7. Onepoto Basin/ Te Kopua o Matakerepo

Visited 2 January 2013

Maori for “the short beach”, it’s Auckland’s oldest volcano and used to be home to… you guessed it -a short beach. The base of the crater is 61 metres below the current ground level. Sediment shows that before the salt-marsh and mud-flats were drained in the 1950’s it used to be a fresh water lake, much like big brother Pupuke is now.

Onepoto Domain is situated between Tuff Crater to the north and Onewa road interchange to the south

Onepoto Domain is situated between Tuff Crater to the North and Onewa road interchange to the South

I was a bit tired after already having walked around Tuff Crater (and back) but decided a stroll in a greener place would be worth it and I wasn’t disappointed. This turned out to be more a tour of birdlife than volcanic landforms (you have been warned!).

I took the small path off Exmouth road. There’s an official proper sign with a map and everything but nothing much else to indicate it might be anything more than a vacant lot until part way down the slope…

The old sign

The old sign

I continued walking sideways on a grassy slope for a while thinking to myself “Mum would hate this uneven ground and no path”, then stopped to snap this picture…

First official glimpse of the basin floor (behind me) and a lonesome puriri tree

First official glimpse of the basin floor (behind me) and a lonesome puriri tree

I came to a fork in the path and headed off to the right to follow the banks of a stream to a little copse (that’s just typical me seeking shade again). Found a wee bridge to cross.

Talk about getting your ducks in a row!

Talk about getting your ducks in a row! Or does life imitate art? Does the song “5 Little ducks went swimming one day” ring any bells?

Had a bit of a look-see at the waterfowl around the lake. Mostly just ducks and such.

White-faced heron hunts lunch

White-faced heron hunts lunch in the shallows

I then headed out to the main entrance off Sylvan Ave/Tarahanga street, just to see what it would look like for most people arriving at Onepoto Domain. Pretty nice, as it turned out.

Are these not the most decorative pedestrian path protectors you've ever seen? Art Nouveau influence perhaps?

Are these not the most decorative pedestrian path protectors you’ve ever seen? Art Nouveau influence perhaps?

A little further round, past the car park, there is a playground for children that is a cut above the ordinary. It was getting a thrashing from about 30 children today, so no photos. It features all the fantastic stations expected of a modern playground plus more. “More” being a flying fox type thing  and a scooter/bike cycle path with centrelines and roundabouts. Teach them how to be traffic aware and road safe at a young age. Yes, please!

Who knows the road rules?

Who knows the road rules?

 

Give way to Pukekos

Give way to Pukekos

 

Look! There goes one now

Look! There goes one now

I startled that poor pukeko well and good when he was just going about his business of foraging in some reeds in a ditch. He gave me a good idea: I left the play area behind and continued my counter-clockwise walk around the upper slopes of the basin floor. Before long I found the small track leading off to the right. I passed a few backyards, a clearing and then found myself in “bush” or more like under-brush. This part of the walk felt the most deserted of all. I could pretend, for a moment, that I didn’t live in NZ’s largest city, that I wasn’t in fact passing the overgrown backyards of well-to-do suburbia and that the sea was nowhere near.

Almost overgrown

Almost overgrown

I continued following the trail and was grateful when it became a mini board-walk. I say mini because if I had met someone walking the other way there most likely would’ve been muddy shoes, as the ground was getting rather squelchy underfoot.

A fledgling fantail was squawking about in the undergrowth demanding food, then with it’s stomach appeased it set about roosting with it’s folks on a high up twig. It was sooo cute to see this little family of fantails, about 6 of them, all squished together like a giant fluffy caterpillar balancing on a branch.

All good paths must come to an end. *Sniff*

All good paths must come to an end. *Sigh*

After a while of peacefulness the path started to rise and I could glimpse the same hi-vis orange fencing I saw when I entered the park and knew my journey would soon be ended. But not before trying to photograph a monarch butterfly flitting about -yeah-nah, that didn’t turn out at all well but I did hear a noise in the trees behind me and spotted this tui quenching his thirst.

Camo tui looking like a leaf

Camo tui looking like a leaf

This is a great place for children (but maybe not babies or toddlers due to all the water). My only regret is that I never got to take my nephews here whilst they were still living in Auckland.

One thought on “7. Onepoto Basin/ Te Kopua o Matakerepo

  1. […] Instead of returning to my car I decided to exit Tuff Crater at Bailey’s Reserve which would take me up to Exmouth road and on to my next conquest: Onepoto Domain. […]

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