Hidden Treasure – Tuff Crater Reserve
One of the great things about getting around under your own steam is you can explore all the nooks and crannies of you neighbourhood, places you just wouldn’t see from the road. Walking is good, but a bike lets you stray further afield and still explore parks and pathways with ease unless they are heavily staircased.
A friend of mine recently discovered a great trail that encircles Tuff Crater in Northcote. I say “discovered” because unless you’re a local you probably didn’t realise there was a path there at all, and what a great little path it is. This area was called Tank Farm when I was growing up, a carry-over from the fuel storage tanks built there during WWII for the Americans. Not surprisingly it was once Maori land and as was often the the case it sounds like they got a pretty raw deal before eventually being moved on.
There are a couple of access points along the way but I started at the Eastern end where an alleyway runs down to the crater from The Warehouse Way (directly behind The Warehouse’s head office, overlooking the motorway). This first part is a bit lumpy and best tackled in the dry as it’s mostly a dirt base with grass sections in-between. Once you get about a third of the way around things smooth-out and it changes to gravel paths with boardwalks over the swampy areas.
You follow the crater’s edge to the mouth of the lagoon and eventually end up at Heath Reserve beside the motorway. A ridable bridge provides access over this to the foreshore but thanks to the new busway it’s a dead-end, a “bridge to nowhere” you might say.
I enjoyed the ride so much I turned around and retraced my steps but you could easily make this part of a longer journey and head over the hill to Onepoto Domain as the two volcanic craters almost touch at this point.
When I’m out riding I try to connect-up as many of these little “off-road” sections as possible to keep things interesting. Much more fun than sticking to the pavement!