Come with me now, on a journey through time and space. Or more specifically, a super-fantastic ride through a beautiful part of Auckland. For the full experience, make your way (preferably by bike) to Hugo Johnston Drive in Penrose. Being a predominantly industrial area, the traffic is pretty gruesome during the week, but it’s fairly quiet evenings and weekends. If you want to travel there in a stylish new electric vehicle – the nearest railway station is Penrose. You could also ride there via Cornwall Park (as I usually do).
At the end of Hugo Johnston Drive is factory. It was built to manufacture teen vampire fiction. But since the demand has now moved to dystopian future romance novels, or anything written, read or even sounding like John Green, this factory is about to be mothballed. To the right of it is the entrance to the cycleway. Don’t worry if you see lost or furtive looking individuals wandering around, they’re probably just buying & selling drugs, or dogging. Or doing something else that is perfectly innocent. Pretend you haven’t seen them and follow the path.
Welcome to the Waikaraka Cycleway – let it be your guide to the wonders of the Mangere waterfront. Sights like…
One of the Ports of Auckland’s other container storage facilities.
The building where the Auckland City Council stores crashed UFOs and performs alien autopsies.
The lovely Manukau Harbour.
Did you ever wonder what happened to all the beautiful historic buildings that were knocked down during the 1980s Ugly Glass Tower Building Boom? Well here they are being carefully stored for future archaeologists to sift through and wonder what the fuck people were thinking.
I think this used to be His Majesty’s Theatre.
The Lovely New Mangere Bridge.
After you ride under the New Mangere Bridge, hang a left and ride over the Old Mangere Bridge. This is a very popular fishing spot, and apparently seals are seen here occasionally (when they are released from their contractual obligations to promote Papakura car washes). Over the bridge, turn right on to Kiwi Esplanade. This is a pleasant road that follows the waterfront, and will take you all the way Ambury Park. If you ride along there on a Saturday or Sunday morning you may be lucky enough to see flocks of brightly coloured roadies. At the end of the road, go through the gate and follow the gravel.
In Ambury park you will find pukekos, sheep, Clydesdale horses, chickens, rabbits (both wild and domesticated) and small children (both wild and domesticated). After pausing here to admire the forbearance of the animals, you can go through the two gates, turn left and ride south to explore the coastal wonderland (that will start to smell like poo after a kilometre or so).
You can ride around the Mangere Basin, and all the way out to Puketutu Island. In fact I encourage you to ride out to Puketutu Island – it is beautiful and quiet. There are tracks that run halfway around each side of the island, both sides are worth exploring.
There is also a track that goes around to Oruarangi Rd and the carpark next to the wharf. Be aware that these tracks are shared with people walking, so be nice to any you come across. Once I was trapped giving way to a large group or tired & sweaty teenagers who kept asking me if “the bus” was nearby. I told them it was just around the corner. And it may well have been.
I usually ride to the Oruarangi Rd wharf and then along a track leading through the Otuataua Stonefields.
From there I cut across a field (where there are sometimes actual cows) to meet up with the end of Ihumatao Quarry Road, and then back to Mangere on sealed roads.
I’m honestly a little reluctant to share this ride, I’m afraid that if too many people use it then I won’t be able to enjoy my selfish solitude. But recently I’ve seen a (ludicrous) proposal to stick a motorway through the Mangere waterfront, and there’s a plan to put 500 townhouses at Ihumatao. So maybe we should all just go and enjoy the place now, before it’s all ruined.
Route here that will take you on a loop starting & finishing in Newmarket.