Tag Archives: kauri

Leaving Auckland is such sweet sorrow

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.

Rangitoto Island and Auckland CBD from Tiritiri Matangi Island
Rangitoto Island and Auckland CBD from Tiritiri Matangi Island

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.

Sculpture on the Gulf
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.

Cook Islands Stage
Cook Islands Stage

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.

Hilders Park and western Waitemata Harbor - Leaving Auckland
Hilders Park and western Waitemata Harbor

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.

Double hulled waka on Waitemate Harbor - Leaving Auckland
Double hulled waka on Waitemate Harbor

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.

Kaipatiki view of western Waitemate harbor - Leaving Auckland
Kaipatiki view of western Waitemate harbor

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.

Eastern Auckland from one Tree Hill - Leaving Auckland
Eastern Auckland from one Tree Hill

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.

Western Auckland from one Tree Hill - Leaving Auckland
Western Auckland from 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.

Manukau Harbor, Cornwallis Peninsula, Manukau Heads and Whatipu - Leaving Auckland
Manukau Harbor, Cornwallis Peninsula, Manukau Heads and 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.

Lake Rotorua - Leaving Auckland
Lake Rotorua

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.

Leigh & Lynn Scenic Reserves

We were there for the big kauri, so we entered Leigh Reserve through the Morriggia Place entrance.

Morriggia Road entrance to Leigh Scenic Reserve
Morriggia Road entrance to Leigh Scenic Reserve

The bush opens onto a grassy area with a bench overlooking a house and driveway.  The grassy bit slopes downhill and enters the bush, and things get interesting.

Leigh Scenic Reserve
Leigh Scenic Reserve

The big kauri right at the edge of the bush is unusual in that the view of it’s entire height is unblocked by other trees.  It’s impressive, but the big one appears as you reach the top of the steps at the bottom right of the picture below.

2nd biggest kauri tree at the top of Leigh Reserve
2nd biggest kauri tree at the top of Leigh Reserve

This is the largest kauri on Auckland’s North Shore.    It’s over 2 meters in diameter, and could be as old as 800 years.

Big kauri
Big kauri

With many kauri, you can only see clearly the part that is below or above the canopy.  Fortunately the trail leads right past the trunk of this big tree, so you get a different perspective.  Pictures often fail to capture the size of these trees.  The pic below probably comes closest.

Big kauri in Leigh Scenic Reserve
Big kauri

The bush at Leigh Scenic Reserve is shady with a large variety of trees.

Leigh Scenic Reserve
Leigh Scenic Reserve

there are plenty of nikau palm.

Leigh/Lynn Scenic Reserve
Leigh/Lynn Scenic Reserve
Leigh/Lynn Scenic Reserve
Leigh/Lynn Scenic Reserve

And fern trees.

Leigh/Lynn Scenic Reserve
Leigh/Lynn Scenic Reserve
Leigh/Lynn Scenic Reserve
Leigh/Lynn Scenic Reserve
Leigh/Lynn Scenic Reserve
Leigh/Lynn Scenic Reserve

Before reaching the opposite side of Lynn Reserve we turned around and walked back.

Leigh/Lynn Scenic Reserve
Leigh/Lynn Scenic Reserve

Leigh and Lynn Reserves are another couple of really nice lush and shady Kaipatiki region reserves.  They’re great for trees in general and kauri in particular.

Please enjoy the full gallery of 14 pictures below.  To view on imgur, click here.

Fernglen Native Plant Gardens is a great collection of New Zealand native plants

Fernglen Native Plant Gardens is the only park or reserve that is listed with open hours in the Kaipatiki Explorer (9am – 4pm).  Just to the right, inside the gate, you can see a small shelter where I found lots of literature about parks and reserves etc. in the Kaipatiki region.

Fernglen Native Plant Gardens front gate
Fernglen Native Plant Gardens front gate

Just inside the gate are a series of paths that wander among native plants from many parts of New Zealand.

Fernglen Native Plant Gardens
Fernglen Native Plant Gardens

The gardens are very lush, and the plants spill onto the paths.

Fernglen Native Plant Gardens
Fernglen Native Plant Gardens

The surrounding bush is just as green and dense.  The Fern House fits perfectly into this setting.

Fern House in Fernglen
Fern House in Fernglen

The trunks of tree ferns are commonly used in fences and other structures in New Zealand.

The Fishers had a farm in this area; Muriel Fisher was an  expert on New Zealand native plants and a respected conservationist.

Fern House in Fernglen
Fern House in Fernglen

The ferns in the Fern House are apparently difficult to grow.  A very wide mesh screen is the only roof (actually fence I think), wide enough to let in the smaller birds.

