I set off toward Waireporepo Pā along the first boardwalk I saw.
The water isn’t exactly what I expected from wetlands.
It’s surprisingly clear.
These cows enjoyed a good defensive position on Waireporepo Pā (a pā is a Māori village or defensive settlement, often a hill fort).
You barely touch ground on Waireporepo Pā before turning back across the wetlands on another boardwalk. This leads to a hill with a viewing platform that gives you a good overview of the park.
Pekapeka Wetlands is rated as the second most ecologically valuable wetland in Hawke’s Bay. It was made a reserve in 1970 for the purpose of soil and water conservation. It has historical and cultural significance for Māori people as well, and was given waahi tapu (sacred) status in 1997. The wetlands are 4.5km long and 800m wide and cover 98 hectares. This small part in the middle was made into a park, and helps to inform the public on the benefits of wetlands to the environment.
In the past rubble was dumped in these wetlands. The sculpture below serves as a reminder of that history.
Pekapeka is the Maori name for the native bats that lived in nearby caves and hunted in the wetlands.
The reserve is closed to the public in the first weekend of May each year for game bird shooting.
Paths climb to a higher lookout for another view over the park. At this point there’s a lot of traffic noise as you’re fairly close to highway 2.
You won’t find long walks here, but Pekapeka Wetlands is an attractive and relaxing place to visit.
Please enjoy the full gallery of 11 pictures below. To view on imgur click here.
There’s a picnic table about a 20-30 minute walk north from the car park. In the picture below you can see the grassy sand just behind the beach.
We reached a second stream, and the sun went down behind a high hill closer to the ocean. It was immediately colder, and we turned back.
In the picture below you can see a farm located just behind the beach. This is probably the source of the 4-wheeler tracks.
The Ocean Beach Kiwi Surf Life Saving Club patrols the beach in the summer. Surfing is popular here as well as swimming. In the pic below you can see the road up from the beach.
We stopped at the lookout over the beach on our way out. A couple of young girls were just setting out for a walk along the ridge.
The sun may have set on Ocean Beach, but the surrounding hills were bathed in that great evening light. The whole drive through the hills of Tuki Tuki and Ocean Beach is very scenic, with bright green grass and limestone cliffs.
There are no shops at Ocean Beach, so it has a nice remote feel, especially if you take a long walk to the north. There were very few people around on a Monday.
Please enjoy the full gallery of 12 pictures below. To view on imgur click here.
We both had the weekend off after arriving in southern Hawkes Bay, and it was a nice one. We returned to Te Mata Park and walked the Giant Circuit.
We followed the park website‘s recommendation that we walk the Giant Circuit in a counter-clockwise direction, unlike all of the other signposted walks in the park.
Very near the car park there is a platform with a great view to the north and east toward Hastings and Napier and the bay.
Te Mata Park is very accessible. It’s a large 99 hectare (about 245 acres) park with 5 well marked walks. It has an epic landscape, with forests and cliffs and great views of southern Hawkes Bay. The best views are from Te Mata Peak, the highest point in the park at 399 meters (about 436 yards)). The landscape demands that I shoot lots of panoramas, both horizontal and vertical.
I knew that we’d pass a grove of giant redwoods, and I thought we’d arrived when we reached the grove shown above. A plaque informed us that this grove was planted in 1974. The Giant Redwoods grove was planted in the 1930s. As I’ve come to realize, past residents of southern Hawkes Bay loved planting redwood trees.
Giant Circuit climbs steeply out of grove and valley to the top of the surrounding cliffs.
The track then follows the ridge along the western border of the park.
The redwoods in the Big Redwoods grove are a lot larger than the ones we saw earlier. The grove itself is larger too. There’s a 3rd redwood planting somewhere in Te Mata Park.
The track continues through a beautiful valley below some picturesque cliffs. This valley extends along most of the southern end of Te Mata Park. On the left, in the pic below, is one end of the ‘Hogs Back’ ridge whose opposite end is Te Mata Peak. The Rongakako Trail follows the top of this ridge.
Some time around early November I knew that I would soon be leaving Auckland. I resolved to make the most of the time I had left. It was a sort of New Years resolution, and I started strong, with a 3 day trip to Tiritiri Matangi Island in early January.
After that my efforts tapered off quite a bit. I found myself leaving Auckland with the islands of the Hauraki Gulf are still largely unexplored. A trip to the islands takes a fair bit of planning, and I didn’t really make that happen. I made a visit to Waiheke Island, but only for one day of Sculpture on the Gulf.
