South end of Long Bay

North Shore Coastal Walk

In which the North Shore Coastal Walk proves as awesome as any walk in Auckland, and much closer to home than many.

You can view the full gallery of 30 pictures below.  To view on imgur, click here.

Te Araroa is New Zealand’s Trail – taking in spectacular New Zealand landscapes from beaches to volcanoes to forests to cities.

The 3000km route stretching from Cape Reinga in the North of New Zealand to Bluff in the South was officially opened December 3rd, 2011 by the Governor-General of New Zealand, Sir Jerry Mateparae.
http://www.teararoa.org.nz/

Te Araroa passes through Auckland of course, and the North Shore Coastal Walk is the section from Long Bay to Devonport.  The logo appears on road signs along the coast.  The site recommends against it, but mentions that it is possible to walk along the foreshore at low tide.  I got a taste of the street-and-footpath route with a friend who is not a walker, and that was enough to know that I wanted to do the low tide route.

The cliffs and rock shelves at the south end of Long Bay reminded me of why I love to walk along the coast, and of what the North Shore Coastal Walk would be like.

South end of Long Bay
South end of Long Bay

The rocks along the coast can be extremely slippery, and precarious in other ways as well.  The scenery is incredible, but it is essential that you spend a lot of time looking at the surfaces you are about to walk on.  I tried to maintain a habit of finding good footing, then enjoying the view while stationary.

Looking north across Long Bay
Looking north across Long Bay

Just around the first point is the southern boundary of the Long Bay-Okura Marine Reserve.  There were a couple guys fishing right at the border.  I imagine fish are plentiful there.

Southern boundary of the Long Bay-Okura Marine Reserve
Southern boundary of the Long Bay-Okura Marine Reserve

Torbay is the neighborhood just south of Long Bay on land – but Torbay the bay is south of both Winstones Cove and Waiake Bay – and The Tor itself is between the two.

The Tor, from Winstones Cove
The Tor, from Winstones Cove

Houses are nearby, but just far enough from the shore that much of the coast feels pretty remote.  There are frequent paths or stairs providing access from the houses and neighborhoods, but I encountered fairly few people.  I had lunch on a bench on a nice little beach on Winstones Cove.

The Tor, from Winstones Cove
The Tor, from Winstones Cove

The Tor is a pretty photogenic feature, and I took a lot of pictures of it and its surroundings.

Looking north over Waiake Bay at The Tor
Looking north over Waiake Bay at The Tor
Looking north over Waiake Bay at The Tor
Looking north over Waiake Bay at The Tor

Rangitoto is always visible along Auckland’s east coast.  It was an overcast day, with a bit of haze that cleared a bit as the day progressed.  Below is the point between Torbay and Browns Bay.

Rangitoto Island in the distance
Rangitoto Island in the distance

I walked the beach at Browns Bay without recognizing it.

Browns Bay
Browns Bay

This walk is full of bizarre rock formations.

North Shore Coast
North Shore Coast

Approaching Murrays Bay was probably the most slippery and difficult terrain of the day.

Murrays Bay
Murrays Bay

I almost caught a bus at Murrays Bay, but I decided to walk on.

Murrays Bay
Murrays Bay

A walkway from Murrays Bay to Mairangi Bay made the going much easier, and by this time it was a greatly appreciated break.

Walkway from Murrays Bay to Mairangi Bay
Walkway from Murrays Bay to Mairangi Bay
Mairangi Bay
Mairangi Bay

A similar walkway helped with the walk from Mairangi Bay to Campbells Bay.

Walkway from Mairangi Bay to Campbells Bay
Walkway from Mairangi Bay to Campbells Bay

As I got tired I had to focus more on being careful with my footing, taking short steps, and keeping my center of gravity centered between my feet.  I saw on Google Maps that I was nearing the coast below J. F. Kennedy Memorial Park, and asked a tall distinguished gentleman and his grandson whether they thought the tide would still permit me to make it there, and how long it would take.  They told me that they’d be surprised if I couldn’t make it there in a half hour.  He speculated that there were as many walking tracks in Auckland as restaurants, and then told me how the only restaurants in Auckland back in the day were fish and chip shops.  I wished them luck with the fishing they intended to do and walked on.

Just before Castor Bay
Just before Castor Bay

Rounding the point I saw the very familiar coastline below J. F. Kennedy Memorial Park, including the long stairs up to the park in the distance.

First view of the coast below J. F. Kennedy Memorial Park
First view of the coast below J. F. Kennedy Memorial Park

JFK is a favorite spot, and the unique terrain is always a welcome sight.

The coast near J. F. Kennedy Memorial Park
The coast near J. F. Kennedy Memorial Park
The coast near J. F. Kennedy Memorial Park
The coast near J. F. Kennedy Memorial Park

JFK seemed a great place to stop for the day.  I climbed the long stairway and caught a bus back to Long Bay.  It was accomplished on a single bus that followed Beach Road the whole way.  Long Bay has a bus stop just inside the park, right next to one of the carparks.

Long stairway up to J. F. Kennedy Memorial Park
Long stairway up to J. F. Kennedy Memorial Park

This was a great walk, and I looked forward to coming back and finishing the North Shore Coastal Walk by walking from JFK to Devonport.

You can view the full gallery of 30 pictures below.  To view on imgur, click here.

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