One thing that really fires me up is finding cool little corners of cities that few people know about. I admit it; I love to be that guy who seemingly knows all the little secrets. If life were a video game, I would have located all of the hidden power-ups and treasure chests :)
One question I frequently ask, then, is “how do I get under / on top of / behind that thing?”. Sticking to the path is lame. Let’s explore!
Auckland is divided into the North Shore and…I’ve never heard anyone call it the South Shore, so I guess it’s just Auckland City. These two bits are connected by the Harbour Bridge. In the photo above, if you can wrest your eyes from the world’s most photogenic city for a moment, you can see the Harbour Bridge stretching across in the middle distance. I wanted to get underneath the bridge.
As it turns out, this is quite easy. Plug Sulphur Beach Rd into your GPS and set off. The road you see in that photo is in fact Motorway 1, which is the highway which runs over the Harbour Bridge.
Once you run out of road, you will need to continue on foot.
On your way, stop to admire the cool stairs these people have in their backyard :)
This looks promising.
At this point, you are actually on a road again. You may discover this to your surprise when a car swings around that curve. Try to avoid this fate if possible.
It’s like a little beach! So cool.
Wait…that’s…Auckland! You know what I’m going to do! But not yet…I’m still exploring.
The Harbour Bridge has inner and outer lanes. Once the traffic got too bad, rather than reconstruct the whole thing the city hired some engineers to come in and bung some extra bits onto each side. Crossing the bridge for the first time can be somewhat confusing as a result, since there are barriers preventing you from merging from an inner to an outer lane (rule of thumb: there’s never a reason where you *have* to use the inner lanes, even if your GPS tells you to. But if you’re taking the first two exits after the bridge, you will need to be in an outer lane. So when in doubt, choose an outer lane).
The outer lanes are on top of this rock formation. I did not scale the rock formation, mostly because in America they would assume someone doing that was a terrorist trying to blow up the bridge and probably shoot him fifty thousand times. I think New Zealand is a bit more sober in this regard, but “don’t make the news” is always a standing goal for any of my trips so I figured I wouldn’t risk it.
A tiny pier! And Devonport in the background (that would be Mt. Victoria, not to be confused with Wellington’s Mt. Victoria, neither of which should be confused with an actual mountain).
Why, I do believe this tiny pier would be a great location to take some pictures of Auckland from! (This one’s just a teaser; I have the proper pictures at the end of the post)
It’s the bridge as seen from the pier! Right about this point it started raining and I decided to beat feet back under the bridge for shelter.
Rangitoto is peeking up and saying “hi”. Man, this little spot is money: great view of Auckland, interesting angle on Rangitoto, and even some stairs back in that person’s backyard.
If you choose to walk back along the other side of the bridge, and if the tide happens to be out, you will see one of Auckland’s vast sand flats along the harbor.
This part of the trail runs literally right alongside the motorway. Does anyone else get self-conscious walking along the side of a major road? As though the motorists are all looking at you and judging you somehow? Just me? Let’s move on then.
So how do we get from this side of the motorway to the other side, where my car is? If you guessed a totally sweet tunnel then you guessed right!
In case for some reason you thought that driving your car in this tunnel would be a good idea, the sign tells you no.
So that’s my cool little spot! It’s a great place to chill, or maybe have a prayer walk, or see the city from a different angle. And speaking of seeing the city, the photos you knew were coming:
Auckland! As seen from the pier.
We’ll see a bit more of the North Shore next time…and I may even sneak in another photo of Auckland! Stay tuned!