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Saturday, May 29, 2010

NEW ZEALAND – NORTH HEAD

 

North Head Reserve Once used to defend Auckland's Harbor, North Head's history can now be peacefully experienced by three different hiking paths … Coastal, Tunnels or Land.

 

Each path takes about 20-30 minutes to complete. I chose the Coastal Path as a gentle sea breeze blows across North Head.

Cheltenlam Beach I begin my hike on a carpet soft grass path with a view of distant islands and Cheltenham Beach a hundred feet below.

 

 

 

Framed Island

Around a few curves and a rugged coastline with black rocks can be seen from above.

Floral Mix I am entertained by the crashing waves as birds chirp in the canopy of trees along my path. Nature's noises are relaxing as I enjoy the scenery complimented with occasional wildflowers.

 

Purple Flowers

 

 

 

 

 

 

Coastal Stairs  Soon I reach a narrow stairway passage that I descend to about 10 above sea level and continue my trek.

 

 

Near the end of the Coastal Path I discover a tunnel entrance but I am a bit nervous to explore it without a flashlight.

Searchlight Tunnel A cautious short walk in and there is archway of light to my right. I make a dash for it.

 

 

 

Thanks to my camera flash, I am rewarded with a bit of history left behind in the form of railroad tracks that were used to move artillery and machinery into various positions around the fort.

Tunnel Tracks

 

Retracing my steps I find another tunnel darker than the first but I can see no light at the end of it. I am nervous but my curiosity is peeked.  I set my camera flash to manual-on and with my heart racing I run in a sprint into total darkness.

Just as I am thinking “What the hell am I doing?”.…..IT HITS ME! Light is shining down a set of staircase that takes me out of the abyss.

Bunker View Descending from North Head, I leave a set of size twelve footprints as I walk along a tranquil and lonely Cheltenham Beach.

 

 

Tsunami Although in a Tsunami Zone, beautiful homes line the waterfront giving their occupants spectacular ocean views with sailboats riding the west winds.

 

Along Vauxhall Rd a short stop to quench my thirst with a “Creamin Soda” and I make way through another cute neighborhood to summit Mt. Victoria Reserve.

 

Disappearing Gun Disappearing Gun

 

 

 

 

Fort Victoria Vista The views are rewarding along with the brief friendship I share with a few four legged “kiwis”.

 

 

 

Best Friend

 

 

 

 

 

School lets out as head back towards the ferry and the air is filled with “cute” little accents. “Come on Charlie, let's take the crossing”.

The walk back offers numerous shops, restaurants and bakeries. An alluring scent and I can't resist the temptation to enjoy a date filled scone... Dr Atkins be dammed.

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