Orewa

My parents were holidaying in Orewa for the week so yesterday I went up to see them. Orewa is a small coastal town on the Hibiscus Coast, just north of the Whangaparaoa Peninsula.  It is approximately 25 minutes drive north of Auckland city.

After having morning tea on the deck of the holiday home overlooking Orewa Beach we walked along the beach. The high tide was quickly approaching so some quick and careful footwork was needed to avoid getting wet feet.

Peppermint tea overlooking Orewa Beach

Peppermint tea overlooking Orewa Beach

Walking along Orewa Beach as the hide tide approaches

Walking along Orewa Beach as the hide tide approaches

Orewa Beach

Orewa Beach

From beach we crossed Hibiscus Coast Highway and picked up the track for Te Ara Tahuna Estuary Cycleway and Walkway next to the Western Reserve.

Te Ara Tahuna Estuary Cycleway and Walkway map

Te Ara Tahuna Estuary Cycleway and Walkway map. Click here to download map

This 7.5km shared path follows the estuary along past Orewa Western Reserve to Orewa West and then comes out on Arran Drive and follows Millwater Parkway past the new Millwater subdivision, Silverdale School, Kingsway School and loops back around to the Western Reserve via a pedestrian footpath on the Hibiscus Coast Highway road bridge.

The track takes approximately 1 hour 45 minutes to walk or 40 minutes cycle.

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Te Ara Tahuna Estuary Cycleway and Walkway

Te Ara Tahuna Estuary Cycleway and Walkway

After lunch we walked back along Orewa Beach following part of the Millennium Walkway to Old North Road. The Millennium Walkway is a 2 hour oval walk around the Orewa township – the blue footprints on the footpath mark this walk.

At Old North Road we walked up to Alice Eaves Scenic Reserve. This 16 hectare forest is named after Alice Caroline Eaves whose family bequeathed the land to become a public reserve in 1960.

It will take approximately 30 to 45 minutes to walk this scenic reserve.

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Alice Eaves Scenic Reserve

Alice Eaves Scenic Reserve

The Old Hollow Kauri tree, approximately 800 years old - has survived storms, lightning strike & the miller's axe.

The Old Hollow Kauri tree, approximately 800 years old – has survived storms, lightning strike & the miller’s axe.

After walking the Eaves Scenic Reserve we walked back along Orewa Beach to the holiday home.

With its sandy beach and being a perfect base to explore the rest of the Hibiscus Coast, Orewa is a great destination for a day trip or long weekend away.

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Bastion Point

On Sunday after walking the Port of Auckland’s Red Fence Heritage Walk from the Voyager Maritime Museum to the Ports of Auckland Building I continued around the waterfront towards Bastion Point and Mission Bay.

Starting where the Red Fence Heritage Walk finished

Starting where the Red Fence Heritage Walk finished

Walk, run or bike along the waterfront

Walk, run or bike along the waterfront

Ngapiri Road Boatsheds

Ngapiri Road Boatsheds

Bastion Point is a piece of land in Orakei, Auckland, which overlooks the Waitemata Harbour.

View over Waitemata Harbour

Views over Waitemata Harbour

Views over Waitemata Harbour

Bastion Point’s name in Māori is Takaparawhau. In 1886, the Crown took ownership of 13 acres of land at Bastion Point from Māori landowners for the purpose of defence. In 1941, when it was decided that Bastion Point was no longer needed for defence it was gifted to the Auckland City Council for use as a reserve rather than being returned to its traditional Māori owners.

In 1976, the Crown announced it planned to develop Bastion Point for housing. The Orakei Māori Action Committee organised a peaceful occupation of remaining Crown owned land. This occupation lasted for 507 days and ended on the 25th May 1978, when 800 New Zealand Police and Army personnel were used to forcibly remove the occupiers. 222 protestors were arrested.

Bastion Point is the site of the Michael Joseph Savage Memorial, a mausoleum and memorial gardens for the first Labour Prime Minister of New Zealand. The mausoleum is surrounded by a memorial reserve, which includes a sunken garden and a reflective pool marked off by colourful flowerbeds and hedges.

Construction began on the memorial in June 1941 and it was officially opened in March 1943.

