Tuesday last week we met up at the nice Countdown car park near the Auckland airport. (Being homeless we appreciate things like thoughtful car parks.) And then spent a while working out where we might go for the night. (Being homeless we often devote time to contemplating where we’ll sleep that night.) And settled on Ambury Farm Park – one of the Auckland Regional Council’s many regional parks. Ambury Park is close to the airport, and is nicely located close to the Manukau Harbour. Booking in by phone resulted in us getting a year pass and vowing to use more of the parks over the autumn and winter.
We finally got ourselves around to Ambury, and found that the set-up had changed since our last visit – two years ago? There is now a dedicated camping area with hard parking for motorhomes. Which is nice because they’re mostly level and I try hard to park level. The weather packed up, or by the sounds of it reverted to the bad summer it has been. It was windy and squally but we were mostly sheltered.
Wednesday my cousin who I’d met in the street in Takanini the previous week came around for a visit. And Thursday we went for a walk around the park. We didn’t want to tax ourselves too much. And anyway the weather still wasn’t up to much.
We’d noticed One Tree Hill in the distance, visible from where we were parked. It didn’t look too far away and we decided to walk there, from Ambury Park. A check via my phone suggested it was 9km by road but I reckoned we’d be taking a more direct line so maybe it’d only be 8km. Friday morning we set off – or afternoon to be more precise. We followed the harbour around to Mangere Bridge, passing hundreds of Oystercatcher birds standing around in a park. The old bridge has been retained as a convenient fishing location for a few dozen fishing men.
Then we were into Onehunga Mall. This is not a shopping mall sort-of mall. But more a street mall sort of mall. Like Pall Mall in Monopoly. It stretched right up through Onehunga to the One Tree Hill park. We stopped for a late lunch once we reached the park, then headed on up to the top. I’m not sure what visitors make of our One Tree Hill with no tree. Maybe they think it’s a collective delusion? Maybe they’re distracted by the wonderful vistas – 360 degrees of view. It is an extraordinary viewpoint. We could see Suzi from up there, and she looked a long way away. And I figured out why the hill looked close from Suzi. The obelisk is huge from anywhere close. And from a long way away it still looks closer than it is.
Eventually we headed back, relieved that it was mostly downhill from there. Down the hill then down through Onehunga. We’d had a rough plan of catching a bus some of the way back, but nothing seemed to line up. So we walked all the way back across the bridge and then all the way back to Ambury Park. Suffice it to say we were tired campers by the time we got back, 6 hours after we left.