Up North of Albany on the North Shore, not too far South of Whangaparaoa, is this lovely place called Okura Bush Scenic Reserve (the sign says Okura Estuary Scenic Reserve, which must be its rapper name or something).
I wasn’t able to find a lot of helpful information about it online (and yes, I did also try searching under Okura Estuary Scenic Reserve), so just in case I ever become famous enough that this blog winds up on the first page of a Google search for this place, let me help you find it: the road you’re looking for is Haigh Access Rd. Not Haighs Rd; that will betray you. Go all the way down Haigh Access Rd and you’ll see a small carpark and the sign that’s at the top of this post.
(Weirdly, I don’t think you can get to Haighs Rd from the inaccurately-named Haigh Access Rd without going down the private driveway seen here. I think if you try, the goat also seen here will demonstrate to you the error of your ways.)
Also note that no dogs are allowed in this area, as some poor folks discovered after getting there.
After leaving the carpark there’s a smallish bit of trail leading to the semi-eponymous estuary which we have to cross. The trail here is very well done, as it is for most — but not all — of this track.
The trail runs by these mud flats with this weirdly zigzagging river. At least, that’s what I thought, because even after living here for half a year I still don’t understand how the sea works. This is low tide.
There’s a great view across the estuary to the rolling hills on the other side! Even with the mud and the scraggly brush, it still cuts a striking scene.
If you Zoom and Enhance to the left-hand side a bit you’ll see a lone pohutukawa tree strutting its stuff and adding a splash of red to the landscape. You go, tree!
After just a short hike we get to the bridge over the estuary.
The view from the bridge is really just more of the same.
Once we get to the other side, the trail continues on and starts gaining elevation. It also passes some pretty sweet trees and stuff here.
As the trail goes up, occasionally there’s a glimpse of the estuary and the land on the other side.
Most of the time the view is blocked by foliage and rocks, though.
Eventually the trail starts climbing in earnest. These stairs are a bit too well-maintained to be properly cool and exciting, but well-maintained is good too. This bit of trail is still a bit less than 5km, so even though it climbs a bit it’s still not too bad.
More cool tree action.
I really like the weird visual effect here. Someone plomped the Sahara Desert down in the middle of the estuary! And the blue of the sky too. Such a cool shot! *pats self on back*
Not too much longer after this point, there starts to be some sort of background noise. There’s no highway running by here…what could it be?
As we round a bend, it becomes clear: looks like a quarry maybe?
The industrial machinery quickly fades from the mind when looking out at this view, though. Wow. So beautiful!
This seems like a good place to stop for this post. We’re maybe a third of the way out, distance-wise, and trying to cram the whole hike into one post would make it pretty long. See you next time! In the meantime, go back and enjoy those last few pictures again :)