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.
The rock shelf is wet in this area, at low tide, but not muddy. That changed as I proceeded northeast.
I stopped often to look back over Shoal Bay and Waitemata Harbor toward the Harbor Bridge and Sky Tower.
The skyline of Takapuna is visible over Shoal Bay in the opposite direction.
I’ve seen a lot of kite boarders out on the sandbar at Lansdowne Reserve, but the group in the picture below was up to something different.
This coast has the nicest boat houses I’ve seen along the New Zealand coast. Some appear to be situated on a kind of extra back yard, but right on the bay. The buildings probably serve as more than just a place to store boats and related equipment.
I got the sense that few people walk the foreshore here. A group of people sitting in their yard asked me where I was going, and there was a “why are you here” vibe. They weren’t otherwise unfriendly though.
I headed out toward the sandbar a bit early, and found the going very soft and muddy.
The pic below looks back toward the Bayswater coast, and shows the net some people had just finished setting up. Low tide had passed, and the water would soon be coming back in, eventually flowing like a river. I think they probably left with a lot of fish.
I walked back on the sandbar proper, on much former ground.
Below is a parting look along the sandbar.
Approaching Sandy Bay Reserve it becomes very muddy near the shore.
Fortunately there are a couple of sandbars just off of the Bayswater Coast that let me make it to Sandy Bay Reserve.
I walked to the end of Sandy Bay Reserve, but found no way forward that wasn’t all deep mud and overgrown mangroves. I retreated to Sandy Bay Road and took that and Bayswater Avenue to the First World War Heritage Trail next to O’Neill’s Point Cemetery.
The bridge was built to last, and gets a lot of use.
We’re moving into late fall here in New Zealand, and the sun sets by 6:00.
The path from O’Neill’s Point Cemetery is part of the Green Route from Devonport to Takapuna.
At Northboro Reserve I called it a day, and caught a bus back to my car at Bayswater Marina.
Enjoy the full gallery of 22 pictures below. To view on imgur, click here.
I had hoped to spend a week or two getting to know Waiheke Island, but the timing wasn’t right, so we took the ferry out to Waiheke for the day just to enjoy the sculpture walk.
Part of the exhibition was visible from the ferry, on the headland at Matiatia Bay, not far from where the ferry docks.
We caught the shuttle to the start of the walk, which returns to Matiatia Wharf. The route was the same as 2 years ago. I guess it probably always has been the same, but I didn’t recognize it before this year.
The great thing about Sculpture on the Gulf is walking and enjoying art in that great setting. The coast of Waiheke offers views across Hauraki Gulf to Motutapu and Rangitoto Islands, central Auckland and the Sky Tower (the latter not visible in the picture below).
Boats have a special significance to Pacific Island cultures, including Maori. They show up in a lot of New Zealand art.
New Zealand law insures public access to the foreshore. That’s just the land that is underwater at the highest tide , but fortunately tracks along the coast above the waterline seem to be the norm. You see some impressive lawns along the walk, and in many cases you can’t see a house. A line between stakes indicates the boundary of the walkway (see the header image at the very top of the page).
The Headland Sculpture Walk follows a generous strip of land along the coast, but the headland itself is the largest open public space.
Two years ago I attended the last day of the sculpture walk, and went to the Lantern Festival the following weekend. This year the Sculpture Walk ended the weekend after the Lantern Festival. This may be due to the latter being scheduled on the lunar calendar – I’m not really sure.
This summer, as every scheduled event approached, I watched the weather, hoping it would clear. We went to Waiheke on Sunday, the last day of the Sculpture Walk. Fortunately we got a day without rain. The walk was closed for a few days earlier due to the wet and unsafe conditions.
Part of the sky, at least, was blue by mid-afternoon, and it got hot and sunny… and humid.
Signs warn visitors to take it slow as the trail gets a bit steep in places as it leaves the headland and follows the coast of Matiatia Bay back to the wharf.
We had parked in Devonport to take advantage of the late ferries and spend as much time as possible on Waiheke Island. When we got back to Matiatia Wharf we caught a bus into Oneroa and had dinner on Oneroa Beach, enjoying the view of Oneroa Bay.
After dinner we strolled along the beach. As always the landscape was even more photogenic during the golden hour before sunset.
It was a long day, but a good one. We caught the bus back to Matiatia Wharf, then the ferry to Auckland, and finally one more ferry to Devonport.
Please enjoy the full gallery of 39 pictures below. To view on imgur, click here.
I’ve never met the Prime Minister of any other country, but somehow I didn’t think it would be quite like this.
I knew that John Key was coming to Devonport this morning because the police were asking people to move their cars to provide space for him to park. One officer told me that the Prime Minister was coming. I wondered if she was supposed to tell people that.
I had plenty of time to decide that I should get my camera, and see if I was actually allowed to get anywhere near him. I was starting to realize that I actually might not get tackled, and a knee in my back, for trying.
