Greymouth Floodwall Walk

A floodwall built along Grey River not only protects the township of Greymouth but also offers a pleasant walk with a memorial, sculptures and other historic points of interest.

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The floodwall that lines the southern side of the Grey River can be accessed at several points along Mawhera Quay. Locals jokingly call it ‘the Great Wall of Greymouth’.

It is the starting point of the West Coast Wilderness Trail, a 139 km (86 mi) 4 day cycle trail that runs from Greymouth to Ross via Kumara, Cowboy Paradise and Hokitika.

The floodwall includes a memorial to the miners who have lost their lives in coal mining accidents on the West Coast. This memorial was unveiled on January 19, 2013, the 46th anniversary of the Strongman Mine disaster that killed 19 men.

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Memorial to those you lost their lives in coal mining accidents on the West Coast

Memorial to those you lost their lives in coal mining accidents on the West Coast

A striking feature of Mawhera Quay is the clock tower that was erected by the Greymouth Rotary and Lions clubs in 1992. The clock is from the former Post Office and is dated from 1903.

Opposite the clock tower on the corner of Mawhera Quay and Tainui Street is the historic Bank of New Zealand building, built in 1924, which now houses the Left Bank Art Gallery.

Clock tower and Bank of New Zealand building

Clock tower and Bank of New Zealand building

Toward the Port of Greymouth end of the floodwall is the Coal River Heritage Park. The park is a partnership between the Greymouth Heritage Society, Grey District Council and Port of Greymouth.

The park includes gardens; a drill point sculpture to celebrate coal mining and industry; three restored Q wagons; and the heritage passenger wharf, which has been re-decked.

Heritage passenger wharf and restored Q wagons

Heritage passenger wharf and restored Q wagons

Restored Q wagon

Restored Q wagon

Opposite the Heritage Park on Gresson Street is the Harbour Board Offices and the Grey County Chambers building. The Greymouth Harbour Board Offices building was built in 1885 and opened in November 1886. It was restored in 2002.

Grey County Chambers building, built in 1924, is now home to the History House Museum. The museum located at 27 Greeson Street is open Monday to Wednesday 10 am – 4 pm, Thursday 1 pm – 4 pm and Friday 10 am – 4pm. Adults are $6, children $2.

Greymouth Harbour Board Offices building

Greymouth Harbour Board Offices building

Grey County Chambers (History House Museum)

Grey County Chambers (History House Museum)

The floodwall walk ends at the Port of Greymouth. It is only a 10 minute walk along Mawhera Quay part of the floodwall. Those wishing to explore further can follow the West Coast Wilderness cycle trail.

The trail veers away from the river and follows the Blaketown Lagoon, a fishing basin. Blaketown is named after Isaac Blake, an early shopkeeper in the district. After Blaketown Fishermans Wharf the trail follows the coast offering views of the west coast beach and Tasman Sea.

Blaketown Fishermans Wharf

Blaketown Fishermans Wharf

West Coast

West Coast

Sun setting on the walk back

Sun setting on the walk back

Port of Greymouth on the walk back

Port of Greymouth on the walk back

Rotorua Lakefront Walkway

The Rotorua Lakefront Walkway is part of the larger Rotorua Walkway.

Rotorua Lakefront Walkway

Rotorua Lakefront Walkway

The entire Rotorua Walkway spans 26 km and is split up into eight sections. This blog post will address two sections of the walk – Rotorua Lakefront and Motutara. Click here for a brochure on the entire walkway.

One of the first sites on the lakefront located opposite the Rotorua Central Scout Group hall is Te Arawa Waka Taua, a war party vessel built by hand in 1989 by local carver Lyonel Grant. The Waka, which is constructed from totara wood, is approximately 20 metres in length and weighs approximately 2.5 tons.

