Tag Archives: Northhead

Ngataringa Bay Coastal Walk, Devonport to Bayswater

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.

Rainbow over western Waitemata Harbor
Rainbow over western Waitemata Harbor

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).

Ngataringa Bay Coastal Walk, Devonport to Bayswater
Ngataringa Bay Coastal Walk, Devonport to Bayswater

I parked at the end of Victoria Road.  The entrance to Dacre Park was plain to see.  The day had cleared up beautifully.

Entrance to Dacre Park
Entrance to Dacre Park

There’s a good track along the edge of the park.

Path along the edge of Dacre Park
Path along the edge of Dacre Park

Soon enough a nice view opened up over dense mangroves at the edges of Ngataringa Bay.

Ngataringa Bay and Harbor Bridge
Ngataringa Bay and Harbor Bridge
Ngatarings Bay - Devonport to Bayswater
Ngatarings Bay

Ngataringa Park has a large open grassy space.

Mount Victoria and Ngataringa Park
Mount Victoria and Ngataringa Park
Ngataringa Park skate park
Ngataringa Park skate park

Near Lake Road there’s a wooded area with spiraling paths and a definite druid vibe.

Ngataringa Park
Ngataringa Park
Ngataringa Park
Ngataringa Park
Ngataringa Park
Ngataringa Park

Leaving Ngataringa Park you have to walk a short distance along Lake Road.

Ngataringa Bay from Lake Road
Ngataringa Bay from 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

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.

Mount Victoria and Ngataringa Bay
Mount Victoria and Ngataringa Bay
Devonport-Bayswater
Devonport-Bayswater

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.

Polly's Park, Ngataringa Park, Mount Victoria, North Head
Polly’s Park, Ngataringa Park, Mount Victoria, 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.

Kawarau Road and Hill Park
Kawarau Road and Hill Park

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.

Path from Hill Park toward Duder Point
Path from Hill Park toward Duder Point

I retreated to Merwood Lane and took the bridge to Plymouth Reserve.

Bridge to Plymouth Reserve
Bridge to Plymouth Reserve

There’s a nice view from the bridge.

View from bridge to Plymounth Reserve
View from bridge to Plymounth Reserve

Plymounth Reserve is a strip of grass separated from the Plymouth Crescent houses by a narrow band of trees.

Plymouth Reserve
Plymouth Reserve
Plymouth Reserve
Plymouth Reserve

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.

O'Neill’s Point Cemetery
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.

Chelsea Estate Heritage Park

I didn’t feel like traveling far, and the tides weren’t right to explore more of the coast, so I decided to visit Chelsea Estate Heritage Park.

Chelsea Estate Heritage Park
Chelsea Estate Heritage Park

The sign shown above provides a map, shown below.  This is a pretty good indication of what Chelsea Estate Heritage Park has to offer.

Chelsea Estate Heritage Park map
Chelsea Estate Heritage Park map

This is a small park, and much of it serves to provide walking access between neighborhoods.  It does offer nice views of the harbor, and the Harbor Bridge, and there is a bit of bush to walk in as well.  And of course there is the Chelsea Sugar Factory.

Chelsea Sugar Factory
Chelsea Sugar Factory

I think I was told some time ago that very large eels live in the ponds near the sugar factory.  I didn’t see any, but I didn’t take the time to look closely.

Pond
Pond

I was about to walk on of the bushier trails in the park when I got a text.  A couple of hard-working friends from Thailand had decided to go for a walk on this beautiful day, but had found only concrete jungle, and were requesting help.  For one of them, it would be the first time visiting a beach in New Zealand, so I took them to Cheltenham Beach, and we climbed up onto Northhead.  Later we took in the view on Mount Victoria.

Rangitoto from Northhead
Rangitoto from Northhead

It was a good day for a change of plans.

Cheltenham Beach from Northhead
Cheltenham Beach from Northhead
Mount Victoria from Northhead
Mount Victoria from Northhead
Bunker on Northhead
Bunker on Northhead

North Shore Coastal Walk – Narrow Neck to Ngataringa Bay

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.

Rangitoto Island, a constant companion on the North Shore Coastal Walk
Rangitoto Island, a constant companion on 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.

South end of Narrow Neck Beach
South end of Narrow Neck Beach

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.

South of Narrow Neck
South of Narrow Neck

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.

Low tide required, Cheltenham Beach in the distance
Low tide required, Cheltenham Beach in the distance

I really love the rock formations like this that are found all along the coast of the north shore.

North end of Cheltenham Beach
North end of Cheltenham Beach

Cheltenham Beach is beautiful, as is Northhead.

Cheltenham Beach and Northhead
Cheltenham Beach and Northhead
Northhead
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.

Gun emplacement on the coast of Northhead
Gun emplacement on the coast of Northhead

I like these stairs up.

Stairs up Northhead
Stairs up Northhead

This cool walkway hugs the cliffs taking you right around the point.

Walkway around Northhead
Walkway around Northhead

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.

Central Auckland from the Northhead coast
Central Auckland from the Northhead coast

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.

Beneath Northhead
Beneath Northhead
Beneath Northhead
Beneath Northhead

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.

Kind Edward Parade, Auckland CBD
Kind Edward Parade, Auckland CBD

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.

Complicated laws with convoluted histories make access to New Zealand’s foreshore and seabed a requirement, but I confirmed that the military trumps all that.

New Zealand Navy
New Zealand Navy Base

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.

Stanley Bay and Auckland CBD
Stanley Bay and Auckland CBD

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.

Harbor Bridge from Stanley Point
Harbor Bridge from Stanley Point

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.

Stanley Point coast
Stanley Point coast

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.

Ngataringa Bay coast
Ngataringa Bay coast

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.

Ngataringa Bay
Ngataringa Bay

There was a rock shelf for a short distance.

Ngataringa Bay coast
Ngataringa Bay coast

And then there was mud.

Ngataringa Bay coast
Ngataringa Bay coast

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.