I did continue to experience Auckland’s nature and culture. I spent a day immersed in Pacific Island cultures at the Pasifika Festival.
Before leaving Auckland I became familiar with my new neighborhood the Kaipatiki region. I moved there at the end of November. This area is densely populated with parks and reserves.
I met a girl last fall, and she had better opportunities in south Hawkes Bay. I’m a digital nomad, so moving is not a problem for me. There are some things I miss about the only place in New Zealand that I’ve ever called home, but leaving Auckland is an opportunity to get to know a part of New Zealand that I’ve barely begun to explore.
I don’t miss Auckland’s traffic. But I do miss taking ferries as a way to avoid traffic.
The gulf, harbors, and islands of Auckland offer a lot of great views that appear before you as you move about the city. Since the end of November we enjoyed a view of western Waitemate Harbor from our living room and deck. It was flanked by young kauri trees.
On our way out of Auckland we drove to the top of One Tree Hill. It was a beautiful winter day. We took in that great 360 degree view of the city and the region.
In both panoramas you can see both Tamaki Strait in the east and Manukau Harbor in the west. Look closely and you’ll see the sheep on One Tree Hill.
There was a bit of moisture in the air, but it was clear enough to see Cornwallis Peninsula across Manukau Harbor, and behind it Manukau Heads and one of the peaks of Whatipu.
After this long goodbye we got on with leaving Auckland. We went slightly out of our way to stop for lunch in Rotorua. We drove to the lake for a quick look before continuing. We had left a day late due to some work that came up, and by waiting we got a much nicer day for the drive.
Southern Hawkes Bay has somewhat more distinct seasons than Auckland, with frost a few times every year. Last summer at least was much more of a summer in Hawkes Bay.
We had the next day off, and the weather was clear, so we were able to get right into exploring the area. We had left Auckland for new horizons. But I’m sure that we’ll return, if only to visit.
I knew that my expedition to walk the coast from Devonport to Bayswater would be my last walk in Auckland for a long while. The weather was forecast to clear, and before I left I had a look from the deck over the Waitemata Harbor. Heavy fog over the harbor produced the brightest rainbow I’ve seen in New Zealand, and possibly the first full double rainbow. It was a bright start to a somewhat melancholy occasion.
The coastal walks are some of my favorite walks in Auckland. I intended at various points to further explore the coasts of Ngataringa and Shoal Bays, but close looks at Google maps, and previous experience, indicated that it was all mud and mangroves and little access to the coast.
A closer look revealed that there are some paths along the coast of Ngataringa Bay that I hadn’t noticed before, so I went to have a look. I borrowed the map of the Devonport to Takapuna Green Route and added my own path in red (see below).
I parked at the end of Victoria Road. The entrance to Dacre Park was plain to see. The day had cleared up beautifully.
There’s a good track along the edge of the park.
Soon enough a nice view opened up over dense mangroves at the edges of Ngataringa Bay.
Ngataringa Park has a large open grassy space.
Near Lake Road there’s a wooded area with spiraling paths and a definite druid vibe.
Leaving Ngataringa Park you have to walk a short distance along Lake Road.
The mangroves and mud come right up to Lake Road for this stretch. Right on the other side is a path into the bush along the bay. A short distance in is Mary Barrett Glade.
Mary Barrett Glade
This path follows the coast along the edge of Polly’s Park. You don’t actually see the park from the bush.
I had a good look at the possibility of continuing along the coast, and saw no possibility. The path leaves the coast and emerges from the bush along the west end of Polly’s Park. Looking southeast you can see over Polly’s Park, Ngataringa Park, Mount Victoria, and in the distance North Head.
I was able to ask someone passing by about the possibility of following the coast around Duder Point. She offered no hope, so I continued along Wesley Road.
I went and had a look at Hill Park, and found a path back along the coast toward Duder point. I stopped when it seemed too obvious that I would be walking into someone’s back yard.
I retreated to Merwood Lane and took the bridge to Plymouth Reserve.
There’s a nice view from the bridge.
Plymounth Reserve is a strip of grass separated from the Plymouth Crescent houses by a narrow band of trees.
Here again I found no way to continue along the coast. The path ends at Plymouth Crescent, which leads to Bayswater Park. On the other side of the park is O’Neill’s Point Cemetery.
I love a good coastal walk. This walk from Devonport to Bayswater is a good continuation of the North Shore Coastal Walk (click for parts 1, 2 and 3 of that great walk).
Please enjoy the full gallery of 24 pictures below. To view on imgur, click here.
Steppin' the miles, enjoying the view, bringing it all to you.