A ram­ble on An­zac Day

Walking New Zealand - - Auckland Walk -

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

times up the same route, past the waka ama jetty, wav­ing to in­tense row­ing crews from lo­cal col­leges. “You have to touch the mo­tor­way bridge with your pad­dle” I tell my kayak­ing part­ners: “for the jour­ney to count”.

Once a pod of dol­phins emerged and then they were gone. I sur­vey this sparkling body of wa­ter: it is eerily quiet. No move­ment. Boats sit life­less in the still morn­ing air, tied up in the chan­nel over at Half Moon Bay.

The sand­spit of Tahuna Torea draws me, a band of white sand, lay­ered over with dark green po­hutukawa sep­a­rat­ing ocean and sky. Team­ing with birdlife, dogs aren’t al­lowed, so I turn up the hill amongst the houses. I walk now by in­tu­ition, search­ing for a gap-in-the-fence back down to the coastal track.

I find a path off Vista Cres­cent, but No Dogs Al­lowed. “Your regis­tra­tion fees pay for those signs”, I in­form Bonnie. We cir­cle down to Roberta Re­serve, to dis­cover it is an “off leash” area. “I take it back”, I apol­o­gise, and Bonnie races for the wa­ter. I look long­ingly at the closed patis­serie on Roberta Av­enue: in bet­ter days this will be a good break­fast stop.

The tide is lap­ping the rock wall, and I ask a lo­cal if I could have come down the Vista Cres­cent walk­way to the coastal track. “Oh yes, and there’s a nice lit­tle beach there for the dog”, he replies. His white Labrador greets my black Labrador. We keep two me­tres apart.

Bonnie and I stick to the coast and head around past the Glen­dowie Boat Club: the road be­comes a path­way of con­crete slabs pushed up at awk­ward an­gles by old po­hutukawa roots. There are stairs down to se­cluded scraps of beach on my right.

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