With most of Friday’s action at the northern end of the Waterview Shared Path, it came as a delightful surprise to hear that another spectacular bridge had opened at the southern end, in a quiet and small ceremony. So, after the opening of the bridge connecting Unitec and Waterview, I went for an explore ride out to the other end.

(To see how the Southwestern Shared Path connects to Waterview and beyond, check out this map courtesy of NZTA: Waterview/Southwestern Shared Path PDF )

The shared path in between is still under construction, which meant a slightly hairy trip down Great North Road and Blockhouse Bay Road, full of reminders of the need for safer travel. For example, what are pedestrians meant to make of this? How do people with strollers or wheelchairs or mobility scooters cope?

Space invaders: oh the irony! Why are these always on the footpath and never on the road? Whose ‘level of service’ counts here?

And crossing New North Road is its own drama: until the signals at Bollard and Soljak are working, you need to do a three-legged crossing outside Pak N Save, and then retrace your steps to get to the entrance of Alan Wood Reserve.

The alternative, quieter way (until the full path is completed) is to go through Unitec to the alleyway beside the Mt Albert Kindergarten, and then out via Mark Rd to Woodward Road. You still have to ride along a bit of New North Road, but it’s much more pleasant and much shorter. I came home this way.

Until the path is completed, follow your nose through Unitec, and hang a right just before the kindy – there’s an alleyway through to Mark Rd.
From Mark Rd, hang a left onto Springleigh, then right onto Woodward. You can see how much shorter (and generally nicer) this option is than going the Great North Rd/ Blockhouse Bay Rd way.

Once you’re at Alan Wood Reserve, it’s plain sailing – and well worth the journey.

The path through Alan Wood reserve, washed clean by rain.
A purple bridge off to the right! This is the Mokomoko Bridge, named for the native copper skinks of the area. It leads to Methuen Rd.
It’s so purple! Delightful.
A blue bridge appears in the distance. That’s the Tuna Roa Bridge, named for the endangered longfin eels who call Oakley Creek/ Te Auaunga home, for a crucial part of their life.
Aha, the Waterview Tunnel entrance on the left.
Gidday, motorway!
And here is the approach to Te Whitinga.
You’re drawn up onto the bridge…
…whether it’s where you’re going or not – it’s magnetic!
The arch echoes the curve of Owairaka/ Mt Albert to the left.
A clean and beautiful shape…
…well, a little spiky, on closer inspection.

Te Whitinga – which means ‘the crossing’ – is the proud work of architectural firm Warren and Mahoney, in partnership with Boffa Miskell. (Warren and Mahoney also designed the portals at either end of the tunnel, described by one visitor on the open days as ‘galactical’!). The bridge has been shortlisted for an international footbridge prize, to be announced in September.

What’s it like to ride over? Like this.

Once you’re up and over, the great green ribbon of the Roskill Safe Routes beckons. At the moment, however, the Te Auanga/ Oakley Creek restoration project means the section through Underwood Park and Walmsley Park is interrupted (the project is due for completion in May 2019, and Underwood Park should reopen over summer; keep an eye on updates at the project page).

For now, O’Donnell Ave offers a handy parallel detour for the section under construction. Eventually, though, you’ll be able to do this, all on safe paths, all the way to Onehunga…!

Back to Te Whitinga…

There’s an eco-industrial chic to the way the bridge sits in the landscape.
A curving path takes you under the bridge and through a wetland next to the creek. Hello, pukeko!
Imagine the reflection on a still day.
Hello, ducks.
More eco-industrial vibes at the culvert where the creek passes under the motorway.
Heading up towards Maioro St. Once there, you can keep going along the side of the motorway to Onehunga – or you can turn off at Sandringham Rd where the Local Board has bridged the gap with a cycleway/ shared path up towards the Roskill Safe Routes.
I turned around and headed for home. Curves ahead!
All along the path, there’s great signage. The only improvement we might suggest: walking/biking times, which are generally more meaningful for people than distances.

One thing I particularly loved – the pukeko colour-scheme of the side-bridges across the creek along the way. These were the work of Boffa Miskell.

