This long weekend the weather was variable, frequent showers but also some nice sunny periods. We tried to make the most of it. On Saturday we took some lunch out and visited Waikowhai Park for the first time. It was great --- wonderful view over the Manukau harbour, lovely green lawns, a nice playground, all surrounded by a large tract of amazing bush. The bush actually covers the entire hillside from the top of the ridge down to the water, so you can't see houses and you can barely hear any traffic --- it's very easy to forget that you're actually still near the heart of Auckland. My only disappointment was that the flying fox has been disabled.
Today we went back with some friends to check out some of the walking tracks in that area. Due to the rain they were a bit slippery, and there's a lot of up-and-down as you descend to beaches and climb back up hills, but we had a really good time. The forest there is the major stand of original old-growth forest left on the main isthmus, and it shows; tree ferns there were as big as any I've seen anywhere (some must have been six metres high or more).
The view out to Puketutu Island in the Manukau harbour reminded me that the island is going to become a park. It's going to be wonderful, the view from the end of the island out to the Manukau Heads should be awesome.
It's almost embarrassing that in two years we'd never been to this great park about ten minutes drive away. But Auckland has so many good parks, even dedicated explorers like us will take years to do them all justice ... and they keep adding new ones to make it harder. (Today we were thinking of going out to the Hunua Falls ... that's another area full of places to explore, just an hour away, and as far as I can recall I've never been there!)