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Waiheke Island

(in the spirit of the Gulf News)

Come over to Waiheke Island
The home of asparagus fern
And privet and ivy and pampas
And smilax wherever you turn

Tobacco weed fills half the valleys
And there's hills of kikuyu and gorse
And people with strange smiley faces
And appetites big as a horse.

And speaking of which, there is one weed
That's common but quite hard to spot
Though walking your way round the island
You may find the occasional plot.

There's millions of taxpayer dollars
Being spent to get rid of this weed
If they spent just a tenth on the others
This place might be Heaven indeed.


Waiheke, for a small location is well endowed with walking tracks. It is also where Miranda's parents and her sister Linda live. We decided to combine a visit to the family with a bit of walking so as not to get too far out of practice, and set aside a four day break. With Miranda in charge of the weather we got fine sunny days with just enough high cloud to make walking comfortable.

Linda had a caravan parked at Awaawaroa Ecovillage. Our walk took us from Ostend to OBriens Rd, just past Te Whau Drive, and then by walking track to the Cascades, and from there, still by walking track to Awaawaroa Ecovillage, and the next day from there by road to Onetangi.

We set off about 9.30, shuffling our packs around to get them comfortable and wrinkling our noses at the exhaust fumes which smothered this bit of road as half of Waiheke decended on the Ostend market for their Saturday socialising.

The early morning fog was mostly gone but had left a milky sheen across Anzac Bay. Perfect walking weather.

We carried on, turning right into O'Brien Rd where the traffic thankfully lessened considerably, noting along the way considerable numbers of loquats growing wild in the hedgerows, all in spicy smelling flower.

Possibly another walk late October, early November would be fruitful?

We pass a small inlet where a houseboat shelters,

and take five while we confirm our route. Muscles are still getting used to this after a couple of months off walking while we have been redecorating at home.

We continue up the hill for about half an hour to the intersection with Te Whau Drive. Despite the sign there is a well used walking track along the right fenceline below the road.

About a hundred metres or so past Te Whau Drive, on the left, a signposted walking track zigzags steeply up the hill, marked by a series of poles. The surroundings are mainly tall manuka and kanuka, with a thin undergrowth that competes relatively poorly with fairly rampant asparagus fern and smilax.

We are never far from civilisation along this section of the track

and every now and again the scrub and bush opens up to views over the island and the city.

At the top, skirting a private house boundary and driveway, the track veers around to the right, along an old vehicle track,

which is more my style

and a few hundred metres further on is a shady and grassy spot with a bench where you can catch your breath, boil up, and...

listen to the liquid song of a pair of tui above us.

Just under a couple of hours to get here from Ostend without pushing it.






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Track Reports

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Fitness Building for the Elderly and Stout

Food for Tramping

General Advice:
Specifically oriented to the Heaphy Track but relevant to other long walks for beginners and older walkers

New Zealand Plants
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