Fern House in Fernglen
Fern House in Fernglen

The Fern House is every bit as verdant as the gardens.

Fern House in Fernglen
Fern House in Fernglen

And so is the bush.

Fernglen bush
Fernglen bush

From Fern Hourse steps descend past a big tanekaha and a 300 year old Kauri to the Canal Track.

Tanekaha and 300 year old Kauri in Fernglen
Tanekaha and 300 year old Kauri

Rotary Grove has 20 young kauri trees that were 2 meters tall when donated in 1998 by the Birkenhead Rotary.

Rotary Grove Fernglen
Rotary Grove

Back at the gardens, there’s some kind of crazy tree in front of the Education Center.

In front of Fernglen Education Center
In front of Fernglen Education Center

Fernglen Native Plant Gardens is a nice little reserve, and a great collection of New Zealand native plants, and has been used for education and research by Muriel Fisher and many others since the 1920s.

Fernglen Native Plant Gardens
Fernglen Native Plant Gardens

Enjoy the full gallery of 16 pictures below.  To view on imgur, click here.

 

Kaipatiki Coastal Walk

What I’m calling Kaipatiki Coastal Walk was called Coastal Walk 1 in the 2015 edition of the Kaipatiki Explorer.  The two coastal walks take in almost the entire coastline  of the Kaipatiki region of Auckland (Glenfield south to the Waitamata Harbor, with the Northern Motorway as its eastern border to the Waitamata Harbor as its western border).  Sadly the coastal walks don’t seem to be included in the latest version of the guide.

Coastal Walk 1 from the 2015 edition of the Kaipatiki Explorer
Coastal Walk 1 from the 2015 edition of the Kaipatiki Explorer

The walks do their best to link together the various parks and reserves, keeping street walking to a minimum.  I was able to stick pretty close to the route shown in the guide, starting at Tuff Crater Reserve.

Overlooking Tuff Crater Reserve
Overlooking Tuff Crater Reserve

I entered Tuff Crater Reserve behind the Warehouse Group corporate office off of Akoranga Drive.  On the north side of the crater you can see Highway 1 and the CBD and Sky Tower.

Tuff Crater Reserve
Tuff Crater Reserve

The path leads around a sort of wetlands in the crater.  It’s green and quiet with lots of birds.

Tuff Crater Reserve
Tuff Crater Reserve

I started a couple hours before low tide.  I considered using the pedestrian bridge over Highway 1 at Heath Reserve to see if I could walk the foreshore.  It’s good that I didn’t because I wouldn’t have gotten past the mouth of Onepoto Stream a short distance to the south.

Heath Reserve
Heath Reserve

A path that felt a bit like someone’s back yard and driveway led me to Heath Avenue.  At the end of Heath Avenue and across Sylvan Avenue is a walkway between houses to Onepoto Domain.

Onepoto Domain
Onepoto Domain

I skipped a bush loop and chose the shortest way through the domain.  There are some sports fields and a nice pond.

Onepoto Domain
Onepoto Domain

I really enjoyed the pohutukawa blooming in December.  This tree on the edge of Onepoto Domain is probably the brightest I saw this season.

Pohutukawa at the edge of Onepoto Domain
Pohutukawa at the edge of Onepoto Domain

The Onepoto Cycleway bridge is visible from Onewa Road, but seems to have been designed to be viewed from the other side.

Onepoto Cycleway Bridge
Onepoto Cycleway bridge

The Onepoto Cycleway is also for pedestrians.  It meets and follows Onewa Road. There is no light or crossing at Bruce Street, so it’s probably best to walk to Queen Street instead – Onewa Road is 4 lanes and busy (click here to see the walk on Google Maps).

After crossing Onewa Road it’s quiet neighborhood streets to the Highway 1 underpass.  The route shown on the Google Maps link above actually ends at the front of the police station; I continued on the sidewalk to the south end of the station to reach the underpass shown below.

Walkway under Highway 1
Walkway under Highway 1

I emerged right on the coast of Shoal Bay, right beside Highway 1, with views of Takapuna, Rangitoto, Bayswater, Devonport and the Sky Tower.

Shoal Bay
Shoal Bay
Auckland CBD over Shoal Bay
Auckland CBD over Shoal Bay
Bayswater Marina, Mount Victoria, Stanley Point from Shoal Bay
Bayswater Marina, Mount Victoria, Stanley Point over Shoal Bay
Shoal Bay
Shoal Bay

Sulphur Beach is a great place to park and look at the city.

Sulphur Beach
Sulphur Beach

The bridge is right next to Sulphur Beach; the only road to Sulphur Beach goes under it.

