Auckland Baptist Tramping Club

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

Shakespear Regional Park at the end of Whangaparaoa Peninsula has always been a favourite trip for the Club, with 15 people turning up in a bright sunshine that would turn liquid just twenty minutes before the finish. We left The Bracken at 1:30pm to meet up with more people at the carpark at Army Bay. As it was Mothers’ Day our leader Lynley gave out mini crunchie bars to all the mums, as well as to the longest-standing member of the Club John who was a foundation member.

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We set out from the Army Bay carpark about 2:30pm taking the Heritage Trail track, the only track in the park that goes through native bush. We had a brief stop to see a waterfall.
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From there we continued on climbing gradually through the forest and then out to open pasture - and a strong westerly wind - and up to the lookout on the highest point in the park. We had a panoramic view all around - east to Tiritiri Matangi Island, south to Rangitoto Island in the hazy distance, and west over the Whangaparaoa Peninsula.
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We split up into two groups - this had effectively been done at the waterfall, with the faster group leaving the lookout as the slower group arrived. The slower group led by June took the direct track to Te Haruhi Bay; the faster group with Lynley took the Tiri Tiri Track which went to the end of the Whangaparaoa Peninsula. Some steps led down to Pink Beach on the rocky foreshore; we could look across to Tiritiri Matangi Island and were reminded of God’s promise to Noah that He would never flood the whole world again.
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Back on Tiri Tiri Track we continued southwards and soon began to climb up to the hilltops. We frequently saw flocks of pukekos throughout the afternoon foraging in the grass for worms etc attracted to the surface by the wet weather.
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We dropped down to the eastern end of Te Haruhi beach to be met be some of the slower group. We all went to the woolshed - our leaders had arranged permission to go inside to see the displays of early farm life with the Shakespear family. The woolshed was originally on the foreshore, but had been moved to its present location inland when the regiuonal park was developed, and is closed to the general public but available to groups such as school trips.
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Being Mothers’ Day Lynley read the day’s devotions from The Word For Today about the emotions of a mum and her love and care for her children, and in doing so does the most important job in the world. She then told us about the history of Shakespear Regional Park from an information sheet, starting with Maori occupation from the 1600s through to the Crown’s purchase of all land from Takapuna to Te Arai (near Mangawhai) in 1854 for subdivision, and the purchase of the present property by Robert Shakespear in 1883. During the depression of the 1930s the Shakespear family grew melons and pumpkins and developed the renowned Crown Pumpkin, and during World War 2 the army purchased 130ha of the land to set up a military camp. The Auckland Regional Authority (now Auckland Regional Council) bought the property in 1967  to turn into the present regional park.
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Back on our feet again we climbed up the paddocks behind the woolshed, with clear signs in the greying sky that the sunshine was in the process of changing. By the time we reached the top, where the track back to Army Bay crosses the access road, the sunshine turned into liquid form. Raincoats donned, some of us decided to walk the road back to the carpark while the others carried on the walk, dropping down to Okoromai Bay and then through a strip of bush skirting wetland areas to finish at the carpark, as the liquefied sunshine became intense.
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We were out by 5pm and glad to be in the warmth and shelter of our cars as we headed home from an interesting afternoon on the edge of suburban Auckland.

COST: $10