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.
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.
I did continue to experience Auckland’s nature and culture. I spent a day immersed in Pacific Island cultures at the Pasifika Festival.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Bayswater Marina is is enclosed on three sides by a 900 meter floating breakwater that is open to the public for walking and enjoying the views and sea breezes at sea level. It also provides deepwater access and is popular for fishing.
Bayswater breakwater is easy to accessby parking across from the big old white building at the north end of the marina, just south of Marine Parade Reserve. It’s a short walk to the ramp to the breakwater itself.
A gate at the top of the ramp is locked at sunset, and whenever marina management considers weather conditions unsafe.
Early views include Shoal Bay and the Harbour Bridge.
The south side looks right across Waitemata Harbor at central Auckland.
The last section was closed on my last visit. I assume marina management has deemed it unsafe for some reason.
If you could reach the end of hte breakwater you’d have an even better view over Ngataringa Bay to Stanley Point.
These larger walled platforms seem to have been built for fishing.
On the way back you’re looking over Shoal Bay toward Takapuna.
Everything looked great in the light of the approaching sunset, and I wasn’t done walking.
The tide was low, and the coast beckoned.
I didn’t have time to go far. But I did confirm that i wanted to come back and walk this coast another time.
Bayswater is a favorite north shore location with some great coast access and unique views of Auckland.
Please enjoy the full gallery of 18 pictures below. To view on imgur click here.
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.
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.
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.
The path leads around a sort of wetlands in the crater. It’s green and quiet with lots of birds.
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.
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.
I skipped a bush loop and chose the shortest way through the domain. There are some sports fields and a nice pond.
I really enjoyed the pohutukawa blooming in December. This tree on the edge of Onepoto Domain is probably the brightest I saw this season.
The Onepoto Cycleway bridge is visible from Onewa Road, but seems to have been designed to be viewed from the other side.
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.
I emerged right on the coast of Shoal Bay, right beside Highway 1, with views of Takapuna, Rangitoto, Bayswater, Devonport and the Sky Tower.
The bridge is right next to Sulphur Beach; the only road to Sulphur Beach goes under it.
I had never seen the beach below at low tide, so I took this opportunity to walk under the bridge to Gold Hole Reserve.
The boat yard at Gold Hole Reserve is off limits.
So I walked under the bridge again, and up the hill to Stokes Point Reserve.
I love the lookout beneath the bridge.
I had a late lunch here while enjoying the views.
After leaving the point I followed Queen Street to Halls Beach Reserve, which provides attractive access to the foreshore.
From Halls Beach Reserve it’s a short walk on the foreshore to 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.
I walked Maritime Terrace and Hinemoa Street to Birkenhead Warf. This is another favorite place to park at night and enjoy a beautiful view.
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.
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.
Chelsea Bay Beach Area is very near Chelsea Sugar.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
I paused to enjoy the big kauri, and shoot a vertical panorama, before exiting onto Rangatira Road and walking home.
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.
Tamaki Drive Walk is a city walk, but it’s a beautiful one, and there is always a great view – this walk is one long, continuous, uninterrupted view. A paved walkway follows the coast of Waitemata Harbor and Tamaki Strait with views of Devonport and Rangitoto, Motutapu, Browns and Motuihe islands.
This walk looks great in panoramas. I haven’t included all of my Tamaki Drive panoramas in this post, but be sure to check them out in the full gallery of 32 pictures below To view on imgur click here.
I started this walk on my way to Orakei Basin, leaving Tamaki Drive at the point of the panorama above, and the photo below. Today I would continue along Tamaki Drive.
I had ridden a bicycle along Tamaki Drive from the ferry building to Mission Bay many times when I lived in Auckland about ten years ago, but I had never walked it. I planned to revisit the Point to Point Walk and try to make it from St Heliers to Point England along the foreshore at low tide, but this day was not the day for that adventure. I decided to spend this day walking from the Auckland Ferry building to St Helliers, and to continue from there to Point England at a later date.
