This year I am enjoying a Staycation at home, making the most of my new outdoor living space. I am also exploring the Shared Paths (walkways/cycleways) that have been opened up with the new Waterview Tunnel. I love that these paths are connecting up our green spaces and making it so much easier to visit some of Auckland’s hidden gems such as the Oakley Creek Walkway that has Auckland City’s only natural waterfall (with a not-too-shabby 6m drop).
I used to visit the Oakley Creek Walkway quite often 10 years or so ago when it was first established and there was lots of tree planting going on. The Friends of Oakley Creek have done an amazing job with the section of the creek that runs between Great North Road and Unitec through to the Phyllis Street Reserve.
Over the past few years my health has meant that the distance has been too great for me (and whilst I could have taken a car to a nearer point I just haven’t got around to it). So now that I am able to walk greater distances again, it has been wonderful to rediscover this wonderful jewel and enjoy exploring the now well established bush clad paths and bridges alongside the creek. The shaded paths make it wonderful for summertime walks.
I have been going there fairly early in the morning and enjoying the relative peace and quiet (just a few other walkers (and dogs) but a lot of time to just enjoy my surroundings undisturbed). I have been amazed at how much wildlife there is – particularly the native (and other) birds: tuis, wood pigeons, fantails, kingfishers, parakeets. In some areas you can hear the background hum of traffic noise but certainly not enough to detract from the amazing birdsong, far more than I have heard in other more remote areas. I would stop often to watch the tuis swooping around the valley calling to each other or the fantails making the most of insects I disturbed as I walked. There was a hum of insects along the way, with lots of butterflies (mainly Monarchs and Cabbage Whites) flying about and even a few dragonflies darting around the banks.
I decided to take my phone with me and document the walk, trying to capture some of the beautiful sights along the way. I wasn’t quick enough to photograph the birds this time (except for one fantail that still moved from being right up close to me by the time I got my phone out).