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Michael Joseph Savage Memorial

Michael Joseph Savage Memorial

There is vehicle access from Hapimana Street off Tamaki Drive. The gates close at 8:30pm and open again at 6:30am. Bastion Point lookout is stop number 1 on the Red Circle route for the Auckland Hop On, Hop Off Explorer bus. There is also an uphill pedestrian path from Mission Bay (it is quite steep though.)

Red Fence Heritage Walk

On Sunday I set out to walk Port of Auckland’s Red Fence Heritage Walk. Click here to download a map of the walk.

RedFenceHeritageWalk

The walk starts outside the Voyager New Zealand Maritime Museum. Note the signpost is on the gate of the old entrance to the Museum. There are 15 stops along the 2.4 km walk and each stop is marked with a numbered information board with a historic photograph and text relating to that point.

The walk is signposted with information boards

The walk is signposted with information boards

The second stop outside the Maritime Museum is the War Memorial Beacon. This monument was originally erected in 1915 by the Auckland Harbour Board and listed the names of staff that served during the First World War.  Sometime during the late 1960s – early 70s the memorial was taken down. In 1999 parts of the memorial were found in Shed 51 on Bledisloe Wharf. An anonymous benefactor, ‘a grateful refugee from Nazi Germany’, offered to fund the restoration and the War Memorial Beacon was re-erected on its current site in 2000.

War Memorial Beacon

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War Memorial Beacon

The third stop is Princes Wharf, which was built between 1921 and 1924. The wharf is named after Edward, Prince of Wales who visited Auckland in 1920. Princes Wharf was originally a commercial wharf but now is the site of a cruise ship terminal, restaurants, apartments and office space, a car park building and the Hilton hotel. It is also the site of the Auckland Princes Wharf i-SITE Visitor Information Centre.

Princes Wharf

Princes Wharf

The cast iron lamp stands were erected in 1923, Princes Wharf.

The cast iron lamp stands were erected in 1923, Princes Wharf.

The Ferry Building is the fourth stop. It was built in Edwardian Baroque style between 1909 and 1912 and resorted in 1988.

View towards Ferry Building from Princes Wharf

View towards Ferry Building from Princes Wharf

Stops 5 through 7 relate to Queens Wharf. Queens Wharf (stop 6) was built between 1906 and 1913. The Queens Wharf Gates and Red Fence (stop 5) were erected between 1913 and 1923.

Queens Wharf Gates and Red Fence

Queens Wharf Gates and Red Fence

Shed 10 (stop 7) is the only remaining shed of the Queens Wharf Sheds. The two-storied cargo shed is 94.5 metres in length. During the Second World War it was used as a facility to process departing soldiers. Between 2012 and 2013 Shed 10 was refurbished and is now used as a cruise ship terminal and events centre.

Shed 10

Shed 10

Next to Shed 10 on the western edge of Queens Wharf is The Cloud. This 178.5 metre long structure was built as a fanzone site for the 2011 Rugby World Cup and has been used for various events since then.

The Cloud

The Cloud

Between Queens Wharf and Captain Cook Wharf is the Admiralty Steps (stop 8). This is where the tug boats now berth but the admiralty steps were used by royal visitors arriving on British naval ships.

Stop 9 is Captain Cook Wharf and Marsden Wharf. Captain Cook Wharf, built 1922, is named after Captain James Cook, who made the first recorded circumnavigation of New Zealand between 1769 and 1770. Marsden Wharf, built 1909-1911 is named after The Reverend Samuel Marsden who was an avid explorer of New Zealand.

Red Fence Heritage Walk

Red Fence Heritage Walk

Stop 10 is Britomart Point Rock or Te Kawau’s Rock. This marks the point where the British flag was raised in Auckland’s founding ceremony on September 18, 1840.

The Rainbow Warrior Memorial is stop 11. This mosaic memorial commemorates the bombing and sinking of Greenpeace’s anti-nuclear protest vessel the Rainbow Warrior by agents of the French Government at Marsden Wharf on July 10, 1985.

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Rainbow Warrior memorial

Rainbow Warrior memorial

Stop 12 is Bledisloe Wharf. The original wharf that was built between 1937 and 1948 was named after Charles Bathurst, 1st Viscount Bledisloe who was the fourth Governor-General of New Zealand. The wharf was upgraded in 1985 and is now a container terminal.

