Point Eng­land Walk­way

Walking New Zealand - - Auckland Walk -

While liv­ing in Eng­land, I learned to ram­ble. The English can talk in­ces­santly about the weather, but this is not the ram­bling I mean. To ram­ble: to find paths, an­cient and mod­ern; to suc­cumb to the pri­mal urge to ex­plore, to dis­cover new hori­zons of cul­ture, his­tory and ge­og­ra­phy; to spend a day with noth­ing more than a map, some­times a com­pass, a bird iden­ti­fi­ca­tion book, good walk­ing shoes, and cu­rios­ity.

Tired of Covid19 lock­down in Auck­land for all of April, 2020, it was now time to ram­ble.

But why not a Ram­ble? Big R. Like in Eng­land. I’ll im­pro­vise. I could join up the parks, green belts, coastal strips, look­outs, rugby fields, and chil­dren’s play­grounds.

I choose AN­ZAC day, a Satur­day, invit­ing a com­pli­ant and en­thu­si­as­tic mem­ber of my bub­ble, Bonnie, to join me.

Bonnie drives her shoul­der into a fresh pile of horse poo as soon as we are through the first kiss­ing gate of Mead­ow­bank Pony Club, at the be­gin­ning of the Point Eng­land Walk­way. “She’ll wash off in the tide” I con­sole my­self.

The horses stamp in protest at her pres­ence, and I put her back on her leash. The ris­ing sun, glo­ri­ous in its AN­ZAC mem­o­ries in­vites us down the hill. A dis­tant bu­gler’s Last Post drifts across Glen Innes below.

We drop down Api­rana Re­serve, into Eastview, then Tani­wha, and along Tom Court Me­mo­rial Walk­way in May­bury Re­serve, a grand av­enue of firey gold and or­ange trees salut­ing us. We are then con­fronted with a con­struc­tion site: the coun­cil is work­ing on drainage and stream re­ju­ve­na­tion. “Find a path” I com­mand Bonnie, who jumps into the creek. Im­pro­vis­ing, we push around through tall wet grass, emerg­ing on El­stree Ave, just short of the Glen Innes swim­ming pool.

Its va­cant carpark is a me­mo­rial to days of hu­man con­tact and hur­ried fit­ness. We dis­cover a lake be­hind, team­ing with birdlife: mal­lard ducks just sit­ting, ju­ve­nile gulls learn­ing to fly, king­fisher slyly sur­vey­ing the scene and two herons stand­ing guard on a log. In­dig­nant plovers screech in protest at Bonnie, while a squadron of pukekos lifts awk­wardly into the air, their legs trail­ing be­hind them. We now have a choice: take the

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