Sunday 14 October 2007
I've developed a habit of taking our family off on a whim to explore some park or reserve in Auckland because it looks interesting on the map. Yesterday we explored parts of Greenhithe. The primary goal was to check out Taihinu Historical Reserve, which should have a view across Hellyer's Creek to the shores of Beachhaven where I grew up. I found the head of the track down to the reserve (which someone has obscured with a makeshift wire fence, grrr), but the track was a bit steep, overgrown and too wet to tackle yesterday. We'll come back at a more suitable time.
Then we visited Marae Reserve at the end of Marae Road. My map suggests it has tracks heading north and south along the beach but as far as I can tell they don't exist, it's just a clifftop lookout with a nice view over Herald Island. Next stop, a shoreline reserve at the end of Kingfisher Grove. This has a nice view up Lucas Creek, but again, tracks shown on my map don't exist.
So we went back along Roland Road and found a walkway that cuts across a small creek to Churchouse Road. It's in a reserve used to graze pet sheep, and a few were gamboling around. Also backing on to it was someone's paddock with a large pig and some chickens. The kids enjoyed watching the animals and there were a lot of blooming lilies to enjoy too. At Churchouse Road the walkway ends at a playground in Wainoni Park. This playground is quite interesting --- including a maypole, a tractor, a very wide slide, a huge roundabout, and an installation of channels and gates for playing with flowing water. Most intriguing is a set of large plastic cups on stems set in the ground at an angle of about thirty degrees from the vertical. You can sit in them and spin around. The intriguing part is that if you just set yourself spinning gently then through no apparent effort, the spinning seems to speed up over time! It's a very convincing illusion of violating conservation of energy. I think that the secret is that because of the incline, as you spin you unconsciously try to straighten yourself vertically, and this motion drives the spinning somehow. Anyway, definitely worth checking out! Be careful with your kids though, because the spinning can be a runaway process...