Two cars pulled up and parked. A bearded DPS agent got out of the second car and stood next to the Prime Minister’s door. The driver of first his car got out and opened the door for Mr. Key.
There were not many people around. Someone strolled past, but seemed to take no notice, or to get much from the authorities. I was standing outside the cafe with the lovely barista. Once he emerged from the car there was no one between us. It was somehow the natural thing to do for New Zealand Prime Minster John Key to walk over and shake my hand.
He talked a bit with the barista, and posed for a picture with her, and she offered him a coffee. One of his staff followed her in to get it for him.
The PM talked with a few people on his way to the RSA, while the lone 1080 protester shouted “shame on you!” It was a small crowd.
A little while later I decided to go into the RSA and see what was happening. There was no one at the door. The one DPS agent stayed close to Mr. Key as people walked up and talked to him. The meeting had something to do with senior citizens.
I haven’t found anything in Auckland that I’ve enjoyed as much as walking the coast, especially the part of the east coast that makes up the North Shore Coastal Walk.
In a recent exciting episode I spent a second day walking the North Shore Coastal Walk starting at Castor Bay and continuing to Narrow Neck Beach, and almost to Cheltenham Beach, before finding that the tide was too high to continue along the coast.
I had another look at the map, and realized that there was a fair bit of coast yet to walk from Narrow Neck around the point to Cheltenham Beach, and around North Head, so I decided to try it again at low tide.
You can view the full gallery of 45 pictures below. To view on imgur, click here.
It was a beautiful day, and the cliffs south of Narrow Neck offered lots of photo opportunities.
At the point where I had turned back last time the water was still a bit too high to walk through without getting my shoes completely wet. I had started about an hour before low tide, so I decide to wait. A woman and her son came by, and she told me that the tide was high, and wouldn’t be low for another 6 hours. She was exactly wrong, but the boy continued and she followed, inspiring me to do the same. The water had receded significantly in the 10-20 minutes that I had waited.
I really love the rock formations like this that are found all along the coast of the north shore.
Cheltenham Beach is beautiful, as is Northhead.
I had explored Northhead previously, but I had started near the top, and it is so steep that I avoided walking too far downhill. I didn’t realize that gun emplacements and access extend all the way to the coast.
I like these stairs up.
This cool walkway hugs the cliffs taking you right around the point.
After central Auckland comes into view the walkway appears to go underground, although closer inspection shows that you can unlatch a gate and go “offroad” for a short distance.
Tunnels connect a couple of gun emplacements and various storage areas for ammo and such, and a set of stairs that emerge higher on Northhead. I explored a bit, then went back to follow the coast.
A short walk on the rock shelf brings you to Torpedo Bay, with Torpedo Bay Navy Museum and a small cafe with a great view. Then you’re back on Kind Edward Parade walking toward the Devonport Ferry enjoying views of Central Auckland.
It was far too nice a day to stop. I had been told that it was possible to walk around Stanley Point, so I kept going.
New Zealand’s Navy is a very small one, but I decided to go around the navy base rather than fight my way through. Steps near the main gate take you a block up the hill, and several blocks take you past the whole base to Stanley Bay.
It was about 40 minutes after low tide. The water was a long way out at Stanley Bay, as you can see above, but as I walked around the point and the Harbor Bridge came into view the shore became rocky and narrow.
Climbing began to be necessary. I almost turned back at one point, but after a closer look decided to walk along a narrow shelf with a low overhang. The waves lapped at the rock shelf below, and in a short time would put it underwater. My backpack scraped the rock above me, but I made it through. The picture below looks back at what is probably the most treacherous part of any of my coastal walks – although falling may have only meant a wet camera and a cold swim.
The coast changes here. At high tide it maybe not be possible to walk the coast here, but shortly after low tide there was lots of space to walk, although the rock shelf turns to mud as you continue into Ngataringa Bay. There are docks along the coast here with walkways up to to homes atop the cliffs.
It was somewhat tempting to head out across the bay, but I wasn’t at all interested in getting even ankle deep into mud, and a mud-flat walk did not sound nearly as appealing as a coastal walk.
There was a rock shelf for a short distance.
And then there was mud.
I reached Ngataringa Bay Sports Fields to discover that they are Navy property, and have the same signs warning civilians to keep out. With no option for continuing along the coast except the mud, I decided to call it a day, and cut back across the peninsula via Stanley Bay Park.
This is another great walk along the coast of Auckland’s North Shore. From here however, the Ngataringa Bay coast seems to be the muddy domain of mangrove trees, and Shoal Bay seems the same. And yet there are beautiful spots like Marine Parade Reserve and Lansdown Reserve, so I’ll just have to continue to explore this coast to see what it has to offer.
You can view the full gallery of 45 pictures below. To view on imgur, click here.
Steppin' the miles, enjoying the view, bringing it all to you.