Orakei Basin

Orakei Basin is in the Orakei suburb of Auckland, which has nothing to do with these guys:

A replica of an Uruk from Peter Jackson' film trilogy - Wikimedia Commons
A replica of an Uruk-Hai from Peter Jackson’ film trilogy – Wikimedia Commons

(Even if New Zealand does often call itself Middle Earth.)

Nor should Orakei be confused with these folks:

Iraqi people - Wikimedia Commons
Iraqi people – Wikimedia Commons

Orakei, from the Māori Ōrākei, is located on a peninsula five kilometres to the east of the Auckland city center, on the shore of the Waitemata Harbour.

Auckland city center from Bayswater Marina
Auckland city center from Bayswater Marina

For a look at the Orakei Basin on Google Maps, click here.

You can view the full gallery of 21 pictures below.  To view on imgur, click here.

Orakei Basin is one of the volcanoes in the Auckland Volcanic Field. It has an explosion crater around 700 m wide, with a surrounding tuff ring. After eruption about 85,000 yrs ago, it became a freshwater lake that had an overflow stream in the vicinity of present Orakei Rd bridge. As sea level rose after the end of the Last Ice Age, the lake, which by then had shallowed to a swamp, was breached by the sea and has been a tidal lagoon ever since. A tidal lagoon, it is popular for watersports. A railway line (the North Island Main Trunk, branded as the Eastern Line for suburban services) runs through the north side of the basin.
Wikipedia

Orakei Basin
Orakei Basin

I felt like a walk closer to the city, and I found the Orakei Basin Walk.

Parking in the city can be not so fun, so I took the ferry in from the North Shore.  There is a train station very near Orakei Basin, but it was a beautiful day, so I decided to walk there along Tamaki Drive.  The Tamaki Drive Walk is a great coastal walk; I’ve done it many times on a bike.

View of Waitemata Harbor, Devonport and Rangitoto from Tamaki Drive
View of Waitemata Harbor, Devonport and Rangitoto from Tamaki Drive

This is downtown Auckland.  I was immediately reminded of the advantages of weekday walks in remote regional parks far from the city center where you encounter no people.  But Tamaki Drive does offer some pretty great scenery.

Tamaki Drive
Tamaki Drive

After leaving Tamaki Drive the road climbs enough to offer views of Auckland over Hobson Bay.  There is no crosswalk near the  intersection with Ngapipi Road, so you get to play Frogger to get across.

Hobson Bay and central Auckland
Hobson Bay and central Auckland

I got onto the walkway from Orakei Road, and chose to walk in a clockwise direction, starting by crossing the boardwalk along the north side of the basin next to the railway line.

Orakei Basin boardwalk
Orakei Basin boardwalk

A bench at the east end of the boardwalk, looking back over the basin toward the city center, was a nice spot for a break.

Orakei Basin
Orakei Basin

Continuing clockwise there’s a cool curvy bridge over an arm of the basin.

Orakei Basin Walkway Bridge
Orakei Basin Walkway Bridge

A group of cormorants (shags) complimented the scenery at the northern end of the bridge.

Shags near the bridge
Shags near the bridge

After crossing the bridge and getting back to the shore, the path follows the shore through the Orakei Basin West Reserve, which also lines the whole southern edge of the basin.

Orakei Basin West Reserve
Orakei Basin West Reserve

The sun was setting in the west, as it does, and shining some its best light on the eastern edge of the basin.  The rest of the walk is green like this, with views over the basin the whole way.

Orakei Basin West Reserve
Orakei Basin West Reserve

I skipped the walk back, and caught the train to central Auckland from Orakei Station.  Britomart station is right across the street from the ferry terminal.

I’ve never met anyone has gotten tired of ferry trips on Waitamata Harbor, even if they do it daily as a commute.

Central Auckland at night
Central Auckland at night

You can view the full gallery of 21 pictures below.  To view on imgur, click here.

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