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07 May 2014

Going For A Walk: Whakanewha Park, Waiheke Island {Or Zombie Wallabies Attack}


We went for a couple of great walks in Whakanewha Regional Park on Waiheke Island. If you're coming by boat, you anchor in Rocky Bay on the southern side of the island. If you don't have a boat, it is easy enough to take the bus or car to the park. The area was originally occupied by the Maori and you can see the remains of shell middens, storage pits, terraces and the site of a on the headland. The Europeans also used the area beginning in the 1850s for trading, boat building and forestry activities. It is a great place to go for a walk and soak up some history, as well as enjoy the native bush, the beach and the views of the Hauraki Gulf. 

Rocky Bay was also the location of another one of our dinghy misadventures which you can read about here. All I can say is if you're going to do this walk, make sure you check the tide tables and time everything accordingly. Otherwise, it is a long, long way back to your boat carrying your dinghy.

There is a big, sandy beach at Rocky Bay that you can park your dinghy on. With a name like Rocky Bay, I expected more rocks. I was pleasantly surprised. You'll notice how the foreshore has dried out due to the low tide. Somebody didn't check the tide tables before they set off on their little adventure! You can also see a large area fenced off to protect the nesting area for the New Zealand dotterels, which you need to walk around to get to the park entrance.


This statue marks the dotterel nesting ground area. It represents the birds as "alert, attentive and protective - constantly vigilant, always vulnerable." The speckled egg represents fertility and hope for this endangered species. I think the population has increased to over 2,000 birds now due to conservation efforts. So, if you visit Rocky Bay, don't linger near the nesting area - leave the poor birds in peace.


There are a number of tracks in the park. You can do a loop track (approx 5 kms) which takes you through the forest and along the Cascades stream and waterfalls. There are some great views of the island and Hauraki Gulf along the way. You can also take the Pā Track, which takes you to the site (obviously), and along the way there are a number of archaeological sites you can see.

The trails are really well-formed and fairly easy walks. Which is great because the first day we were there, Scott forgot his shoes on the boat and went for a walk anyway. A lesser person would have demanded that we return to the boat for their shoes. I would definitely be the lesser person.
Gotcha! Birds don't generally like to sit still and get their pictures taken.

This is part of the Cascades waterfall. To be honest, I've seen better waterfalls, but it is pretty little area and you won't be sorry that you visited.
If you live in New Zealand for any period of time, you will end up eating kumara, whether you like it or not. I do not like it. But occasionally you go to a dinner party and it ends up on your plate so you choke it down with a lot of water and pretend it was super delicious. I do draw the line at beetroot though, which is a challenge because I haven't met a food that Kiwis don't think tastes better with it piled on top. I just can't pretend to like the stuff. But back to kumara - it is basically a sweet potato or yam. I never liked sweet potatos or yams growing up and I certainly don't like kumara now that I am grown up. I think kumara must be the official tuber of New Zealand. It was an important food for the Maori and continues to be an important food for all Kiwis today. If you take the Pa Track, you can see the remains of Maori kumara storage pits.
And here is what a kumara storage pit looks like. Exciting I know. I'm married to an archaeologist so holes in the ground are really exciting stuff. Or at least that's what Scott tells me.
We were walking through the bush and Scott was taking some movies with his camera. I thought it looked very spooky so I started telling Scott that wouldn't it be great if he could make a movie where evil zombie wallabies jumped out from under the palm fronds and attacked the hapless tourists out for a walk. This is the weird kind of thing I think of from time to time. I must have been very excited about my film making idea because I said it in a very loud voice just when someone was coming down toward the track towards us. She looked a little freaked out (and who wouldn't be if you started hearing someone shouting about zombie wallabies with knives) so she quickly (and I mean quickly) walked past us and headed away from us as fast as she could. Hopefully, she made it back to the beach before the wallabies got her. This is probably a good place to end this post. I don't really think I can top zombie wallabies.

Walks on Friday & Saturday, 28-29 March 2014

Linked up to Travel Tuesday with Bonnie, Kaelene, Sammy & Van.

16 comments:

  1. Wow! What a beautiful place! xx

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    1. It is a very popular place to visit from Auckland and deservedly so - really beautiful!

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  2. Love Waiheke! Especially the wineries!

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    1. Waiheke is a great island because it has something for everyone - the wineries, places to go tramping, the cafes and restaurants and they even have a Countdown!

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  3. I am just starting to get used to having to adjust to the tide! I always forget too. Funny. :) Also, super amused by the Kiwi foods and zombie wallabies. :)

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    1. Thanks for stopping by Alison! This blog does take some weird tangents from time to time - like zombie wallabies. When you go for a walk in New Zealand, you have to constantly be on your guard :-)

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  4. Evil zombie wallabies, haha :D Though I have to admit it really looks a little bit spooky on your pictures! But I would take the risk and visit New Zealand if I ever get the chance :)

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    1. Yes, you should always make sure you're on alert when you go walking in NZ :-)

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  5. Love exploring trails, looks beautiful.

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    1. It is a really nice park - and so close to Auckland. Just a sailboat or ferry ride away.

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  6. Hmm I have never heard of kumara before. Interesting. I will have to ask a Kiwi friend about this. I do love sweet potatoes though, so maybe I would like them!

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    1. I think they are a type of sweet potato so you should love them! Be interesting to hear what your Kiwi friend has to say about them. Cheers - Ellen

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  7. Oh I went to Waiheke Island a few years ago and loved it! It is hysterical about the zombie wallabies! I'm new to your blog - I found it through travel tuesday.

    Elizabeth from Wanderlust (luyoutravel.blogspot.com)

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    1. Hi Elizabeth - thanks for checking our blog out. Waiheke is such a great place - glad you got a chance to get there and that you didn't have a run in with those zombie wallabies!

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  8. Ahhhh kumara - the one NZ food that I actually miss from my childhood. There's nothing like eating hot and salty kumara chips from the Fish & Chip shop on the beach as the sun goes down...
    Claire xx | somewhere... beyond the sea

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    1. It's always that way - there are certain childhood foods you always remember. There is nothing I love more than some fish & chips on the beach but only with spud fries :-)

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