Auckland Baptist Tramping Club
2006


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Base map extracted from NZ TopoOnline December 2006. Crown Copyright Reserved.


Twelve people managed to get away from the pre-Christmas mayhem and take advantage of a relatively cool sunny afternoon to explore the reserves of Eastern Beach near Howick.

Five of the group left The Bracken at 1:30pm and met up with the others at the entrance of Willow Park Christian Camp at 2pm. From there we set out to climb the steps behind Hostel Access Rd.

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At the top of the steps we began to follow a track leading to McLeans Park, pausing to take in the view back over Eastern Beach. Of particular interest was the Willow Park camp, bringing back memories of school and youth group camps for the predominantly middle-aged group.
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We continued along the track and into the spacious McLeans Park with views out to the Hauraki Gulf.
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After crossing McLeans Rd we followed Murvale Drive and into the bush of Murvale Reserve. The track through the reserve climbed gently up to an open space.
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We continued on to Bleakhouse Rd then returned to McLeans Park to follow the boundary then into the Charles Dickens area. The entire area bounded by Bleakhouse Rd, McLeans Rd and the park has streets named after Charles Dickens’ characters - Micawber, Nickelby, Copperfield, Pickwick and Oliver Twist. The street we followed to a reserve within the area was not surprisingly Charles Dickens St. A walk down a gully and up the other side led to a playground off Pickwick St.
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From there we followed a walkway to Bleakhouse Rd directly opposite Fowey Lodge. Back in the 1960s Dr Tony Hanne established a Bible school and retreat centre at the large homestead, calling it Capernwray Lodge. He has lived there ever since, and now runs his medical practise on the property. A small building on the road frontage of the property is rented out to Creation Ministries, formerly Answers in Genesis, an evangelical Christian group that focusses on creation as opposed to evolution. A few doors further along a discreet grassed walkway led to a small reserve on the clifftops with great views across to Motuihe and other islands of the Hauraki Gulf, a great place for afternoon tea break and devotions.
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Andrew shared from a sermon he had listened to the same morning at his church, on the timely theme of A Gift Worth Giving. He read Matthew 2:1-12, the story of the Three Wise Men who came to give presents to the baby Jesus. The real gifts were grace - unrepayable and non-material. At Christmas we swap presents, but the best gifts are given spontaneously and with a sense of genuine joy - such seemingly trivial things as a hug representing togetherness. It is best to give something personal and lasting, that can give good memories and a godly heritage in time. Andrew concluded by reading a poem about the importance of giving today and not putting it off till tomorrow. John commented that the devotions followed on from what Phillip Donnell shared just a week before at the end-of-year BBQ at Red Beach, being an acronym on GIFTS - Gracious, Innumerable, Free, Timely, Salvation the greatest gift of all.
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We carried on to the end of Bleakhouse Rd overlooking Eastern Beach, and Joy and Barbara left us at this point as they had to get back to an important meeting. The rest of us dropped down into Julie Glade, a lovely section of bush being part of the bush-clad gullies of McLeans Park. A small stream flowed through the glade.
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Beyond Julie Glade we took a path to our right leading to the end of The Esplanade, the road running alongside Eastern Beach. From there it was a short walk back to Willow Park, and we were out by 4pm. Some of us went into a nearby cafe while at least two others opted for an ice cream at the main Eastern Beach shops, to cap off a lovely and relaxing afternoon’s walk.

COST: $3-50