A chilly, perfect weather morning for our trip to Wenderholm, that happens to have been the first Regional Park in Auckland. Funnily enough most of the group hadn't been to Wenderholm or not been for a long time.
We jumped out of the bus and before starting our walk, we head over to the end of the carpark to look at an extremely large, very rare in NZ, Cork Oak tree. Prompting lots of questions about how commercial harvesters harvest the cork to turn into wine bottle stoppers etc without damaging the tree.
With the sunlight gently beaming it's way through the towering tree canopy around the historic Couldrey House, we checked out the opening times to come and re-visit later in the day.
Setting off up the hill to do the Perimeter Track and once we've cleaned our boots at the boot station, you're immediately immersed in a tropical paradise of large Nikau Palms, Pohutukawa's, Puriri and many other native trees that cover the steep hillside. Some of these may have been planted over the years, as there have been approximately 100,000 trees planted at Wenderholm. On the first flight of steps up the hill, there are encouraging words about reaching for the top engraved on the front of each step of the flight before you reach the very old reservoir that used to supply the house. There are also interesting signs dotted along the track with information about the flora and fauna surrounding us.
It doesn't take us long and we pop out at the first lookout, with majestic views up the Puhio River with the tide gently ebbing out and the lush farmland inland and views out across the water to fisherman patiently waiting for their catch at Brazier Rock and views of the neighbouring Mahurangi West Regional Park.
From the next track junction, it becomes more a "tramping track", a bit rougher, slippery and muddy as we drop down to the Waiwera Estuary to go investigate around the end of the peninsula at Mahurangi Island. As we round the corner we're greeted by a substantially large slip that will probably take out the track one day.
A bit of back tracking to the Waiwera Bridge as the tide isn't quite low enough yet to wade over to Waiwera yet. Before continuing south on the low tide to Orewa. We got quite a way around before being pummeled by higher wind speed than we'd had earlier on protected by the tree cover. We decided at that juncture it was wise not to continue along the rocks and headed back to find a nice sheltered spot for lunch by the relics of the original Waiwera hot pools dating back about 100 years.
Back into the bush we head left and up the steep incline up the Puhoi Track, reaching the open grassed area views worthy of a far higher than the 156 metre climb we'd just done.
Back into the bush, and as he headed back down the hillside track, we notice that this area is obviously destined for more of the "dry foot" treatment, with marker posts between each board walked area before reaching Couldrey House once again, for a look around this historic and fascinating old house. So much history, by NZ standards!
A bit more walking to enjoy the Pohutukawa clad sand spit and wander back along the beach before heading back to Takapuna. We're starting to wonder if a certain driver likes Ice cream, as there is often said stop on the way back. Haha!
Interesting link to the history of the area: