Sunday 26 July 2015

Biking in Auckland

We’ve been away for the last two weeks. We first visited one of our daughters in Te Awamutu, then spent time with another daughter in Auckland and helped to mind our grandchildren – aged three and five-and-a-half – during the second week of the school holidays.

On one of the days we were able to go out for a bike ride – sans grandchildren – and enjoyed visiting new places.

We started the day with breakfast in the café in Cornwall Park, near where we were staying. The park is a great place for walking and biking and family fun. On the day we arrived in Auckland, we all went for a bike ride there – grandson on his own little bike, granddaughter on a child seat with Dad, and Mum, Oma and Opa on their own bikes. It was great!

Cornwall Park is a great place to walk or cycle (photo by John)

Today, fortified with brekkie and excellent coffee, we drove to Kentigern Close in Pakuranga, from where we cycled the Pakuranga Rotary Pathway. Nine kilometres of fully paved path, along the waterfront, with views on the Tamaki River estuary and mudflats on one side, and fabulous, gobsmackingly enormous houses with wonderful gardens on the other. Very pleasant riding.

Views on the Tamaki River estuary … (photo by John)

… gorgeous houses … (photo by John)

… and lush gardens

At the end of the pathway, we made our way through quiet suburban streets to the Half Moon Bay ferry, where we took a trip across the harbour into downtown Auckland.

Dinghy storage near the Half Moon Bay ferry wharf (photo by John)

Two Waiheke ferries at Half Moon Bay

Bikes on the ferry (photo by John)

Wake and clouds

From the Downtown Ferry Terminal, we first rode towards the Wynyard Quarter. We had a wonderful afternoon walking around there last Christmas, so we knew it wasn’t very far. On our bikes, we covered the distance quite quickly, of course. We looked at the flash luxury launches tied up at the wharf – some private cruisers, others available for hire to entertain your dozens of friends (or clients) for an afternoon or evening of jollifications on the water. So "Auckland" ...

This is called the Silo Park (photo by John)

I was intrigued by the shrink-wrapped yacht, in the process of being refurbished

Having got to the end of the Wynyard Quarter, we turned around and biked in the direction of Mission Bay, along a smooth shared pedestrian and cycle path

The foot/cycle path along Tamaki Drive, near Hobson Bay (photo by John)

Looking back at the city from Okahu Bay

Time for a chocolate stop at Mission Bay, with a view towards volcanic Rangitoto Island
(photo by John) 

Although on the map, the “official” waterfront ride seems to finish at Mission Bay, we kept going beyond there, through Kohimarama, and as far as St Heliers Bay. It is a beautiful ride with great views, although occasionally you have to watch out for low-hanging pohutukawa branches and tree roots trying to break though the sealed surface. At St Heliers we talked to another cyclist to find out whether it was feasible to go around the next point. John reckoned that if we kept following the coastline long enough, we would end up back where we had started, at Pakuranga. But there was no coastal track, and carrying on would have involved a hefty hill climb. So we turned around and went back to the downtown ferry terminal.

Another view on Rangitoto from Mission Bay (photo by John)

The Auckland transport and ferry system is more generous towards Gold Card holders than Wellington's, as there was no time restriction on when we could travel for free. We returned on the ferry at 3:30 pm – in Wellington that would have been outside the “freebie” non-peak-hour time.

Pulling away from the Ferry Terminal

The Auckland skyline

When the ferry was pulling into Half Moon Bay, we saw that there was a boardwalk track heading towards the left from the ferry terminal, so we just had to check that out. It took us to Bucklands Beach, which is a narrow peninsula with a golf club at the end.

The boardwalk between Half Moon Bay and Bucklands Beach (photo by John)

By the time we had biked back to the Pakuranga end of the Rotary Pathway, the sun was about to set. It had been quite a long day, but we had explored some nice areas of Auckand, that we had never been to before. We rode 50 km all up.

View from Half Moon Bay

The last of the sun over the Tamaki River estuary (photo by John)

The downside was that at this time, well after 5 pm, the infamous Auckland traffic mayhem was in full swing, and it took us a lo-o-ong time to get back to our accommodation. But at least, thanks to “Siri” on my iPhone, we didn’t get lost.

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