Coast below Fort Takapuna

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.

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