Auckland Baptist Tramping Club

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

The end-of-year tramp and BBQ this year focussed on the Hibiscus Coast, with an easy tramp from Red Beach to Whangaparaoa and a ride on the Whangaparaoa Narrow Gauge Railway, with the BBQ at the home of Nelson Young in Red Beach.

Two car loads left The Bracken at 8am to meet up with some more people at Nelsonís home at 9am. Fourteen people set out about 9:30am with the intention of following the coast to Manly then cutting across to the railway through reserves and walkways.

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After some roadbashing we dropped down into Puawai Bay to start the coastal walk, as the tide was well on its way out.
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We continued along the coast below the cliffs only to find it impassible around the headland. There was no choice but to return and take a walkway to Whale Rd above the clifftops. Where Whale Rd runs into Duncansby St there was a lookout where we stopped to enjoy the view out across the Hauraki Gulf.
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A stepped walkway led down towards the coast from here; near the bottom we saw a track with steps carrying on along the clifftops so we decided to do this just in case it was impossible to carry on along the rocky foreshore. This climbed up to a high point along a clifftop reserve, but came to an end - the track was in the process of being built and was nowhere near finished. We could not even find a rough route carrying on.
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We returned then went down to the coast and headed towards Stanmore Bay. The going was great, a broad rocky coastal platform, then all of a sudden there was a sheer drop and some challenging rock-hopping - we saw some agile people jump down and waltz over the royal part, but decided we would not risk it and instead retraced our footsteps back to the lookout.
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There was no choice but to roadbash. We continued down Vipond Rd and into DíOyly Drive to stop at a reserve alongside a stream for our elevenses stop.

The constant buzzing of a helicopter giving rides at a nearby school gala made it a bit difficult to listen to Linda S share about the importance of what we feed on spiritually, referring to Hebrews 5:12-13. To be mature we need to feed on the milk of Godís Word. Linda told us that she had been going to a Bible study class on Monday evenings for a couple of years, and she decided to do the course on Genesis again, even though she had done this already. She finds she is being blessed by doing this.
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It took about twenty minutes to climb the rest of DíOyly Drive to Whangaparaoa Rd and drop down to the Whangaparaoa Narrow Gauge Railway arrivng at midday.

This was the end of the formal tramp. We would have time to enjoy lunch and ride the steam train and go back to Nelsonís house at our leisure. About half the group chose to stay and ride the train; the rest carried on to Nelsonís home to visit friends, relax or do some retail therapy - one lady bought a DVD player from herself at The Warehouse in Whangaparaoa.

The narrow-gauge train consisted of a small steam loco hauling two carriages. It pulled out of the station at 12:30pm to cross a viaduct and go past the animal park and into a tunnel. When we came out of the tunnel we passed a scarecrow then crossed a second and higher viaduct before entering the home straight. The train did the circuit three times for the ten-minute ride.
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Afterwards we had a look at the animal park with its birds and childrenís playground. The train went past just after 1pm - train rides run every half hour subject to demand; the 1:30pm train did not run.
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The walk back to Nelsonís home along Whangaparaoa Rd and Marellen Drive took less than half an hour. From 4pm onwards people began to arrive for the BBQ dinner, which had a Hawaii/beach theme. Traditional Hawaiian music was playing in the background on a CD player; people came along in Hawaiian costume that included button-up Hawaiian/beach theme shirts, leis (garlands) and lavalavas (a type of skirt worn by both men and women).
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We followed the traditional ladies-first in lining up for a yummy smorgasboard of meats and salads, followed by an equal variety of dessert.

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Linda started the formal part of the evening by referring to Acts 1:8 you will be witnesses to the ends of the earth, and saying that New Zealand was at the end of the earth, as well as handing out presents of chocolate to some people who had birthdays, etc.
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She then handed over to Club president Phillip Donnell who shared an acronym devotions on the word GIFTS: Godís gifts are given in Grace; they are Innumerable, Free and Timely (he cited how earlier this year he was in financial difficulty, and he managed to sell his land on Waiheke Island just at the right time), and the greatest gift is Salvation through the Son (Jesus Christ).

Linda then gave out a big chocolate prize to the best dressed person - a little girl dressed in a Hawaiian string skirt and a lei of flowers with a hairband to match. She then handed out the presents - each one of us was asked to wrap and bring a $2-shop pressie - and we were invited to swap them. Presents ranged from household items to cosmetics to chocolates - one present was a CD with about 15 mystery tracks. Because the evening was almost finished, the lady who ended up with this pressie did not get to play it to everyone so it still remained a mystery - someone suggested it could be a collection of funny stuff recorded off 60s/70s radio station Coastís weekday comedy cuts!
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To cap the evening off we were whisked away to the mountains of Italy on Nelsonís data-projector plane to view the majestic scenery he had recently tramped through.