New Zealand Walk: Waikowhai Coastal Walk

Walking New Zealand - - Contents - By Mike Giri

The in­au­gu­ral Waikowhai Coastal Epic Walk or­gan­ised by the Auck­land City Coun­cil was first held on Satur­day, 5th of April, 2014 and has been held each year since.

It was first of its kind and was widely cir­cu­lated well be­fore hand. I got the in­for­ma­tion through my friends and be­ing a walk­ing en­thu­si­ast, I de­cided to par­tic­i­pate.

The dis­tance was ap­prox­i­mately 11 km start­ing from One­hunga Bay Re­serve car park walk­ing along the coastal line of Manukau Har­bour and end­ing at Lyn­field Cove.

The es­ti­mated time was four to five hours with a lunch break at Waikowhai Re­serve Park.

Not only was the route map pro­vided but there were also guides and coun­cil mar­shals for guid­ance.

The par­tic­i­pants gath­ered near the car park, and at 10 am the brief­ing for the walk started. This cov­ered de­scrip­tion of routes, safety guid­ance, lunch break and end of the walk.

It was de­cided to make three groups, A, B and C, ac­cord­ing to pace of walk­ers.

Then the group started walk­ing from the bay along the guided path. The path then crossed State High­way 20 by a bridge, to Sea­cliff Road. Af­ter 15 min­utes, we reached Hills­bor­ough Bay through a nar­row con­nec­tion from Ban­field.

The fore­shore at Hills­bor­ough Bay is sub­merged dur­ing high tide pe­riod, ren­der­ing it in­ac­ces­si­ble for walk­ing.

We walked to the end of the fore­shore, where Bluff Ter­race started. Then we con­tin­ued on Fred­er­icks Street, for about 200m, and turned to a small park on left side.

We went on through a track which was close to Fer­not Street, but went up­hill through a bush in Goodall Street Re­serve where a lot of com­mon na­tive plants such as sil­ver fern, nikau, cab­bage tree, titoki, puriri, five fin­gers were seen.

This track fi­nally brought us to Goodall Street. About 30m up­hill along this street, we went through the gate into Hills­bor­ough Ceme­tery. Af­ter reach­ing the top of the hill, we were guided on a down­hill track to reach fore­shore of Granny’s Bay through Clifton Road.

Again, walk­ing along this fore­shore is pos­si­ble in low tide only. At one point we had to al­most crawl through a rocky edge be­low which was fairly deep blue wa­ter.

Af­ter a long walk we reached Wes­ley Bay, where we caught up with one track which went up­hill through zigzag path, and af­ter about five min­utes, we climbed through wooden stairs. This thick bush is a part of Waikowhai Re­serve with a lot of na­tive trees.

De­pend­ing on the sea­son and time of ob­ser­va­tion, com­mon birds like fan­tail, tui, and dove can be seen. I saw a few seag­ulls on the shore. This track ended in Waikowhai Park, where we took a break and grabbed our lunch.

Af­ter a rest of 10 min­utes at the park, we con­tin­ued on the track. In about 1012 min­utes, this up­hill track took us to Cape Horn Road. Af­ter about 30m up­hill there were wooden stairs to go down to Wat­tle Bay.

It was quite a steep de­scend for about 10 min­utes un­til we reached the small beach of Wat­tle Bay. Af­ter catch-

ing our breath and tak­ing some pho­tos we con­tin­ued on the track, which then, went straight up­hill through Wat­tle Re­serve, where a lot of com­mon na­tive trees in­clud­ing kauri and po­hutukawa, were seen.

We came up to Halsey Drive and walked passed Halsey Drive School and Manukau Do­main with beau­ti­ful views that con­tin­ued to Wat­tle Re­serve down to the shore­line.

Halsey Drive area is a well pop­u­lated, res­i­den­tial area with at­trac­tive houses many with palm trees around the prop­erty. We walked for about a km to reach Naigra Cres­cent. The view of Manukau Har­bour was stun­ning from the end of this road. At the end of this we picked up the walk­ing track again, which af­ter pass­ing through a res­i­den­tial area for about 15 min­utes, fi­nally de­scended to the fore­shore of Lyn­field Cove.

We walked up to Gil­leta Road Park, and rested for a few min­utes, and took pho­tos be­fore con­tin­u­ing to our parked car nearby.

The fore­shore, all along, was nicely main­tained and fairly clean, but dur­ing the high tide it would be un­der wa­ter mak­ing it dan­ger­ous to walk.

The coun­cil has, since then, com­pleted a raised wooden walk­way on Hills­bor­ough fore­shore. This looks wide and beau­ti­ful. This has short­ened the walk­ing track and it will avoid walk­ing through res­i­den­tial ar­eas as well. It starts from Or­pheus car park of Tau­manu Re­serve which is new ad­di­tion to fore­shore plan­ning and con­serv­ing green belt above it.

On the day of the walk, an over­whelm­ing num­ber of 140 par­tic­i­pants ap­peared, which was be­yond the or­gan­is­ers’ ex­pec­ta­tion. It is not easy to man­age such a large group on a walk­ing track, but it was suc­cess­fully done. The credit goes to the or­gan­is­ers. Look­ing at such en­thu­si­asm, the coun­cil should or­gan­ise such walks more fre­quently to in­tro­duce old and new walk­ing tracks within the coun­cil area.

I ap­pre­ci­ated the idea of car­ry­ing a plas­tic bag to col­lect rub­bish by each par­tic­i­pant where prac­ti­cal. I like to see it put into prac­tice on a reg­u­lar ba­sis ev­ery­where. It will keep our nat­u­ral en­vi­ron­ment clean, and the peo­ple, by and large, will love it. I am just look­ing for­ward to hav­ing more of such op­por­tu­ni­ties to par­tic­i­pate in the group walk. It is good for all who can walk. Pho­tos courtesy Auck­land City Coun­cil.

Above: A guide ex­plains the walk­ing route. Be­low mid­dle: A group photo at the end of the walk at Lyn­field Cove. Be­low: A scenic view of Manukau Har­bour from the trail.

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