Te Arawa Waka Taua

Te Arawa Waka Taua

A dirt track and boardwalk travel around the lakefront to Motutara Point offering views of Mokoia Island. The island, which is administrated by four Te Arawa sub-tribes, was originally set aside as a wildlife sanctuary in 1921. In 1953 the island become a wildlife refuge. Three endangered native birds, the North Island Robin, North Island Saddlebacks, and stitchbirds have been introduced since 1991. Wekas were first introduced in 1958 and only recently have become common on the island.

The track is lined with kanuka and manuka bushes. It can be difficult to tell the two tea trees apart. But there are some key differences. Kanuka trees traditionally grow taller than manuka and the kanuka tree’s leaves are softer to touch. Also the flowers of the kanuka tree grow in clusters, whereas the flower of the manuka grows singly.

Looking out to Mokoia Island on a grey winter morning

Looking out to Mokoia Island on a grey winter morning

Rotorua Lakefront Walkway

Rotorua Lakefront Walkway

Motutara Point is on the eastern end of the Rotoroa Lakefront Walkway. It takes approximately 15 minutes to walk from the lakefront to Motutara Point.

As I continued around past Motutara Point the water became quite milky in colour. This is the start of Sulphur Bay, which is the southern most bay on Lake Rotorua and stretches from Motutara Point to Ngapuna.

Off the Motutara Peninsula is Timanga and Moturere Islands. Timanga Island was originally much larger and offered living space for a number of families. This small inlet is now home to roosting and nesting birds. Moturere Island was once host to a geothermal bath that was used for treating many illnesses. Lake levels rose over the years and today only a small part of Moturere remains above water.

Sulphur Bay

Sulphur Bay

From Motutara Point to the Polynesian Spa it is approximately 25 minutes walk. I exited the track and walked to Government Gardens and Rotorua Museum.

The Rotorua Walkway can be entered and exited at any point along the track and it is an excellent way to explore some of Rotorua’s geothermal areas, native wildlife, and historic sites.

Westhaven Marina

Westhaven Marina in Auckland is the largest yacht marina in the Southern Hemisphere.

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Last month the Westhaven Promenade opened.

This new path and boardwalk is up to 5 metres wide and runs along the edge of the marina providing stunning views of yachts against the city backdrop. The boardwalk is made from Spotted Gum hardwood imported from Australia.

Two sections of the boardwalk take visitors out over the water and include viewing platforms for photo opportunities.

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The Westhaven Promenade will eventually be part of 20km cycleway that travels from the Harbour Bridge in the west to St Heliers in the east.

You can access the Promenade from the western end near the Harbour Bridge and Sitting Duck Café. From Wynyard Quarter, head down Beaumont Street and onto Westhaven Drive. The path starts just start pass Swashbucklers Restaurant.

After or before walking the promenade cross the marina carpark for views of the Auckland Harbour Bridge.

Next I followed the path under the Harbour Bridge and followed Curran Street around the waterfront before returning along the Promenade back to the city.

Path under Harbour Bridge

Waterfront

Waterfront

Walking back along Westhaven Promenade

Walking back along Westhaven Promenade

Hamilton Lake

Lake Rotoroa (meaning long lake), more commonly known as Hamilton Lake, at 54 hectares is the largest of three lakes in the Hamilton city area.

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Hamilton Lake Domain

There is a 3.8km pathway the circles that lake. It is an easy 45 minute to an hour stroll around the lake. The flat path is well maintained with a paved path and wooden boardwalks, so is suitable for all levels of fitness.

It is a lovely walk. There is plenty to see with ducks, swans and pukekos frolicking on and around the lake. And if you choose a nice day it can be quite magical as the sun or shadows hit the water.

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Pukeko playing in the flax

On the eastern side of the lake there is The Verandah, a cafe and function rooms. I had an apricot chocolate fudge slice and a cold drink, which was a nice end to the walk.

Nearby the cafe there is a children’s playground and picnic area. There is also short bush walks and a golf green on the west side of the lake.

