Wednesday 26 April 2023

Camping at Ambury Park

Martin and I are just back from a long weekend camping at Ambury Park.  It's the only Auckland Council campground that's comfortably within my biking range, so no public transport was involved.  There was something magic about getting on our bikes outside our house, and riding off to a different world :-)

Me heading off.  We started on the road but joined the cycleway at Bollard Ave and took that all the way to Māngere Bridge :-)

Us at the highest point of our journey (at Hillsborough) - photo courtesy of some road construction workers :-)

Martin at a rest stop in Onehunga - there are a bunch of very pretty artificial beaches along here.

The Māngere pedestrian/cycling bridge.  It's so pretty, painted in suitably marine shades of pink/blue/green/grey.  On the way back it was quite windy, and the palings made a lovely singing noise :-)  It also looks well-used (despite the empty photo!), especially by people fishing on the Māngere side.

Me on the bridge with all our stuff :-)

We stopped for lunch on the Māngere foreshore.  The spot was largely chosen for its reasonable shelter - it was very windy!

After we set up camp we went back to Māngere Bridge township for groceries.  Martin stopped outside the library to use their wifi, and I was delighted by this sign :-)

Our setup.  Our tent has lost its waterproofing tape, hence the tarp.  Hopefully some waterproofing tape will arrive in the post in the next week or two.  But the tent was comfortably weatherproof like this :-)

We were very glad of the wind-shelter for our cooker!

Ambury Park clearly sees far more visitors than most places we go to - one consequence of that was the ample signage.  I particularly enjoyed the tone of this one :-)

And that was a sign I wasn't expecting!

We rested a lot of the time (often listening to an audiobook together - the final in the Wheel of Time saga), but we did do a few excursions.

From our first excursion, which took us to the foreshore - such a beautiful and peaceful spot.

Drying our bike gloves and caps on a handy fence :-)

On Sunday we biked 20 minutes to Māngere Mountain - which came to us highly recommended as a good walking spot.  It did not disappoint!  It has several peaks (rather than the usual single peak) and lots of great places to scramble around.

Looking back towards Mt. Wellington where I grew up.

Looking down on the Māngere footbridge

Our campsite is back around to the left of this picture

Martin spotted these lizards sunning themselves as we walked down.

A lovely (and well-patronised) Māori-themed playground

more of the playground

Looking back at the mountain from the campsite

On the last night I got cold and couldn't sleep.  As Martin was heating water for a hot water bottle, this cat came over for a cuddle!  Presumably from a neighbouring house?  Not really what you want to see in an area renowned for bird-watching, though!

Me resting under the tarp while Martin packed everything up on the final morning.  Note the chicken at the left - there were loud and well-fed chickens roaming the campsite pretty much all the time!

Ready to go!

Our lunchtime view (from the edge of Monte Cecilia Park)

Life's been pretty full-on recently, and it was so good to get away.  The weather was pretty wet the first couple of days (and pretty windy the rest of the time) but that didn't stop us from resting deeply - we've both come back refreshed.  And I was stoked to bike the whole way both ways :-)  It took 1h33 to get there, and 1h25 to get back (not including the time spent at rest stops).  Getting back was supposed to be harder, but the wind helped us a lot at the beginning!  To get home we went up Onehunga Mall, along Trafalgar St to Herd Rd then across the motorway on Hillsborough Rd to rejoin the cycle path.

Also, biking around the Māngere Bridge area was an unexpected delight.  Every time we wanted to turn across a stream of traffic (or anything like that), pretty much the very first car would stop and blink its lights at us to let us through :-)  A friend who works in South Auckland has commented on how courteous everyone there is to one another (in a way that's unheard of in the rest of Auckland) and that was certainly the case for us on this trip.

In the end we only camped for 3 nights (not the 4 we'd hoped, due to a block booking at the campsite for Monday), but we did a pretty good job of staying 'on holiday' at home on Tuesday as well, and I didn't reconnect to the internet until this morning.  All in all a really good holiday - and biking the whole made it our lowest-carbon holiday yet, at only 26kg CO2e :-)*  We'll definitely be back!

 *For comparison, 20kg CO2e is about what the planet can absorb for 2 people over three days - not bad for a pretty special 3 days!!

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