24. Te Hopua a Rangi/Gloucester Park

Gloucester Park

The only way to really envisage Te Hopua a Rangi as a volcano is from the air      (or satellite; thanks Google)

This 500 metre explosion crater used to be called Geddes Basin as it was a shallow basin where small boats could moor. Prior to the south side being breached by the sea, fresh water used to collect in the crater. The basin days came to an end in the 1930’s when the entrance silted up, fill was dumped and the resulting sports field named Gloucester Park in honour of the Duke of Gloucester and was used as army barraks in WW2.


The filigree yet gaping maw of the pedestrian tunnel

For this expedition I had my friend Avril Fleur accompany me. We parked near the cul-de-sac of Onehunga Mall road and, wondering how we would cross under the motorway, soon came upon the rather decorative solution.


Inside it’s a lively mural of native birds and scenery -very nicely done

I wanted to stay here and admire the artwork but we had a volcano to explore.

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Mangere Mountain, Coronation road/footbridge and Holcim silos seen from the South-Western motorway (thanks Google)

We popped out on the South side of the motorway and crossing over Onehunga Harbour road, we walked along the footbridge portion of Coronation road before deciding that every step that brought us closer to Mangere Mountain was taking us further from Te Hopua a Rangi and we’d better turn back.


People fishing off Coronation road (what used to be the main bridge across the Mangere Inlet). Looking south toward Mangere Mountain

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Faces in places, anyone? I present the moustachioed Aotea Sea Scout’s clubhouse perched on the edge of Onehunga Harbour road (thanks Google)

Following the shoreline alongside Onehunga Harbour road quickly brought us to the Aotea Sea Scout’s hall a landmark we were both keen to see. Not just because it’s an historical building built in 1911 before Geddes Basin silted up but there is more than one geocache located nearby and a huge hunk of lava from flung from a Maungakiekie (One Tree Hill) lava flow when Te Hopua first burst on the scene many thousands of years ago.


Chunk of basalt from a Maungakiekie lava flow


Behind the Sea Scout’s hall at low tide

We had no luck looking for the geocache so continued a bit north of the Scout hall. Saw this muck flowing into the sea..


Just north of the Scout hall

And some birds happy to fossick about in the muck for a shellfish supper.


Pied oystercatchers


Some sea birds feeding just north of the Scout’s hall


Gulls and a pair of white-faced herons

After watching the birds for a few minutes we headed back the way we’d come. This time under the motorway via Onehunga Harbour road

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The South-Western motorway with cyclist/pedestrian undercarriage (thanks Google)

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Steps leading back up to Onehunga Mall road from Onehunga Harbour road (Thanks Google)

After jumping back in the car I thought we’d better just check out the Northern half and the actual Gloucester Park. It was just a sportsground, much like any other. I should’ve got out and explored around the edges of this part as, apparently, remnants of the tuff ring can be seen here.

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The Northeastern half of Te Hopua a Rangi aka Gloucester Park            (thanks Google)

And finally, a couple more pictures from the Google cam, of the view from the motorway, which everyone should know but should not be taking pictures of if they’re driving.

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Southwest half of Gloucester Park seen from the South-Western motorway off ramp, looking north-west (thanks Google)

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Gloucester Reserve (the South-West half) seen from the end of motorway off-ramp #13. Holcim silos in the distance (thanks Google)

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