Category Archives: Auckland Ferries

One Last Waiheke Trip

Our favorite thing to do for the weekend when we lived in Auckland was to go and hang out on Waiheke Island. It is only a 30 minute ferry ride from down town Auckland, and there is plenty to do with in a reasonable walk of the ferry terminal. And even more to do within an unreasonable walk :). Plus, Jasmine found a cool website, BookaBach, so you can rent out peoples’ summer home for a reasonable price for a weekend stay. I highly recommend Waiheke to anyone going to Auckland for a while.

In our last trip, we did the usual Waiheke jaunt of hanging out at the beach, going for some wine tasting, and walking through the bush. It was as fun as always, and I think by the end we walked on about 80% of the tramping tracks on the island. So we enjoyed ourselves that weekend.

We got to a cool overlook and decided to take a picture of the two of us, as they are lacking in the blog

We got to a cool overlook and decided to take a picture of the two of us, as they are lacking in the blog.

And a view of the Thomas batch winery. We walked the 10k there from out hotel.

And a view of the Thomas Batch winery. We walked the 10 k there from our bach.

Cows on the hill in the path. This is very common in NZ. This is also a bit scary when it is a large herd

Cows on the hill in the path. This is very common in NZ. This is also a bit scary when it is a large herd.

I'm a sucker for waterfalls. Even small ones

I’m a sucker for waterfalls. Even small ones.

And a artistic shot for the hell of it.

And an artistic shot for the hell of it.

Waiheke – Rocky Bay

For the ANZAC long weekend, Jasmine and I decided to rent out a bach on Waiheke and do a bit of hiking and a bit of wine tasting. Since we had been to the west, north, and east of the island, only one direction remained – South! And, as it turned out, we saved the best direction for last. Rocky Bay was quiet and peaceful, close to a number of wineries, and there was a bunch of great hiking in the area, especially in Whakanewha Park.

And we have now gone to about 12 of the 20 wineries on the island, with a favorite so far of Jurassic Ridge. Not quite as crazy as all of the Santa Clara parks, but something. :) Overall, we had a delightful weekend and we will certainly be going back to Waiheke again.

This is the largest spider I have seen in NZ. not quite a tarantula, but it is something.

This is the largest spider I have seen in NZ. Not quite a tarantula, but it is something.

Overlooking ANZAC bay on ANZAC day.

Overlooking ANZAC Bay on ANZAC Day.

And another panoramic view looking east from Jurassic Ridge. Waiheke is nothing but Panoramic views.

And another panoramic view looking east from Jurassic Ridge. Waiheke is nothing but panoramic views.

The bay to the west of our rented Bach. The sailors on that boat were living it up fishing all day, it looked like fun.

The bay to the west of our rented bach. The sailors on that boat were living it up fishing all day; it looked like fun.

One leaping jasmine! Some of our trails were questionably trails.

One leaping Jasmine! Some of our trails were questionably trails.

And one pensive Jasmine. It rained a fair bit on Sunday but we were in the forest for most of it,  so just a light drizzle for us.

And one pensive Jasmine. It rained a fair bit on Sunday, but we were in the forest for most of it. So just a light drizzle for us.

Devonport

When we were in Santa Clara, we made an effort to go to every county park and we made it to all 26 of them, minus the shooting range and the motorcycle ranch which we decided not to count. For Auckland, we have an equivalent plan – take every ferry from the Auckland Ferry Terminal and go for a hike on the other side. There are 13 ferries managed by Auckland Transport and this weekend we added the shortest trip of them all: Devonport.

Devonport seems like a sleepy little seaside town, which is quite odd considering it is only a 20 minute drive from downtown Auckland if you take the bridge instead of the ferry. We had a quite pleasant hike up the east coast of the north shore; it was quite convenient for us that it was low tide. The top of our hike took us to Takapuna and Lake Pupuka, the town having a large enough selection of tasty looking restaurants that we will be going up again just for the food, even if you ignored the pretty coastal hike.