The purple of Mokomoko Bridge.
The blue of the Tuna Roa Bridge.
And the Raupo Bridge, named for the bulrush plants that grow along the creek (green grow the rushes, oh!).
Categories
Waterview
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  • Roy

    any idea when the full route will be completed? As you stated a bit hairy in the middle bit so not yet suitable for everyboby or even most!

    I can’t wait to start using the full route!

    • Bike Auckland

      Hi Roy – the official word is that the section between Unitec and New North Road will be completed in ‘late winter’. This probably means late August/ early September, but we’ll know more closer to the time. Can’t wait till it’s all joined up!

      In the meantime, the section from New North Rd southwards through Alan Wood (as pictured in the photos) is well worth checking out, and continues further south towards Onehunga.

      • Roy

        I rode it during the weekend it is awesome. One little nit pick is between the two colourful bridges there was so much rubbish thrown into the creek and surrounds. I hope they clean it up and maybe add a few bins to encourage a tidy kiwi feel.

        • Clare Brown

          Roy, I agree the rubbish looks bad, but it’s not been thrown there- it’s what’s come down from upstream when in flood. More bins are needed tho.

  • John McKillop

    I don’t understand why you used Blockhouse Bay Road. Much easier to exit Unitec on Laurel and follw Jerram, Jersey etc to Woodward and cross at the lights there.

    • Bike Auckland

      Mainly because I started at the Waterview side of the bridge. I came back that way you mention – you’re right, generally less stressful once you’re off New North Road, and a nice neighbourhood to explore. I noticed some streets lined with feijoa trees that I’ll be revisiting next autumn 🙂 –Jolisa

      • John McKillop

        Thanks Jolisa. I see on the map above you show a route through Underwood Park and Walmsley Park for folk heading east. Yesterday we actually rode alongside the south side of the motorway all the way from Te Whitinga Bridge. Unless you actually want the pleasure of riding through those two parks, there is no need to venture across Richardson Road, Beagle Ave, Sandringham Road Extn, May Road, Mt Roskill Road, and Winstone Road. On the path we rode you do, of course, have to cross Maioro St and Dominion Road, but you have handy traffic lights to get you over them. 🙂

  • John McKillop

    PS Great photos, and it is certainly a great path. When the missing link is completed later this year it will be possible to cycle on paths from the western end of the Twin Streams paths to Southdown. And then on to Sylvia Park with just a wee bit of on road cycling. Brilliant!

  • Glen Koorey

    Nice colouring! One thing I still wonder about is why the predilection for having inward leaning barriers on many of these bridges. It gives the unnecessary perception/discomfort of a narrower bridge, and when the route is curved it also reduces the sight distance to oncoming users. Canada St bridge on the LightPath is the same and it’s rather annoying!

  • Mike Maguire

    I rode it too on Saturday with my wife. We rode from the Maioro Rd end to New North Rd and back again. I was delighted about what an asset this is for the locals. What a huge number of elegant local connections and little parallel trails to explore alongside the cycling highway down the middle. I see two soon to be completed extensions – the obvious one North down to Unitec and beyond, and the other connection over the large white Te Whitinga bridge then off to Richardson Rd and then (eventually) continuing along the Oakley Creek into the heart of Mt Roskill. We are only months away from a continuous off-road route from Mangere Bridge up through Hillsborough into Mt Roskill, New Windsor and then into Unitec and the NW cycle trail (East and West). It sounds like a 70 plus km round trip – marvellous. Well done Bike Auckland for their incredible contribution to these various projects and the powers that be who adopted the vision and ran with it.

  • SimonD

    The linked PDF ”waterview-tunnel-walking-and-cycling-map-static” from NZTA shows a completed path (solid green line as opposed to dotted blue) around no.10 Soljak Place bridge and Trent St – rode up there this morning but was under construction still. Other solid green lines are open so it’s a tad confusing.

  • Roy

    hope they do something about the southern side of Mangere bridge, continuing this path all the way to the southern motorway would be a good start to a pathway encircling Auckland entirely