Tuesday 28 March 2023

Two local adventures

The other week Martin and I walked another section of the Manukau Coastal Walkway (at this point also called the Waikowhai Walkway) - catching the bus past Blockhouse Bay to the top of Gilletta Rd, walking down to Lynfield Cove and then through bush and suburban streets to Wattle Bay before catching the bus home from Canberra Rd.  There were some stunning views!

Here's the route.  We came out the path that runs through the middle of Wattle Bay Reserve at the right.  This section is the beginning of the Waikowhai walkway.


Here you can clearly see a massive sandbank (the whitish section) moderately out into the Manukau Harbour.

If you zoom right in below, you might see a ute on the mudflats a fair ways out from the point in the middle of the photo.

According to the local Facebook page, it belongs to the local business where we buy our koko Samoa, and had been there more than a week :-(

We'd wondered how passable the path would be, after the storms 4-6 weeks earlier.  The initial section was fine, but we were a bit surprised to encounter a moderate slip right across the path.  All around Oakley Creek there are signs warning of slips and saying you can't enter, but we hadn't seen any of that here.

The people near the slip have part of their porch no longer attached to the ground - you can see a concrete piling free-hanging beneath it:

We did encounter one blocked-off bit, but fortunately we didn't want to go there anyway.

It's such a lovely area :-)

The path down to Wattle Bay went through a surprisingly large area of bush.

The end of the road (at least from this direction).  We'd expected to check out the beach, but it was blocked off.

And the path back up from Wattle Bay was surprisingly damaged.

One clearly recent slip did at least result in a fantastic view out to sea!


And this was the point at which we realised why such a damaged path was still open: it wasn't.  At the top there was a substantial fence right across the path.  We couldn't separate the sections to slip between them (and I really wasn't looking forward to walking all the way down and back up somewhere else to get out), but I realised you could squeeze past the end to escape :-) 

Martin taking a break and looking into public transport options at the carpark on the other side of the fence.

I now suspect the path to the beach itself wasn't shut off because you weren't supposed to go to the beach, but rather because you weren't supposed to get onto the path we were on - but the side path we entered from was completely open.  And, despite significant damage, on a fine day with good light we never felt remotely  unsafe on it.


And then today I had another adventure - a meandery exploratory local bike ride that eventually ended up at a park I had no idea existed: Avondale West Reserve.

It has power pylon in one corner - I forget how massive they are!

I rather liked the way the string of power pylons marched off to the distance: as kids, Keith and I always thought they looked like robots.

A lovely view over the Whau:

I wandered a bit further down, and found myself right at the shore - there's even a boat ramp there.

The beach was covered in broken up terracotta pipe - no idea why, but very striking.

Also striking was this truly massive bone - left from someone's dog perhaps?

I sat drinking my tea, sitting on the edge of the boat ramp watching the crabs go about their businesses.  There were zillions of tiny mud crabs, all of which skedaddled when I arrived, but I found if I kept my legs still I could drink my tea without affected my shadow, and gradually they ventured out - one claw at a time.  They're so small - maybe 2cm across? - and it was neat watching them emerge.

The landscape when I got up close to it looked so alien - it made me think of a moonscape, although of course there aren't weird little trees on the moon!

Looking across the water towards New Lynn.

Lots of new mangroves trying to spread further into the Whau:

I've been really sad that Oakley Creek is shut (because of slips) and I don't have an easy place to go for beautiful walks any more.  But this was an excellent alternative - just heading out on my bike and heading down all the side roads and dead ends and seeing what was there.  And I was delighted to discover this little corner of the Whau at the end :-)

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