Circumnavigating the old “poo ponds” past a cinereria grove, a nesting site and the waste water treatment plant itself.
Flying into or out of Auckland Airport, the Mangere waste water treatment plant was a very distinctive piece of the Manukau shoreline. As long as I can remember it’s always been there, this huge eccentric wheel, complete with spokes radiating from a central hub. I wasn’t even aware that it had changed but change it did. Rehabilitation of the area started in the mid 90’s and was “completed” way back in 2004 who knew? You can see a map of the new walking tracks which, with 13 kms of white shell beaches, is New Zealand’s largest marine restoration project.
We parked on Wallace road and found our way along a green corridor between fields; it was so overgrown that if it wasn’t for the sign I’d have had no idea we were on the right track. I think there was a dry stone wall involved, as there often is where volcanoes are concerned.
Originally this was a castle and moat type volcano with a small scoria cone in the middle of an explosion crater surrounded by a tuff ring. Once breached by the sea the lagoon would’ve filled with silt and mangroves which is how the early European farmers found it -they even let their animals graze right on the cone as it had been joined by a natural landbridge to the surrounding area.
In the 1950’s along came “progress” in the form of a water-based treatment plant for all of Auckland’s biosolids. I don’t think it was supposed to smell but we all know how the sludge ponds stunk. I’m glad that era is over.
When we got to the Lagoon there’s a proper, flat wide track and we chose to walk it counter-clockwise. Ok, so that’s not a native planting above but it is pretty to look at and cool to walk under on what was shaping up to be rather a hot day.
These are not the birds I was looking for, so we carried on walking.
Part way around the lagoon we could’ve followed another track to this bird roosting site and I wish now that I had. I always planned to come back here one day but haven’t yet managed to. On the sea-ward side of the lagoon the track joins up with Ambury Farm in the Northwest and Otuataua Stonefields in the Southwest.
I also saw a pukeko in the bushes nearby but he darted behind the greenery and wouldn’t show his face again.
After escaping a 40 year life of sludgery and dodging the threat of reclamation to become just another sports field, Mangere Lagoon has been successfully returned to it’s former glory of a pleasant intertidal lagoon and haven for native birdlife. Hooray!
Some rocks near the end of the walk. I like that boulder!
This walk is quite flat, so would be a great family outing for bird watching and getting back to nature, except maybe not for very young children as they might find a way to end up in the water. Also there aren’t any toilets here.