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March 19, 2012

Bushwalking in the Waitakere, Auckland

This year I’m trying to do some of the things I’ve thought about doing for years but haven’t got around to for one reason or another. Last week I took time out from writing to do some bushwalking with author friend Tessa Radley. We joined a group walk that left from Cascade Kauri in the Waitakere. I haven’t really visited this area in the west of Auckland before, but managed to do a creditable job of map reading to the meet area.

We were a small group of seven with varying levels of fitness. Once we left the car park—we were informed three bus loads of kids were due to arrive at any moment for a camp—the bush surrounded us, and it became quiet and peaceful.

This area is known for its kauri trees. Although I’ve seen kauri trees before and have visited the largest one in New Zealand, Tane Mahuta, I haven’t seen a forest of them before. The kauri were prized by settlers for their timber and also the gum they produce. Large forested areas were cleared, but luckily this area was turned into a reserve.

Kauri Tree, Cascade Kauri, Auckland  Cascade Kauri Park, Auckland

The walking tracks come in various levels. Some are easy and suitable for pushchairs while others have huge steps that challenged my long legs and paths full of treacherous roots and mud. We took our time, watching birds and identifying various trees, plants and seeds.

Kauri Tree, Auckland  Waitakere Reservoir, Auckland

After about two hours walking, we reached the Waitakere Reservoir where we took a break for lunch. The view was gorgeous from the bottom of the dam—trees and green as far as the eye could see.

Cascade Kauri, Auckland

Our return walk was via a different route. We were almost back and walking on a flat gravel path when I saw a fantail flitting above our heads. “Look at the fantail,” I said to Tessa. I opened my mouth about to tell her she was really close to the edge of the bank when over she went. I grabbed her daypack and stopped her from rolling further down the bank and hitting her head on the trees, but she sprained her ankle and pulled muscles. A terrible end to a great day, but she assures me she’s all right now and is ready to go on another walk next month.

Do you like bushwalking?


  1. Mary Kirkland

    I’ve definitely gone exploring up at red Rock back when my knee’s allowed it and we had a lot of fun.

    Glad your friend is alright.

    • Shelley Munro

      Sore knees are a pain!

  2. DebraG

    I would love to do some bush walking. What beautiful sites!

    • Shelley Munro

      Debra, one thing about Auckland is that it’s not far to go to spend time outdoors bush walking or at the beach.

  3. Ciara Knight

    That is so beautiful! I’m glad your friend is okay. My heart sank when you wrote that two busloads of children were due there. LOL

    • Shelley Munro

      LOL I was glad that we didn’t meet up with the kids. The buses had gone by the time we returned.

  4. Maria Zannini

    Oh my gosh. I’m glad Tessa is all right. I probably would’ve swallowed my tongue.

    Bushwalking sounds so much cooler than hiking. Even with my bum leg, I still like to hike. Just can’t do it for as long anymore.

    • Shelley Munro

      Maria, it all happened so quickly. I’m sure we’ll laugh about it in the future. I like to do any walking. All that fresh air.

  5. Savannah Chase

    Oh wow, those pictures are amazing..I love that you share with us all your travels and photo’s from such pretty places.

    I’m sorry about your friends. I hope she recovers quickly.

    • Shelley Munro

      I’m glad you enjoyed the photos. It was really pretty, and it was hard to believe that the city is so close.

      Tessa is ready to walk next month. :)

  6. Christine Ashworth

    I want to go! Oh, HOW I want to go with you and Tessa. Let’s see…if I start saving now…um..add the one, carry the seven…I might make it there in about three years, give or take a decade.

    But, heck – I don’t expect you to wait for me! Great post, hon!

    • Shelley Munro

      Maybe one day, Christine. You’ve got to come and check out the wine first hand!

  7. Riya

    Hi Shelley,

    We once went on a bushwalk around Titirangi and it was beautiful. But Mum couldn’t climb back up. It was an eyeopener for her so now she’s very health conscious.
    Thanks for the beautiful photos.

    Hope Tessa Radley gets well soon.

    • Shelley Munro

      Hi Riya,

      It’s a very pretty area. It’s good that your Mum is more health conscious now. The fitness levels did vary a little within our group. I worried about one lady, but she made it.

  8. Brinda

    Yet another great adventure! I don’t know about bushwalking, but I love hiking in the mountains. :)

    • Shelley Munro


      There are some beautiful national parks in the US. Hubby and I always try to do a little hiking when we’re over there.

  9. Tania.F.Walsh

    Love your photos… how gorgeous to go for a walk there…:)

    • Shelley Munro

      Thanks, Tania. It was a nice break from writing.

  10. Heather

    Glad your friend is okay! I have been on a few nature hikes. The trails at Devil’s Lake State Park are especially nice. I also walk the nearby Arboretum a few times a month, except during winter. Saw some sandhill cranes up there last week. *G*