Sunday, April 22, 2007

St Heliers to Roberta Reserve and return - 22nd Apr. 2007

Today we did the first and second legs of the Point to Point walk, having completed the third part many moons ago.

We started out on Cliff Rd in St Heliers, and walked up the road, with great views of Rangitoto, the Waitemata Harbour and back to the city.

We took the walkway down to Ladies Bay and walked along the coast to Karaka Bay. This took quite a while, and originally we had intended just to walk back up the Ladies Bay walkway

and continue along the track in the handy leaflet from Auckland City Council. But we just seemed to keep walking. Once we were out of Ladies Bay itself it was very noticeable that there weren't any other women, although there were a fair few naked men. Oh I tell a lie, there was one woman. She was posing for top-less soft porn shots. I guess that's what happens in a nudist area. I didn't mind the nudity, but I didn't much like the stares from all the men.

There was this weird thing in the water, all encrusted with shellfish, and fantastic views of Browns Island. I love the shape of Motukorea, it looks as if it were lovingly sculpted by hand. Nickname Pending pointed out that it is quite reminiscent of Mangere Mountain. Perhaps all denuded volcanoes look a bit similar?

Anyway, Karaka Bay was great - quite a surprise. There was no road access and although the houses were obviously valuable it looked like a hippy-ish kind of place. The Treaty of Waitangi was apparently signed there on 4th March 1840 and there is a little rest place with a plaque commemorating it.

At Karaka Bay we followed a path up to the road and then followed the streets around to Anderson Bay, where we took a track that wound behind the houses and right on the cliff edge, looking across the Tamaki to Musick Point and Bucklands Beach.

Then we were back on the road again, skirting Roberta Reserve (Tahuna Torea starts on the other side of it) where we stopped for a snack, before heading up through Glendowie Park. It's a strange place, the ground is very undulating, so it seems kind of useless for playing much. My theory is it used to be landfill and needs to subside more before it can be flattened off, but I really have no idea.

After Glendowie Park we went up and down a few more roads to get to the southern entrance to Churchill Park, which is quite extensive. We opted for the Lower Track, which followed a stream, rather than the Upper Track through farmland. There were a few Billy Goat Gruff bridges and a fair bit of bush, but the real highlight was peeping through the trees to the beautiful gardens created by those who owned the properties on the other side of the stream. They obviously worked together to create something out of a fairy story around the stream, and this photo doesn't do it justice at all.

We got a little bit lost at the end of Churchill Park but eventually found Glover Park, which is basically the crater of Whakamuhu with playing grounds in the middle. We walked up Waitara Rd and along the edge of the crater, looking back across the park to yet another water tower on the hills above St Heliers.
Then we took some more streets, heading west, until we ended up back on Cliff Rd again.

This walk took us 2 hours 20 minutes, with two snack stops and a lot of photo-induced slow going. The tracks were variable - at some points the road had no footpath, and I don't think you could realistically do this walk on wheels. The leaflet from Auckland City Council was kind of helpful. On the one hand I wouldn't have known about all these places without it, but on the other the scale was changeable and some of the streets you needed to go down weren't named on the map, created confusion. I'd suggest that ACC look at putting markers on the route, as there were none at all that were helpful, just the very rare Point England Walk map sign, which didn't really help at all, as it doesn't appear to be updated since they started calling it the Point to Point track and also lacked any labels on any roads or parks or indeed anything.

It was a very good walk though - a good mix of coast, cliff, interesting streets, park and bush, with a variety of inclines through-out. Great views all round, and some nice surprises too.

1 comment:

Belinda said...

Great info, thank you. Some of the older Glendowie locals say that Glendowie Park was indeed once a landfill - I think until the fifties.