Tag Archives: Sky Tower

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.

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.

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.

Exploring the Bayswater Coast

I set out from Marine Parade Reserve to explore the Bayswater coast.  I hoped to make it to the First World War Heritage Trail bridge without leaving the foreshore.

Marine Parade Reserve - Bayswater Coast
Marine Parade Reserve

The rock shelf is wet in this area, at low tide, but not muddy.  That changed as I proceeded northeast.

Bayswater Coast
Bayswater foreshore

I stopped often to look back over Shoal Bay and Waitemata Harbor toward the Harbor Bridge and Sky Tower.

Shoal Bay, Bayswater, Sky Tower, Harbor Bridge - Bayswater Coast
Shoal Bay, Bayswater, Sky Tower, Harbor Bridge

The skyline of Takapuna is visible over Shoal Bay in the opposite direction.

 Skyline of Takapuna over Shoal Bay - Bayswater Coast
Skyline of Takapuna over Shoal Bay

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.

Skyline of Takapuna over Shoal Bay - Bayswater Coast
Skyline of Takapuna over Shoal Bay

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.

Bayswater foreshore - Bayswater coast
Bayswater foreshore

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.

Bayswater foreshore - Bayswater coast
Bayswater foreshore

I headed out toward the sandbar a bit early, and found the going very soft and muddy.

Bayswater foreshore - Bayswater coast
Bayswater foreshore

I walked all the way to the end of the sand bar.

Takapuna from the end of the sandbar - Bayswater coast
Takapuna from the end of the sandbar

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.

Sandbar at Lansdowne Reserve - Bayswater coast
Sandbar at Lansdowne Reserve

I walked back on the sandbar proper, on much former ground.

Sandbar at Lansdowne Reserve - Bayswarer coast
Sandbar at Lansdowne Reserve

Below is a parting look along the sandbar.

Sandbar at Lansdowne Reserve - Bayswater coast
Sandbar at Lansdowne Reserve

Approaching Sandy Bay Reserve it becomes very muddy near the shore.

Approaching Sandy Bay Reserve - Bayswater coast
Approaching Sandy Bay Reserve
Approaching Sandy Bay Reserve - Bayswater coast
Approaching Sandy Bay Reserve

Fortunately there are a couple of sandbars just off of the Bayswater Coast that let me make it to Sandy Bay Reserve.

Sandbars to Sandy Bay Reserve - Bayswater coast
Sandbars to Sandy Bay Reserve
Sandy Bay Reserve
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.

O'Neill’s Point Cemetery - Bayswater Coast
O’Neill’s Point Cemetery

The bridge was built to last, and gets a lot of use.

First World War Heritage Trail - Bayswater Coast
First World War Heritage Trail, bridge over the mud and mangroves of Shoal Bay

We’re moving into late fall here in New Zealand, and the sun sets by 6:00.

Sunset over Shoal Bay - Bayswater Coast
Sunset over Shoal Bay

The path from O’Neill’s Point Cemetery is part of the Green Route from Devonport to Takapuna.

Green Route from Devonport to Takapuna
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.

Le Roys Bush and Little Shoal Bay Reserve

Le Roys Bush is one of those reserves that provides (among other things) the nicest possible way to walk between neighborhoods.  It connects with Little Shoal Bay Reserve offering longer walks in the bush.

I entered Le Roys Bush from the northernmost entrance on Onewa Road.

Onewa Road entrance to Le Roys Bush
Onewa Road entrance to Le Roys Bush

Onewa Road is busy, and it was a hot sunny day.  Le Roys Bush was a cool lush sanctuary.  I fell into a walking groove and didn’t stop to take out my camera until I reached Little Shoal Bay Reserve and found a bench in the shade with a nice view of the Sky Tower.  I’ll start there, and take you back through Le Roys Bush.

Little Shoal Bay Reserve
Little Shoal Bay Reserve

Little Shoal Bay Reserve has open green space, a bowling club and basketball courts, and across Maritime Terrace, a boat yard and beach.  I’ve been there a number of times, so I didn’t leave the shade at the back of the open space.

The creek that runs through the center of Le Roys Bush widens into a large marsh in Little Shoal Bay Reserve.  The track follows the edge of that marsh to Le Roys Bush.

March at Little Shoal Bay Reserve
March at Little Shoal Bay Reserve
March at Little Shoal Bay Reserve
March at Little Shoal Bay Reserve

A boardwalk crosses that marsh near the west end of Little Shoal Bay Reserve to provide access to Glade Place.  It was too inviting to pass up, and became my one wrong turn of the day.

Boardwalk to Glade Place
Boardwalk to Glade Place
Looking southeast over the marsh from the boardwalk
Looking southeast over the marsh from the boardwalk

Le Roys Bush is very dense and full of a wide variety of trees.

Le Roys Bush
Le Roys Bush

At a stream crossing an info board educates the visitor on the local fish.

Le Roys Bush
Le Roys Bush

Le Roy means “the king” in French.  Apparently the surname Leroy is also sometimes spelled Le Roy.  I wasn’t able to find any info regarding the name of this park.

Le Roys Bush
Le Roys Bush

Please enjoy the full gallery of 10 pictures below.  To view on imgur click here.