Ever since I caught my first glimpse of Puketutu Island from atop One Tree Hill, I had a strange fascination with it. I did an uncharacteristic amount of research, even going so far as to ask on the /r/newzealand subreddit about it. Information on the Internet is inconsistent. From what I gathered:
- It’s private land
- There are vague plans to turn it into a public park, but nobody’s actually doing anything about it
- It’s possible to get to parts of the island by foot or by car
- You may or may not get asked to leave when doing so or encounter a locked gate
I was heading out to Mangere anyway to see Mangere Mountain and Ambury Park, but we all know the real reason: I wanted to check out Puketutu Island.
Well, I did. And here’s how it went down.
Right outside the entrance to Puketutu is a wastewater processing facility. I decided to park out here and walk in, as I had heard tell of people jogging into Puketutu before. Although I am very evidently not a jogger, I could plausibly (and truthfully) claim to be on a walk.
Alright, so at least the signage is good.
There’s a reasonably well maintained gravel track that runs through the wastewater plant.
There are also two bridges, a walking bridge (left) and a road bridge (right). Do be careful, as when I was walking back I encountered a presumed idiot driving his truck on the walking bridge.
This sign pretty much removed any remaining feeling that I was sneaking onto the island for covert exploration. As you can see, there’s even a public carpark at the other end. I totally could have driven right over the bridge (which might not have been a bad idea, as the bridge does get a little tedious).
I’d say the bridges are about a kilometer long.
Walking them takes even longer if you stop to photograph ducks. Worth it.
Most of the island is fenced off with the ultra-high-security fencing seen here. I really should have taken more photos of the carpark and walked around the island more, but the anticlimax after thinking I would be ninja-ing my way onto the island was a bit of a letdown :)
The gravel track continues to this peninsular bit and then just sort of stops. Do keep an ear out while walking, as someone drove up in a truck while I was out here. I had a brief hope that maybe he would tell me I had to leave and then we could have a bit of an on-foot chase through the forbidden bits, but he just gave me a bit of a wave and then turned around and headed back. I’m not sure what he was doing, but he wasn’t a bouncer.
There’s even a nice little bench out on the point. Fine, I give up, this is just a normal walking trail.
These aren’t even robotic cyberducks or spies of Saruman.
After taking some photos and lamenting the utter lack of mystery and intrigue in my life, I turned around and walked back to my car. But let the record show: you can both walk and drive onto Puketutu Island. If they do turn it into a park I bet it will be pretty cool!
So that’s the end of my exploration of Mangere. I hope you enjoyed following along with me. It may not have high adventure like the Waitakeres or the gorgeous views of Whangaparaoa Peninsula, but I think we can agree that there’s much more to Mangere than just the airport.
I am honestly super stoked about the next several posts. Coming up next is a two-parter covering the longest hike I did in 2015. Next, I drove out to a place I’ve been wanting to see for ages and took some gorgeous photos. And then there’s some truly fantastic stuff leading up to what was surely my most epic adventure of the year! I am really looking forward to sharing it all here on this blog!