Sulphur Beach and Harbor Bridge
Sulphur Beach and Harbor Bridge

I had never seen the beach below at low tide, so I took this opportunity to walk under the bridge to Gold Hole Reserve.

Auckland Harbor Bridge
Auckland Harbor Bridge

The boat yard at Gold Hole Reserve is off limits.

Gold Hole Reserve
Gold Hole Reserve

So I walked under the bridge again, and up the hill to Stokes Point Reserve.

Auckland Harbour Bridge
Auckland Harbour Bridge
Stokes Point Reserve
Stokes Point Reserve

I love the lookout beneath the bridge.

Stokes Point Reserve
Stokes Point Reserve

I had a late lunch here while enjoying the views.

Beneath the Harbour Bridge
Beneath the Harbour Bridge
Beneath the Harbour Bridge
Beneath the Harbour Bridge

After leaving the point I followed Queen Street to Halls Beach Reserve, which provides attractive access to the foreshore.

Halls Beach Reserve
Halls Beach Reserve
Halls Beach Reserve
Halls Beach Reserve
Little Shoal Bay and Harbour Bridge
Little Shoal Bay and Harbour Bridge

From Halls Beach Reserve it’s a short walk on the foreshore to Little Shoal Bay Reserve.

Little Shoal Bay Reserve
Little Shoal Bay Reserve

I was hoping to stay on the foreshore, but the tide was coming in, and I didn’t feel like taking my boots off to wade across the tidal streams.

Little Shoal Bay Reserve
Little Shoal Bay Reserve

I walked Maritime Terrace and Hinemoa Street to Birkenhead Warf.  This is another favorite place to park at night and enjoy a beautiful view.

View from Birkenhead Warf
View from Birkenhead Warf

I walked up the hill through Hinemoa Park, along Palmerston Road to Rugby Road, and then to the end of Telephone Road to catch a path back to the foreshore.

A short alternate path leads through a small bamboo forest.

Small bamboo forest
Small bamboo forest
Small bamboo forest
Small bamboo forest

This path meets the foreshore Chelsea Bay Beach Area.  There are a couple of houses here with nice big back yards with no boundaries between yards and beach.  I’m always interested in how people deal with the requirement to allow public access to the foreshore.

House at Chelsea Bay Beach Area
House at Chelsea Bay Beach Area

Chelsea Bay Beach Area is very near Chelsea Sugar.

Chelsea Bay Beach, Chelsea Sugar in the distance
Chelsea Bay Beach, Chelsea Sugar in the distance

Chelsea Estate Heritage Park has some nice bridges and walkways, but it could really use at least one more sidewalk along Colonial Road.

Chelsea Estate Heritage Park
Chelsea Estate Heritage Park

I’ve been trying to get a good picture of an eastern rosella for a while.  I saw one soon after crossing the bridge above, and another soon after that.  Then as I walked along Colonial Road I saw six of these colorful birds.  I think they were eating the small white flowers in the grass.

Eastern rosella
Eastern rosella

Eastern rosella were introduced from Australia in the early 1900s.  They’re now common on the North Island, but they had mostly eluded me until this walk.

Eastern rosella
Eastern rosella

In addition to military sites, biosecurity/Places of First Arrival trump the Marine and Coastal Area (Takutai Moana) Act 2011 which guarantees access to the foreshore.  I guess Chelsea Sugar is so big it needs supplies from overseas to pass customs on-site.

Entrance to Chelsea Port Facility
Entrance to Chelsea Port Facility

I heeded signs indicating private property, and wasn’t able to find a way back to the coast or into Kauri Point Centennial Park.  Instead I crossed the bridge on Colonial Road and took the trail to Chatswood Reserve.

Boarwalk in or near Chatswood Reserve
Boarwalk in or near Chatswood Reserve

Chatswood Reserve is a well-signposted park.  Unfortunately I needed to leave it almost immediately, via Homewood Place, in order to follow the best roads to Kauri Park.  I entered Kauri Park via Kauri Road.  At the entrance I met a very swole kererū.

Kererū
Kererū

I paused to enjoy the big kauri, and shoot a vertical panorama, before exiting onto Rangatira Road and walking home.

Kauri tree in Kauri Park
Kauri tree in Kauri Park

This is a great walk.  If I had been able to stay on the foreshore for more of this walk I would have avoided some long stretches on the roads.  One great spot I would have missed is Stokes Point Reserve.

Please enjoy the full gallery of 50 pictures below.  Note that this photo gallery plugin loads the entire gallery before displaying a slideshow, so if you’d like to view the gallery as a slideshow you’ll probably have to wait a bit.  To view on imgur, click here.

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