scenic bush, although it was in shade by this time, until close to Woodside Avenue.

Cecil Eady Bush
Cecil Eady Bush

Cecil Eady Bush is another Kaipatiki region reserve with dense, lush bush, and a great place for a walk.

Cecil Eady Bush
Cecil Eady Bush

Please enjoy the full gallery of 17 pictures below.  To view on imgur, click here.

Killarney Park on Lake Pupuke

Killarney Park is located on the south side of Lake Pupuke in Takapuna.  Because it is more sheltered than the nearby Hauraki Gulf, Lake Pupuke sees a lot of watersports practiced.  On this particular day there was a large sailing class.

Lake Pupuke - Killarney Park
Lake Pupuke

The Pumphouse Theatre is located within the park, and beside it is the French Rendez-vous Cafe/Restaurant.

The Pumphouse Theatre and Pupuke Lake
The Pumphouse Theatre and Pupuke Lake

My hope was that I could walk around the lake from Killarney Park.  Back in 2015 I had walked a fair distance along the shore of Lake Pupuke from Sylvan Park, on the north side of the lake.  Unfortunately this did not appear to be possible from Killarney Park, although I could look more closely at the east side of the park.

Lake Pupuke, Killarney Park
Lake Pupuke, Killarney Park

Killarney Park is a good way to access the lake.  It is also a good option for a break from a day out in Takapuna, a favorite place for pubs, dining and shopping.

Lake Pupuke, Killarney Park
Lake Pupuke, Killarney Park

There’s a fair bit of space as well, and some nice trees.

Killarney Park
Killarney Park

Please enjoy the full gallery of 5 pictures below.  To view on imgur, click here.