All in all, a nice walk around the city and a pleasant stroll on the rocky beach.  All told, we walked 35 km, which took its toll by the end of the day, but not as much as the sun. It was gray and chilly when we started, but sunny and warm for the walk home and we we a bit sun-touched by the end. Hope you enjoy the pictures. And that is 4 ferries down, around 10 left to go.

The hills overlooking the harbor are lined with a fair bit of old tunnels and artillery from the 1900-1950's. It led to a surprisingly educational walk

The hills overlooking the harbor are lined with a fair bit of old tunnels and artillery from the 1900-1950’s. It led to a surprisingly educational walk.

You can see me about 100m out in the ocean, right in line with Rangitoto. Cheltanham Beach is quite shallow in low tide.

You can see me about 100 m out in the ocean, right in line with Rangitoto. Cheltanham Beach is quite shallow at low tide.

And this is the reverse image of the beach  from the middle of the harbor. I was far enough out that I had to call Jasmine to talk to her, which is quite odd when you are 100m from the coast.

And this is the reverse image of the beach from the middle of the harbor. I was far enough out that I had to call Jasmine to talk to her, which is quite odd when you are 100 m from the coast.

Rangitoto looms large over the Harbor. I can't imagine what it looked like a couple hundred years ago when it erupted.

Rangitoto looms large over the harbor. I can’t imagine what it looked like a couple hundred years ago when it erupted.

The picturesque rocky low tide. This beach had dozens of perfectly shaped scallop shells just laying about.

The picturesque rocky low tide. This beach had dozens of perfectly shaped scallop shells just laying about.

And the bike path on the way home, we were starting to get tuckered out by the time we were here and only had 10 km left to walk in the day.

And the bike path on the way home; we were starting to get tuckered out by the time we were here and only had 10 km left to walk in the day.

Rakino Island pt. 2

Today’s post focuses more on the beaches. The weather wasn’t quite warm enough to swim. Even Lloyd only waded in! Although that was because the air was too cold; the water itself wasn’t too bad. None the less, we still spent quite a bit of time on the beaches skipping stones, hiking, and enjoying the view.

A view of the ocean from one of our hikes.

A view of the ocean from one of our hikes.

A typical Rakino beach.

A typical Rakino beach.

The obligatory shot of Lloyd in the water. This time skipping stones!

The obligatory shot of Lloyd in the water. This time skipping stones!

We did a lot of hiking on the beach over landscape like this - opportunistic bouldering.

We did a lot of hiking on the beach over landscape like this – opportunistic bouldering.

We also saw a lot of oysters on the beach and gathered our own. They made for a tasty appetizer for dinner... and lunch.

We also saw a lot of oysters on the beach. They made for a tasty appetizer for dinner… and lunch.

Rakino Island pt. 1

Jasmine and I took a bit of a vacation up to Rakino Island over the weekend. It is a relatively small island in the Haruki Gulf, about a 45 minute ferry ride north of Auckland proper. The vacation was fun; we just wandered around the island, hung out on the beach, and read a lot. By the end of the weekend, we had walked over every single meter of road on the island and had walked the entire east coast of the beach. This might sound impressive, but the island was only 2 km tip to tip.

So here is part 1 of the pictures from the trip. Part II will be up tomorrow.

Step 1: get a guard dog for your luggage on the pier. This dog was so calm both by itself with the luggage and on the choppy ferry ride. The guarding function was not necessary as the luggage loading procedure was everyone grab a bunch of bags, not necessarily yours, and load them up.

Step 1: Get a guard dog for your luggage on the pier. This dog was so calm both by itself with the luggage and on the choppy ferry ride. The guarding function was not necessary as the luggage loading procedure was everyone grab a bunch of bags, not necessarily your own, and load them up.

The ferry terminal is just on the right of the picture.

The ferry terminal is just on the right of the picture.

Our rental bach was quite nice, with an awesome view.

Our rental bach was quite nice – with an awesome view.