Jellicoe Wharf and Freyberg Wharf are stop 13. Jellicoe Wharf was built in 1952 and is named after Sir John Rushworth Jellicoe, Governor-General from 1920-1924. Freyberg Wharf is named after Bernard Freyberg, Governor-General from 1946 to 1952 and who was Commander in Chief of New Zealand forces during World War II.

Stop 14 is Fergusson Container Terminal. This container cargo terminal opened in 1971 and is named after the Fergusson family, who served as Governors of New Zealand from 1873 to 1967.

Container terminal

Container terminal

The final stop is the Ports of Auckland Building. This building was previously the engineering building for Tasman Empire Airways Limited’s (TEAL) flying boats.

You can finish the walk by checking out the 400-metre-long public walkway, which runs along the eastern edge of Fergusson container terminal. Access to walkway is from Solent Street next to the Heliport. This walkway provides amazing views of the harbour and container terminal operations.  Take time to watch the cranes wizz around and load containers onto trucks.

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Ports of Auckland Public Walkway

Ports of Auckland Public Walkway

MOTAT

Motat Nights, Christmas Lights, visit December 2013

‘Motat Nights, Christmas Lights’, visit December 2013

On Sunday I went to MOTAT (Museum of Transport and Technology) located in Western Springs. It is in close proximity to other attractions such as Auckland Zoo, Western Springs Lakeside Park, Western Springs Speedway and TAPAC Performing Arts Centre.

MOTAT is a 10 minute drive from downtown Auckland via the North Western Motorway or a two stage fare on the bus from the city. The Auckland Hop On, Hop Off Explorer bus also stops at MOTAT (blue circle bus route).

The museum is open 10am to 5pm, 7 days. Last entry is at 4:30pm. Adults are $16, Child/student $8, Family Pass $40.00. I used a voucher from the Auckland A-Z Guide, which gave me 25% off.

Tram approaching MOTAT, Great North Road, Western Springs

Tram approaching MOTAT, Great North Road, Western Springs

After purchasing my ticket I turned left and walked down what is called The Boulevard. At the end is display hall 2. At the back on the hall visitors can climb inside a mock up an EMU, the new electric trains, which started on the Onehunga line last week. There are also several vehicles and engines on display including a selection of British vehicles.

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Guests can explore a mock up of an EMU including driver's cab

Guests can explore a mock up of an EMU including driver’s cab

Next to the display hall is the Western Springs Pumphouse. The pumphouse opened in 1877 and for 33 years the beam engine and pump supplied Auckland with water. The beam engine has been carefully restored. As the pumphouse is on the land that became MOTAT it is the museum’s first display piece.

Western Springs Pump Station

Western Springs Pumping Station

’90° South – Sir Edmund Hillary and the NZ Antarctic Expedition 1956 – 8’ was my next stop. This exhibition details the Antarctic Expedition led by Sir Edmund Hillary. The centre piece for this exhibition is a modified Ferguson tractor, one of three used by the expedition party.

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Ferguson Tractor, one of three used during Sir Ed’s 1956 -8 Antarctic Expedition

Also in this building are displays on telecommunications, the fire station, which includes several fire engines, and a print shop. The Print Shop Workshop is open every Sunday from 10am to 4pm.

The Wainui Schoolhouse was built in 1878 out of native Kauri timber and was donated to MOTAT in 1969 and stands next to MOTAT’s historical village. Inside the schoolhouse visitors can learn not only about the rules that applied to students but the strict guidelines that teachers had to adhere to.

Wainui Schoolhouse, built 1878

Wainui Schoolhouse, built 1878

The historic village includes a chapel, an operating blacksmith’s forge and several historic houses, including a two unit fencible cottage, which were provided to retired soldiers who enlisted as military reserve. The right hand side unit has been converted into a gallery and currently holds an exhibition ‘A Teaspoon Per Cup & One For The Pot”, which looks at New Zealand’s history with drinking tea.

