You’ll never see a better-framed shot of the Harbour Bridge with Rangitoto behind it than from the Te Atatu shore… and for the three weeks of the Harbourview Sculpture Trail, it’s the perfect backdrop for some arty shots. Te Atatu Peninsula’s biennial outdoor exhibition of sculpture launched on Saturday with a highly appropriate dawn ceremony (‘te atatu’= the dawn), and runs till 28th March.
Give yourself at least an hour to enjoy a stroll in the fresh air and discover the 40 artworks in a beautiful wetland setting overlooking the Waitemata harbour. The sculptures are dotted about the place, so every turn of the path brings a new surprise.
The trail is open every day from 10-6, and this year they’re running extended twilight hours on Fridays and Saturdays where there will be entertainment and food trucks (from 5pm till last entry 7.30pm).
By all means bring a picnic. And dogs are welcome, on-leash. At $35 for a family ticket, it’s a wonderful day out. For more information about the trail and to buy tickets, visit the website.
Even better for our purposes, Te Atatu is an excellent place to get to by bike…
Te Atatu is on the excellent and famous NW cycleway, which you can take all the way from Newton Rd in town (nearly 12km and 45 mins, 90% of it safely off the road), or you can join it along the way from Kingsland, St Lukes, Mt Albert, Pt Chev, Waterview or Rosebank Road. Google Maps is your friend on this score.
Watch out for the current detours at St Lukes (scheduled to be gone by March 11th) and across the bottom of Patiki Rd (scheduled to be re-routed through the new underpass by March 10th).
Once you get to Te Atatu Interchange from the east, you don’t need to go through the fabulous new underpass (though you absolutely should ride through for a look at the lovely artwork, then turn around and come back). Go up to the junction to the lights – the bike lights are now all automatic – and cross on the eastern/city side of the bridge. This takes you back onto a shared path that will bring you all the way to the trail – look out for the flags
There are bike racks on site, one near the shop and one near the ticket entrance. Both are overlooked by staff, so no worries about parking your bikes there.
Maybe add a train into the mix?
Even though Te Atatu Peninsula isn’t particularly close to a station, there are a couple of options which make it ideal for an intermodal trip – and yes, you can take your bike on the train.
- The nearest train station is Henderson, from where you can ride (almost) entirely off the road to Te Atatu Peninsula, down the Henderson Creek shared path, which is very pleasant, mostly gentle and mainly wide. This is just over 6km and 25 mins. The path along the motorway linking Te Atatu with Flanshaw Rd is almost finished (scheduled 11th March), but for now you’ll have to ride along Royal View Rd until you get to McCormick Green. When you get to the interchange, go through the underpass and cross the bridge on the eastern side, as above.
- The next nearest train station is Avondale, which I would only choose over Henderson in the evening or on a weekend when there’s substantially less traffic, and almost no industrial traffic (but I’d never try it with children). Rosebank Rd traffic on a weekday is very unpleasant.
Never trip-chained with your bike? Look for the bike/wheelchair/buggy symbol on the middle carriage of a 3-carriage set. The floor is lower and there’s a special place for bikes. (NB You won’t be able to fit your bike on at rush hour, so avoid those times.)
Once in Te Atatu, make a day of it
Te Atatu Peninsula is home to the excellent community group Bike Te Atatu. There’s an off road shared path that takes you halfway to the town centre. Painted cycle lanes then dump you into the path of diagonal parking, but the drivers are fairly courteous.
There are bike racks outside Delicious Cafe (used to be Luscious), on both sides of the new(ish) library and community centre (opposite Fuze cafe), and on the corner outside Westpac bank (3 doors down from the bike-friendly folk at Demolition Deli). There are also two ice-cream shops and several restaurants to enjoy, depending on the time of day you visit.