This is the longest flat section of the island. The one north south road changes surfaces from aspault, gravel, sand to grass in 2 km which is an impressive range for a short distance.

This is the longest flat section of the island. The one north-south road changes surfaces from asphalt, gravel, sand, to grass in 2 km which is an impressive range for such a short distance.

Maori Garden Beach. This was the closest beach to our bach. The  first day we didn't get a lot of use out of the beach due to on and off again rain.

Maori Garden Beach. This was the closest beach to our bach. The first day we didn’t get a lot of use out of the beach due to on and off again rain.

Waiheke Island

Jasmine had to work on her birthday last weekend but, to make up for it, she was able to take Friday off and we had a makeup birthday. We took the ferry out to Waiheke Island and went for a nice long hike on our second island of the Hauraki Gulf. As it turns out, Waiheke is a huge island and we were unable to hike around even 10% of it. But we stuck to the western peninsula where the main port is and did the most hiking that we could.

The whole hike was fun and quite beautiful. The north part of the island was extremely rocky with a lot of up and down on the trail. We then cut through a bunch of vineyards to have lunch at Oneroa Village, the most populous part of the island. The south part of the peninsula was less populous and our hike was mostly on the beach. The beach was really rocky in parts, and it was a good thing we went at low tide or we couldn’t have done the hike. We still had to do a fair bit of bouldering, sometimes on a field of oysters, to walk down the beach which was fun but a bit bizarre. By the way, oyster shells have some seriously awesome traction.

A fun trip overall and we will be going back to Waiheke to try and walk more of the coastline.

Jasmine with the harbor bay in the background

Jasmine with the harbor bay in the background

A random bay in the north part of the island. The coast was very photogenic.

A random bay in the north part of the island. The coast was very photogenic.

This vineyard is run by the university of Auckland. Jasmine is trying to figure out how to get to work on it.

This vineyard is run by the University of Auckland. Jasmine is trying to figure out how to get to work on it.

The sign on the ship said it was the last commercial sailing scow built in NZ in 1912.  Currently a bit worse for wear.

The sign on the ship said it was the last commercial sailing scow built in NZ in 1912. Currently a bit worse for wear.

The southwestern part of Waiheke was picturesque gnarled tree land

The southwestern part of Waiheke was picturesque gnarled tree land.

And to top the day off we got a nice sunset cruise on the way home.

And to top the day off, we got a nice sunset cruise on the way home.

Rangitoto (36 47.2’S 174 51.47’E)

Now that Jasmine and I have a place to stay, we can actually get to some real exploring! The first step was where pretty much everyone suggested: the Island of Rangitoto. It is a volcanic island in the Auckland bay and, as it formed about 600 years ago, it is still pretty volcanic looking. There were tons of igneous rocks on the less traveled trails; I am glad I had some sturdy boots as those rocks are sharp.

For being only about 600 years old, the forests are pretty thick if a little weird looking, probably because it is full of only native NZ plants which are mostly ferns with some random trees. Also, they appear to be very serious about biosecurity here to the point of asking you to wipe off your shoes before getting on the boat to the island. As they just killed off all of the non native animals (read possums, rats, stoats, etc), I guess that is quite understandable.

All in all, we had a very fun hike and a nice dunking my head in the ocean afterwards as it was a little cold to get all of the way in. I hope we enjoy all of our hikes down here as much as this one.

The obligatory tourist selfie with Auckland in the background

The obligatory tourist selfie with Auckland in the background.

Some really cool causeways and bridges on the hike, I just liked how this one looked

Some really cool causeways and bridges on the hike; I just liked how this one looked.

This is where we took a little bit of a dip in the ocean. Now with extra

This is where we took a little bit of a dip in the ocean. Now with extra rainbow!

And this is what most of the hike looked like

And this is what most of the hike looked like. Yes, there is a trail there.

And a panorama from the beach. You have to open it up full screen to appreciate.

And a panorama from the beach. You have to open it up full screen to appreciate.