This church, originally St. Saviours Church was built in 1898 and paid for by the church community of Blockhouse Bay

This church, originally St. Saviours Church  of Blockhouse Bay was built in 1898

Opposite the historic village is a strip of early 1900s retail stores, which visitors can explore.

Example of early 1900s retail shops

Example of early 1900s retail stores

Next I visited ‘Stars and Cars’ an exhibition, which celebrated vehicles, which had famous drivers. Vehicles on display included race car driver Bruce McLaren’s 1961 Cooper Climax, former Prime Minister Helen Clark’s red 1971 Honda 50 Scooter, the yellow Mini used for the stunt sequences in the classic comedy road trip film Goodbye Pork Pie and the Tool Guy’s van from the popular television series Outrageous Fortune.

Bruce McLaren's 1961 Cooper Climax

Bruce McLaren’s 1961 Cooper Climax

Foreground: 1978 British Leyland Mini 1000 used for stunt sequences in 'Goodbye Pork Pie'. Background: 1987 Mazda Bongo 'Tool Guys' van from 'Outrageous Fortune'

Foreground: 1978 British Leyland Mini 1000, used for stunt sequences in ‘Goodbye Pork Pie’. Background: 1987 Mazda Bongo, ‘Tool Guys’ van from ‘Outrageous Fortune’

Another exhibition in the same building was Motor Notion, which explored New Zealand’s love affairs with cars.

Also in this building were the Oxford News Theatre (currently playing highlights from Goodbye Pork Pie), a mirror maze, a tactile dome where guests explored tunnels in complete darkness, and ‘Tinkering Tots’ a gallery designed for under 5’s.

After lunch I visited ‘I Am The Last Tram’, which celebrates the 1950s. The centre piece of this exhibition is a reproduction of tram 242 as how it would have looked when it made its final trip down Queen Street on 29th December 1956. Also in this exhibition is a recreation of Queen Street; included are replica’s of the Civic Theatre and Smith and Caughey’s department store. Upstairs the exhibition explored social issues and events in the 1950s including Plunket babies, Queen Elizabeth II’s 1953 Royal visit and youth culture.

Tram 89 repainted and decorated to look like tram 242, last to tram to travel down Queen Street, 1956

Tram 89 repainted and decorated to look like tram 242 on its last trip down Queen Street, 29 December 1956

The next two exhibitions I visited looked at New Zealand’s war history. ‘Winning the Peace’, which is located in the same building as ‘I Am The Last Tram, examines the changes that took place following the Second World War. The second exhibition ‘While You Were Away’ explored what life was like in New Zealand, while the world was at war.

At the back of MOTAT’s grounds there are the tram barns and workshop, which hold a collection of MOTAT’s trams. MOTAT has trams from Auckland, Wellington, Wanganui, Dunedin, Melbourne and Sydney. Also nearby is Station Road, which includes the Mt Albert Signal Box that was built in 1914 and was in operation until 1966, and the old Waitakere train station buildings.

Old Mt Albert Signal Box built 1914 and in operation until 1966. Behind old Waitakere Station buildings

Old Mt Albert Signal Box built 1914 and in operation until 1966. Behind the old Waitakere Station buildings

The highlight for many children is taking a ride on the tram. The tram services runs approximately every 30 minutes from MOTAT’s Great North Road site to MOTAT 2 on Meola Road via Western Springs Lakeside Park and Auckland Zoo. Tram rides are included in MOTAT’s general admission but tickets can be purchased onboard for tram rides only, which is great for families that may wish to include a tram ride with their visit to the zoo or park.

At MOTAT 2 is the Sir Keith Park Memorial Aviation Collection. The aviation display hall was where I finished my visit. This aviation hangar has displays on the Fleet Air Arm, the RAF Bomber Command, Jean Batten, the Walsh Brothers and includes a large collection of military and civil aircraft, with a few suspended from the ceiling.

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Sir Keith Park Memorial Aviation Collection, MOTAT 2

Sir Keith Park Memorial Aviation Collection, MOTAT 2

This year MOTAT celebrates it’s 50th anniversary!

Essential Details:

MOTAT (Museum of Technology and Transport)

805 Great North Road, Western Springs

Open 10am – 5pm, 7 days

Adults are $16, Child/student $8, Family Pass $40.00.