Milford beach

Day 126, Monday 25 December 2017.

I enjoyed the almost empty suburban roads and the quiet motorway today, but as I approached Milford beach I could see that every available parking spot had been taken. Fortunately, motorcycles can park in places that cars can’t, such as the little triangular areas at the end of angled parking spots.

It was high tide, and I’ve never seen the beach so busy. Lots of swimmers, sunbathers, family groups having a picnic, and kids playing in the sand. On the reserve, the shaded areas were packed with tents as families enjoyed their Christmas day by the sea.

That’s my last ride for the year, as I’m on holiday out of Auckland until New Year.

Distance travelled: 35 km. Total distance so far: 17,398 km

Kaipara South Head

Day 125, Sunday 24 December 2017.

I rode to the South Head of the Kaipara Harbour today. I last visited here in September with a Ulysses ride, but today I was on my own. I found nice views over the harbour from Te Rau Puriri Regional Park. This is a mostly undeveloped park which apparently has one of the best beaches in the area. I need to come back with walking shoes and explore this park!

Distance travelled: 175 km. Total distance so far: 17,363 km

Birkenhead sinkhole

Day 124, Saturday 23 December 2017.

Since October I’ve seen a number of news stories about a large sinkhole eating away a carpark in Birkenhead. I even know someone who works just across the carpark from the hole. Today I went to take a look at it. I wasn’t able to get very close to it as there are barriers for public safety, but it’s certainly an impressive size. The ground has been known to be unstable for years.


Distance travelled: 30 km. Total distance so far: 17,188 km

Meola Reef

Day 123, Friday 22 December 2017.

Meola Reef is a lava flow extending from the Auckland isthmus out into the Waitematā Harbour. It was formed when Mount St John erupted about 28,000 years ago, but until recently it was thought to have been formed by the eruption of Three Kings at about the same time, because the lava flow was covered by the subsequent eruption of Mt Eden.

Although it was a rubbish tip for a long time, it has been cleaned up and turned into a park, mainly used by dog owners. In the section which allows dogs off leash, I saw many dogs of diverse sizes running happily around together. I’m not a dog person, but dogs need to have fun as well as exercise, so this was a pleasant sight. In the areas where dogs are supposed to be on a leash, I saw a few dogs running free, but they were under control by their owners.

Today was hot, but breezes coming off the harbour made my wander around this area comfortable.

Traffic is building today as people finish work early and head out of Auckland for their Christmas/New Year holiday. I’m glad not to be going long distance today.

Distance travelled: 13 km. Total distance so far: 17,158 km

Birds Beach

Day 121, Wednesday 20 December 2017.

As I expected, our North Harbour Ulysses ride today went to Port Albert, as did the ride on Day 2 of this blog. On 23 August, after our lunch, we split into two groups with the main group going to Atiu Creek Regional Park, and three going over gravel roads to Birds Beach. I was in the main group. Today we also split similarly, but I was one of four riders going through Tapora to Birds Beach. It’s the first time I’ve been there with the tide fully in, and it’s a most attractive spot that few people know about.

Distance travelled: 278 km. Total distance so far: 17,127 km


Day 120, Tuesday 19 December 2017.

Today’s ride was a repeat of the ride we made south of Waiuku on 24 August. That was, coincidentally, the first ride in this blog. I hadn’t planned it this way, but it looks like tomorrow’s ride is going to be to the same destination as the second ride. Both of these rides were suggested by people who don’t read my blog!


Distance travelled: 180 km. Total distance so far: 16,849 km

Stokes Point reserve

Day 119, Monday 18 December 2017.

I rode to Stokes Point reserve in Northcote today, which is right under the northern side of the harbour bridge. I was hoping to get a nice photo looking across the harbour to the central city, but the path to the lookout is closed for landscaping and upgrade work until February next year.

I thought it was interesting seeing the foundations of the bridge, and I enjoyed the poetry on the pillars holding up the northbound clip-on. I’ll definitely come back sometime after February to see the lookout.

Distance travelled: 24 km. Total distance so far: 16,669 km

Manukau coastal cruise

Day 118, Sunday 17 December 2017.

I joined a North Harbour Ulysses ride today which visited a number of sights on the northern side of the Manukau Harbour. The first stop was at Mt Atkinson, a lookout I have not previously visited. The access road is steep with sharp corners, and the bike in front of me had trouble navigating it. The view over Titirangi and the Manukau Harbour is worth the trouble.

Our second stop was at Cornwallis Wharf, from which we could look back at the red glory of pōhutukawa trees in flower.

The final stop was at Huia, where we parked in the shade and had a picnic lunch.

Distance travelled: 130 km. Total distance so far: 16,645 km

St Heliers

Day 117, Saturday 16 December 2017.

St Heliers is a suburb and beach a little further along Tamaki Drive than Mission Bay. The beach is similar with white sand, safe swimming and a view of Rangitoto Island. Like Mission Bay, which I visited about five weeks ago, there’s a pavement separating the beach from a grassy domain with pōhutukawa trees. However, the domain is much narrower here; it’s suitable for lying in the shade but not for playing games. There’s a large playing field across the road instead.

Like Mission Bay, St Heliers has a row of cafes and bars across the road, but it also has a reasonably comprehensive shopping centre extending for a block inland. I like this greater range of shops, and the prices at the cafes is much more reasonable as soon as you go even a few metres away from the sea views. Best of all, St Heliers is much less crowded than Mission Bay.

Distance travelled: 31 km. Total distance so far: 16,515 km