In previous posts I have traced the path of the Oakley Creek Walkway upstream through various parks and reserves along the new Shared Path system of cycleways/walkways. In this final part of my journey I follow Oakley Creek (the longest waterway in Auckland) from Mt Roskill War Memorial Park through to its (somewhat inauspicious) origins to a previously swampy park.
From the War Memorial, Oakley Creek disappears into a culvert under May Road and continues along behind and under houses roughly along Memorial Ave and then Somerset Road, going under Dominion Road and Winstone Road to emerge at a fork (the other arm of the creek doesn’t appear to go very far) on the corner of Mt Roskill Intermediate School and then along past Mt Roskill Grammar School. I pick up its route outside Mt Roskill Grammar and follow it under the Southwestern Motorway (I take the walkway over the top!) and into Keith Hay Park. Around the motorway there are several swampy areas and the creek is still quite substantial. Ducks and pukeko (swamp hens) appear to appreciate the area.
Once in Keith Hay Park Oakley Creek is again regimented within a concrete channel that flows in a straight line along the edge of the park and giving the impression that it is little more than a storm water drain. In some places it is reduced down to a bare trickle but there are some fairly substantial stone bridges over it that look as though they have been there a long time and that the quantities of water can be considerably more than they are now.
Although under appreciated in this park, I am pleased to see that it is again integrated into community sports fields and playgrounds. The park also houses the Keith Hay Gymnasium and Cameron Pool complex. There are North and South Sports Fields and the park backs on to the Akarana Golf Course providing a substantial green space. There are walking tracks right around Keith Hay Park (but not into the golf course) giving a reasonable length circuit to follow.
At the southern end of the park, Oakley Creek disappears into a culvert behind the Eden Roskill Cricket Club and continues underground beneath Hay Park School. That is the last I can see of the creek and that is where the creek ends on the Friends of Oakley Creek website, but an article I read about the creek says that it originates in the swampy area in Molley Green Reserve not far away. This seems like a plausible option so I drive to Molley Green Reserve only to discover that the origin of Oakley Creek appears to be a concrete storm water drain sunk into a hollow in the ground – this is bit of an anticlimactic end to my journey but better than discovering it started at the back of the cricket club.
The full Oakley Creek Walkway covers 11-12 kilometres and could be walked in a single trip if you arranged transport to/from either end. I completed the trip (omitting the Underwood and Walmsley Park section) in 3 parts: Waterview through to New North Road, Alan Wood Reserve, and then War Memorial Park and Keith Hay Park together. In each part I was able to park the car and walk the route in both directions giving an approx 1-1.5 hour walk.