Anawhata

Day 222, Saturday 31 March 2018

I went to Anawhata beach today. It lies between Piha and Bethells beaches on Auckland’s west coast. A ten kilometre gravel road goes off Piha road, ending in a carpark high above the beach. A steep poorly-maintained track goes down from the road a little beyond the carpark to the beach.

Because there’s no direct road access, Anawhata is the most remote west coast Auckland beach. I saw a few people in the distance, but felt I had the beach to myself.

Distance travelled: 78 km. Total distance so far: 29,229 km

Tawhitokino beach

Day 221, Friday 30 March 2018

Today I rode to Waiti Bay, east of Kawakawa Bay, and then walked further around the coast to Tawhitokino beach. At Kawakawa Bay, the road from Auckland takes a sharp right turn to go to Orore Point and Kaiaua. If instead you go straight on, on Kawakawa Bay Coast Road, you ride along a narrow twisty country road which ends up at a nice little beach called Waiti Bay. The road ends here, with a small carpark.

At low tide, you can scramble across the rocks at the south end of Waiti Bay, and after a few minutes you find yourself at Tuturau Bay, which is a sandy beach at bit larger than Waiti. A track then goes steeply up over the headland and down to Tawhitokino Beach, which is about a kilometre and a half long, white sand, with pohutukawa trees providing shade, and mostly deserted. This might be one of the world’s best beaches! There’s a campground here but there are no facilities other than toilets.

It is possible to go further around the rocks to reach Taiwawe Beach. I didn’t go that far but it is apparently a very nice beach. A few more small beaches later, you can get to Orore Point. I intend to investigate these beaches at a later time, starting at Orore.

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Distance travelled: 122 km. Total distance so far: 29,151 km

Riding in the dark

Day 220, Thursday 29 March 2018

I had a very busy day today, so I went for my daily ride before breakfast. Auckland is still dark at 6:30 am at this time of year, but rush hour was well underway.

I don’t often ride at night. My usual helmet has a tinted visor and that’s far too dark to be suitable for night riding. I wore a spare helmet with a clear visor this morning. My sports-tourer has an adequate but not brilliant headlight, so I rode my adventure bike, which has good lights. Being aware that my fluorescent jacket might not be as visible as usual, I took extra care to make sure other vehicles were aware of my presence or that I could avoid them if they moved into my lane.

This would have been more fun – but also more dangerous – if I’d been riding at night on a country road, but with limited time, I was only on city streets.

Distance travelled: 16 km. Total distance so far: 29,029 km

Scotts Landing

Day 219, Wednesday 28 March 2018

I rode to Scotts Landing in Mahurangi Regional Park with North Harbour Ulysses today. As the tide was out, some of us walked around Casnell Island. Unlike last time we came here, no one rode across the causeway to the island. I was on my sports-tourer, not my adventure bike, and those on adventure bikes were not being adventurous on this occasion.

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Distance travelled: 195 km. Total distance so far: 29,013 km

Te Aroha

Day 218, Tuesday 27 March 2018

I led a group of Auckland Ulyssians to Te Aroha today. Te Aroha is a town of about 4000 people on the western side of the Kaimai range. It has always seemed a pleasant little town, with an active artistic community and at least two very good cafes. Ironique Cafe has recycled timber and arty metalwork from recycled materials, and Domain Cottage has a spacious outdoor area with a view over the town.

A highlight of the ride was this Royal Enfield 350, which has suitcases used as panniers and topbox. This innovative approach to luggage added to its charm.

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Distance travelled: 322 km. Total distance so far: 28,818 km

Onehunga

Day 217, Monday 26 March 2018

I met a friend in Onehunga for coffee this morning. I commented that the main street of Onehunga had not changed substantially for many years, despite being quite close to the central city and with house prices having increased so much. He told me that substantial redevelopment of the area was planned to start soon.

One of the businesses in Onehunga which I greatly value is the Hard to Find Bookshop, a second-hand bookshop which rambles over many levels in a dilapidated building. I found a book there today I’ve been looking for. I fear this bookshop will have no place in a transformed suburb.

Distance travelled: 18 km. Total distance so far: 28,496 km

Stanley Point

Day 216, Sunday 25 March 2018

I went to Stanley Point, a suburb of Auckland just west of Devonport. Riding along the main road, it looks like any other suburb, because the sea is hidden by the houses. Near the end of the road is Stanley Bay, a small beach with a great view over the central city. Right at the end of the road are two pocket-sized parks. Cyril Bassett VC Lookout has the same view of the central city. Blair Park looks the other way, to the north, with the Bayswater Marina visible.

I wouldn’t want to live here because all the traffic between Takapuna and Devonport has to come along one road, and that gets very congested. I was in stop-and-go traffic from the time I got off the motorway to Bayswater. I think in a car this fairly short distance might take an hour. Going back was only a little bit better.

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Distance travelled: 43 km. Total distance so far: 28,478 km

Gills Reserve

Day 215, Saturday 24 March 2018

Today I continued my exploration of Lucas Creek, which I started last week at Kell Park. I started on the other side of the Albany Expressway, where the environs of the creek are called Gills Reserve. The creek is only navigable for a short distance north of the expressway, due to a small waterfall and some cascades. There was a water-driven flax mill just downstream of the waterfall from the 1860s to the early 20th century. Just above the waterfall is a ford. A bridge was build across the creek, but floods washed it away. A higher bridge was built. I’m not quite sure if these bridges were built in the same place as the ford; there’s no sign of a bridge there now.

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Distance travelled: 59 km. Total distance so far: 28,435 km

Puhinui Reserve

Day 214, Friday 23 March 2018

Puhinui Reserve is a large farm park on a peninsula of the same name on the northern side of Manukau Harbour. The peninsula is part of a volcanic field and contained at least three craters from volcanic explosions, but these have been quarried away. There are views of Matukutura, a remaining volcanic cone just outside the reserve, and views over the harbour. A lookout tower appears to be for public use, but the lower flight of steps is missing.

Distance travelled: 44 km. Total distance so far: 28,376 km

Dingle Dell

Day 213, Thursday 22 March 2018

Dingle Dell is a medium sized park near St Heliers. There’s a large irregularly-shaped grassy area with some semi-hidden areas, and several bush walks.

I’ve been to Dingle Dell a number of times. I ran on the Round the Bays Run a few times with people from Landcare Research, and they had a post-run picnic at the dell. Landcare also held a 24-hour BioBlitz here to explore the biological diversity of the area.

When I visited today, several of the bush walks were closed due to construction, and there was a truck in the middle of the lawn with a generator running, which drowned out the usual birdsong and rather spoiled the ambiance. No doubt the construction will be complete soon and the dell will return to tranquillity.

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Distance travelled: 28 km. Total distance so far: 28,332 km