Tag Archives: Manukau Heads

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.

Mangere Mountain

Mangere Mountain is one of the largest volcanic cones in the Auckland volcanic field, with a peak 106 meters above sea level. It was the site of a major (Māori fortified village), and you can still see a lot of the earthworks there today.

Mangere Mountain from Ambury Regional Park
Mangere Mountain from Ambury Regional Park

It is a prominent landmark in south Auckland, and I had been visiting places in that area recently, so I decided to check out Mangere Mountain up close.

Mangere Mountain from near the Onehunga Mangere Soccer & Softball Club
Mangere Mountain from near the Onehunga Mangere Soccer & Softball Club

This is one of those places that panoramas are made for.  We parked at the Onehunga Mangere Soccer & Softball Club and walked up the cone in a clockwise direction.

Mangere Mountain
Mangere Mountain

A view of Puketutu Island opens up as you reach the western rim.

Puketutu Island
Puketutu Island

In the saddle between the two highest points you get a wider view of the Manukau Harbour that takes in Otuataua Stonefields, Puketutu Island, Awhitu Peninsula, Manukau Heads, the Waitakere Ranges, and Ambury Regional Park.

Manukau harbor from Mangere mountain
Manukau harbor from Mangere mountain
Details on the view above - Mangere Mountain
Details on the view above

The top also offers a good view of the cone, and what I assume is the plug.  Correction – that’s a lava dome, something that no other Auckland volcanoes have.

The large crater from the north rim
The large crater from the north rim

In the other direction you have great views over Manukau Harbor to the Mangere Bridge and central Auckland.

Mangere Bridge and central Auckland
Mangere Bridge and central Auckland

That view includes Mount Eden, the Sky Tower and One Tree Hill.

Mount Eden, Sky Tower and One Tree Hill
Mount Eden, Sky Tower and One Tree Hill

The perspective on the cone itself changed as we continued walking in a clockwise direction around the rim.

Crater of Mangere Mountain
Crater of Mangere Mountain

We continued clockwise around the smaller crater.

The smaller crater on Mangere Mountain
The smaller crater on Mangere Mountain

Soon after that we completed the circle, and returned to the carpark.

Mangere Mountain, in Mangere Domain, is a small park with the terrain for good short walk with a bit of climbing and some great views of Auckland.

Please enjoy the full gallery of 12 pictures below.  To view on imgur, click here.

Join me on A Guided Tour of Whatipu Beach

I got another chance to act as tour guide and chose Whatipu Beach,  still my favorite west coast beach. This visit rewarded us with something I had never seen before anywhere.

To see my various other posts on Whatipu Beach, use the search box at the top of the left column.

The view over Huia Bay was good, so I decided to drive back the short distance to Huia Point.

Huia Bay
Huia Bay

It was a beautiful day, and I took the opportunity to shoot a high-resolution panorama.  Enjoy, but be warned, it’s big.

Huia Point
Huia Point

We started with a walk to the sea caves.  It’s been raining a lot for months, and the campground meadow and the path to the point where the track enters the bush were wet, with pools in places.

Track to the sea caves at Whatipu Beach
Track to the sea caves

The large panorama below shows the whole view.

Whatipu Beach
Whatipu Beach area
Track to the sea caves at Whatipu Beach
Track to the sea caves

The track rises to offer some great views of the Whatipu Beach area.

Whatipu Beach landmarks
Whatipu Beach landmarks

There are some good size caves along this track.  It takes about 45 minutes to walk to the end.

Whatipu Beach sea cave
Whatipu Beach sea cave
Whatipu Beach sea cave
Whatipu Beach sea cave

There’s a toilet near that last cave, and I think there’s a campground, but it isn’t obvious where one should camp.

Whatipu Beach sea cave
Whatipu Beach sea cave

Maybe inside the cave?

Whatipu Beach sea cave
Whatipu Beach sea cave

It was a nice day, and I really like some of these pictures of the area.

Whatipu Beach
Whatipu Beach
Whatipu Beach
Whatipu Beach
Whatipu Beach
Whatipu Beach

The tour wouldn’t be complete without a visit to the beach proper.

Manukau Harbor - Whatipu Beach
Manukau Harbor and Manukau Heads

We made our way to the beach on Manukau Harbor and the rock shelf along the harbor side of Paratutae Island.  We immediately saw dozens of small crabs, already scurrying under rocks by the time we spotted them.  My companion loves crab.  Most western people would have considered them too small to eat, but Asians look at such things differently.  Where the rocks could be moved, I moved them, and she grabbed the little crabs.  Later she removed the back part of the shell, removed the insides, and fried them in a pan with salt and pepper.  The shells were just a bit crunchy, and they were delicious.

Next we walked toward the lighthouse.

Whatipu Beach
Whatipu Beach

The orca below is just visible in the pic above.  This gives you a good idea how big this beach is.

Orca on Whatipu Beach
Orca on Whatipu Beach

Tourists camped at Whatipu told us that the campground owner had taken a picture of the orcas eye and sent it to someone who deals with marine mammals.  They had identified the whale, and said that it was very old and had likely died of old age.  I had guessed that the really bad storms we’d been having had caused it to be washed ashore.

Orca on Whatipu Beach
Orca on Whatipu Beach

The golden hour arrived, and everything looked even more beautiful on our walk back to the carpark.

Whatipu Beach
Whatipu Beach
Whatipu Beach
Whatipu Beach
Whatipu Beach
Whatipu Beach

Enjoy the full gallery of 29 pictures below.  To view on imgur, click here.

Cornwallis

Cornwallis is a peninsula (and a Regional Park) in Waitakere Ranges Regional Park, next to Huia, on the Manukau Harbor (view on Google Maps).

Cornwallis Warf
Cornwallis Warf

I chose the Jubilee Walk, which takes in Cornwallis Beach and Cornwallis Wharf, but there is surely more in the area worth exploring.  I can’t recommend the Jubilee Walk as a loop, because the road part is dry and dusty and busy with traffic, but the bush part of it is nice enough, although pretty short.  Park in the first carpark you see on Pine Avenue – there are signs for the Jubilee Walk.  Park on the right side of the road, and take the track that way.

Jubilee Walk
Jubilee Walk

You’ll soon arrive at Cornwallis Beach, which was the highlight of my visit.

Cornwallis Beach
Cornwallis Beach

It’s a long beach, with plenty of grass and picnic areas along its length.

Cornwallis Beach from Cornwallis Wharf
Cornwallis Beach from Cornwallis Wharf

Maui dolphin have been spotted at Cornwallis Beach, but I wasn’t so lucky.

Cornwallis Wharf
Cornwallis Wharf

From some points along the beach you can see McLachlan Monument.  Monument Track may be a nice walk, certainly a nice climb, sure to offer some great views.

McLachlan Monument
McLachlan Monument

Once I got a look at a map near the beach I got a better idea of what the area and the various tracks offer.

Map of Cornwallis
Map of Cornwallis

In retrospect I should have gone and done the Kakamatua Beach Walk, and gotten a look at another Cornwallis area beach.  But instead I went and had a look at the view from Huia Point Lookout.  It’s well worth a stop if you’re in the area.

Manukau Heads, the opening of Manukau Harbor, Whatipu, and Huia, from Huia Point Lookout
Manukau Heads, the opening of Manukau Harbor, Whatipu, and Huia, from Huia Point Lookout

Huia Beach was another worthwhile stop.

Huia Beach
Huia Beach

You can view the full gallery of 23 pictures below.  There may be some minor problems with the gallery below, but as always you can view all of the pictures on imgur (click here).