Just past Orakei Marina is Okahu Bay and it’s beach, the first chance to get off the sidewalk and walk on a beach. I took it. I’m not sure I had ever walked on this beach before in spite of cycling past many times.
Just past Kelly Tarlton’s and the Okahu Functions and Events building is a long pier that offers a nice walk and great views of Orakei Marina and the whole area.
It had probably been a decade since I enjoyed a walk on this pier.
You pass this impressive old lighthouse on the ferry to Rangitoto Island. Below is the view from Tamaki Drive.
And here is a better view from the ferry, shot at a later date. Kohimarama is visible in the background, St Heliers is to the left of frame.
The Tamaki Yacht Club inhabits the next point.
Next stop, Mission Bay! But first a couple of wildlife encounters. It isn’t remarkable to see either of these birds along the coast, but I wasn’t expecting it.
Mission Bay has a great beach, and Tamaki Drive at this point is lined with some good pubs and restaurants, some with nice harbor views.
Tamaki Drive moves away from the coast to accommodate a nice green space. At the center is the Mission Bay Fountain.
As always on the east coast, Rangitoto!
A short walk from Mission Bay brings you to Kohimarama Beach.
Just around the next point is St Heliers Beach.
At the opposite end of St Heliers Beach you can see Achilles Point, the start of my day on the Point to Point Walkway. In my next post I’ll take you from Achilles Point to Point England and beyond, this time right on the shore at low tide!
You can view the full gallery of 32 pictures below To view on imgur click here.
You can view the full gallery of 21 pictures below. To view on imgur, click here.
Orakei Basin is one of the volcanoes in the Auckland Volcanic Field. It has an explosion crater around 700 m wide, with a surrounding tuff ring. After eruption about 85,000 yrs ago, it became a freshwater lake that had an overflow stream in the vicinity of present Orakei Rd bridge. As sea level rose after the end of the Last Ice Age, the lake, which by then had shallowed to a swamp, was breached by the sea and has been a tidal lagoon ever since. A tidal lagoon, it is popular for watersports. A railway line (the North Island Main Trunk, branded as the Eastern Line for suburban services) runs through the north side of the basin.
Parking in the city can be not so fun, so I took the ferry in from the North Shore. There is a train station very near Orakei Basin, but it was a beautiful day, so I decided to walk there along Tamaki Drive. The Tamaki Drive Walk is a great coastal walk; I’ve done it many times on a bike.
This is downtown Auckland. I was immediately reminded of the advantages of weekday walks in remote regional parks far from the city center where you encounter no people. But Tamaki Drive does offer some pretty great scenery.
After leaving Tamaki Drive the road climbs enough to offer views of Auckland over Hobson Bay. There is no crosswalk near the intersection with Ngapipi Road, so you get to play Frogger to get across.
I got onto the walkway from Orakei Road, and chose to walk in a clockwise direction, starting by crossing the boardwalk along the north side of the basin next to the railway line.
A bench at the east end of the boardwalk, looking back over the basin toward the city center, was a nice spot for a break.
Continuing clockwise there’s a cool curvy bridge over an arm of the basin.
A group of cormorants (shags) complimented the scenery at the northern end of the bridge.
After crossing the bridge and getting back to the shore, the path follows the shore through the Orakei Basin West Reserve, which also lines the whole southern edge of the basin.
The sun was setting in the west, as it does, and shining some its best light on the eastern edge of the basin. The rest of the walk is green like this, with views over the basin the whole way.
I skipped the walk back, and caught the train to central Auckland from Orakei Station. Britomart station is right across the street from the ferry terminal.
I’ve never met anyone has gotten tired of ferry trips on Waitamata Harbor, even if they do it daily as a commute.
You can view the full gallery of 21 pictures below. To view on imgur, click here.
Steppin' the miles, enjoying the view, bringing it all to you.