From home it was the usual route up Konini Rd to the scenic drive, then via Titirangi, Green Bay & Lynnfield to Onehunga. Over the (old) bridge and around the Mangere Bridge coast to Ambury Park. None of that was new but on the road bike I have to turn inland for the road ride through to the airport on Ihumatao Rd.
On 'Rapid Rob' I could use the coastal path. It's a mixed use gravel track which skirts Ambury Park before heading around the inlet formed by Puketutu Island. Although linked by a causeway I'd never been there, most my life there was a very good reason. Puketutu Island was the hub of a collection of effluent treatment oxidation ponds which served most of Auckland. In it's time, late 1950s, a brilliant improvement over the previous scheme which stored untreated sewage in harbour side tanks for discharge on the outgoing tide.
If you've been to see the penguins and sharks at Kelly Tarlton Aquarium you've been in one of those old tanks. In the late 1990's the ponds were removed, thanks to a new 'on land' process and the coastline restored. So, there's now a nice gravel path around the coastline which has/is being replanted and is a bird sanctuary. I went out along the causeway to Puketutu Island and the view down to Manukau Heads was brilliant.
From there it carries on to the Otuataua Stone fields. This is an important archaeological site, the Maori used volcanic rock to create gardens and warm the soil to extend the taro and kumara growing season. Then it was back on the road to Auckland Airport. Still strange to think the next time 'Rapid Rob' is there it will be in a box packed into the belly of a 777 bound for Kuala Lumpur & Kathmandu!
I had a break, lunch, at the Airport and watched three Emirates Airbus A380s land. Amazing especially as the observation point at Auckland Airport is pretty close to the runway. I went through Papatoetoe, Otahuhu to Penrose looking for another bike path. Last time I was there it was a narrow shared path but it has been redeveloped into a wide concrete path. It runs from Hugo Johnson Drive along the foreshore to Onehunga.
There's still a bit of road between the next bit of bike path from Onehunga Reserve over the South Western motorway bridge. After a climb up Carlton St it was back on to bike path beside the South Western motorway from Hillsborough Rd to Maioro St. Back on the road through to Waterview to join the North Western Motorway cycle path home via Te Atatu & Henderson. Not so many hills today, 1,200 metres climbing over the 100 km route.
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