Swings by the lake

Swings by the lake

Children can climb aboard the train opposite the Cafe

Children can climb aboard the train next to the Cafe

Lake Rotoroa is not safe for swimming. Earlier this year tests confirmed that toxic algae had reappeared and the Council advises parents to keep their children away from the water’s edge.

Sadly the Hamilton Lake Domain has had some bad press lately. In May this year a woman was indecently assaulted in the reserve and last month a 15 year-old girl was raped at knife-point. With this blog I do prefer to focus on the positive rather than the negative, but when exploring what this wonderful country has to offer one does have to remember like all places it has a dark side too. So please stay alert and be safe.

 

Hamilton Lake Domain
Vehicle and pedestrian entrance off Ruakiwi Road

Orakei Basin Walkway

I would often look out the window as the Eastern line train travelled along past the Orakei Basin and I see people walking along a boardwalk. Since that boardwalk was built in 2010 I have been meaning to walk it – and finally this morning I did.

View of Orakei Basin boardway from train

View of Orakei Basin boardwalk from the train

I took the train from Britomart Transport Centre to Meadowbank Train Station. It is less than 10 mins on the train to reach Meadowbank, the second stop on the Eastern Line.

Meadowbank train station

Meadowbank train station

From Meadowbank train station I walked to the end of Purewa Road to where the boardwalk begins.

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I began the Orakei Basin walk at the Purewa Road entrance

I began the Orakei Basin walk at the Purewa Road entrance

The boardwalk runs parallel to the railway line, and two trains rattled past as I walked along the 650-metre boardwalk.

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Orakei Basin walkway

Orakei Basin walkway

At the end of the boardwalk I took a left and followed the path up a slight hill. There were steps leading down and a signpost to Orakei Basin Boat Ramp. I took the steps down and walked through the bush for a few minutes before coming out by the Orakei Sea Scout den.

I take the steps down to track to the Orakei Boat Ramp

I took the steps down a track to the Orakei Basin Boat Ramp

Orakei Sea Scout Den

Orakei Sea Scout Den

I then followed the road from the Orakei Sea Scout Den down to the Orakei Basin Boat Ramp. At the end of the boat ramp car park is a path that follows the water’s edge around the basin.

Road down to Orakei Basin boat ramp

Road down to Orakei Basin boat ramp

Orakei Boat Ramp

Orakei Boat Ramp

Path at end of Orakei Basin Boat Ramp car park

Path at end of Orakei Basin Boat Ramp car park

The path around Orakei Basin passes some of Auckland’s most expensive houses. At the Auckland Water Ski Club I took some steep steps up to Lucerne Road and crossed the road to the Lucerne Road entrance.

Orakei Basin from Orakei Water Ski Club

View of Orakei Basin from Orakei Water Ski Club

View from steep stairs leading up to Lacerne Road

View looking back from the steps leading up to Lucerne Rd

From the Lucerne Road entrance I walked down through the bush to the Orakei Creek bridge. I crossed the bridge and followed the track back around to my starting point.

Bridge across Orakei Creek

Bridge across Orakei Creek

Orakei Creek

Orakei Creek Bridge

Back to my starting point

Back to my starting point

It took me 1 hour 15 minutes to walk the 2.9 km walkway as I often stopped to take photos. Reading comments online it seems most people complete this walk at a leisurely pace in 45 minutes to an hour.

Rather than walk back to Meadowbank train station I walked back along the boardwalk a second time. I definitely enjoyed walking the boardwalk more the second time as I was able to look back across the water to see where I had just walked.

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Looking across the water to where I had walked – Orakei Creek Bridge and Orakei Water Ski Club

At the end of the boardwalk I took the path to the right, which goes around to Orakei Train Station, where I caught the train back into the city.

It took me four years to finally get around to doing this walk and I am so glad I did it. If you are in Auckland and haven’t down this walk yet please don’t leave it as long as I did 🙂

Click here to see a map of the Orakei Basin Walkway