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Privatized paradise - Waiheke island by gomart

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· @gomart · (edited)
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Privatized paradise - Waiheke island
![image.jpeg](https://steemitimages.com/DQmaq9hTTAqnVW6MKJPnp4Nnr5g4kNbNSKr6rw9T67ewW94/image.jpeg)

After few months in Auckland, it feels very good to land on Waiheke island. I didn't really know what to expect but I was pretty surprised when I discovered a green, quiet and beautiful island. A friend told me to go there because she was living in a great community and she gave the contact. My plan was made: find a job there, live and help in the community and enjoy the island. 
That's exactly what I did.

The main point of the article is about private lands on the island. Walking around the island I had already noticed that most of the lands were private with just houses with big gardens on them or some of them unmaintained and "forgotten", also many houses were only used in summer. But I really realized the amplitude when I went for a three days of walk on the east side of the island with my friend @clemmort. The walk goes all around the island called Te Ara Hura and we decided to do part of it, with backpacks and a tent with us. 

![image.jpeg](https://steemitimages.com/DQmWhpKULQBBjb769oYfhvxdstByPUvZMZD9TXrYx1V6cB6/image.jpeg)

Just to precise, when we sleep in nature, we set up the tent after the sunset, take back all our trash and leave early morning so we don't disturb anyone except maybe some ants and buds.

We started from Onetangi and went through a nice reserve with plenty of trees and some of them were very big Kauri trees.
After that we continued on the Man'O'War bay road which is a long dirt road (cars can drive on it too) all around the east coast of the island. It's aptly named as almost all the lands along this road are owned by the Man'O'War company. Man'O'War is a wine company, the owner bought many lands in the 80s when Waiheke wasn't such an attraction and most of the island was unpopulated. 

![image.jpeg](https://steemitimages.com/DQmbDYXWMcr6xTXrcySeeqj7XZtg5DVBKxsSMEtihukd3VK/image.jpeg)

All along the path there were fences with signs "No trespassing, no camping, no fire, private property...". So you can see a lot of nice fields for cows and sheep, bushes, some vineyards. But you can't step out of the dirt road at any moment, there isn't any track that goes out of the main road so you'll be sharing it with cars the whole time. Even if we were only passed by once every 15 minutes we still felt out of place having to deal with the dust cloud that cars left behind.

![image.jpeg](https://steemitimages.com/DQmXbVLergxB1UJ2aY2d1E1xrPWBTCHpQk6xTHabQP8unYN/image.jpeg)

![image.jpeg](https://steemitimages.com/DQmZ5X3NYx8XD7KsutbX3y3yWdzyZSQHbjJc8ndQGygWwby/image.jpeg)

After 4 hours, we saw this wonderful sandy beach (Owhiti Bay), we started to feel it was THE DREAM BEACH........... 

![image.jpeg](https://steemitimages.com/DQmaXUWSsoPx9rDz4wqBVMWgQTLzXxeWkiwbc25AvSAJNZ9/image.jpeg)

There was no way to access this empty beach, except by trespassing and going through Man'O'War properties. 
That's what we eventually did, hiding a little bit from the workers's who were going home after work. Finally we slept on this beach, alone and happy. In the morning there were some workers building a private house on the beach but even if they saw us they didn't say anything. 

The next day, we walked until Man'O'War shop/restaurant in the redundant Man'O'War Bay. It is situated right in front of the public beach and you can enjoy their wine if you can afford it (around 60 dollars the bottle). 
On the beach, there was a sign "No camping" and it explains that public spaces need to be available to be used by everybody. We found that very hypocritical and gross, after walking 5 hours surrounded by private lands. Even more, there's only one campground on Waiheke, situated on Rocky Bay. The track around the island takes minimum 5 days so we didn't really understand where the walkers were supposed to sleep... Maybe, as the informations flyers says, we should have slept in Air BnB, lodges and hostels. But that costs a lot more and is somehow less adventurous!

Anyway, after that we walked further and we saw on the map a lot of little bays with sandy beaches and we thought to sleep on one of those for the night.
But then, from the top of a hill we saw that one of these bay was full of rich private houses, we also heard construction works. It seemed impossible to put the tent there. We checked on Google maps with the satellite view to see if some beaches were empty but there were villas everywhere so we gave up that idea. We did hitchhiking a bit further to Orapiu thinking that maybe we would be more lucky but the situation was pretty similar... Both of us started to feel really tired and wanted to stop and relax our muscles. 

![image.jpeg](https://steemitimages.com/DQmV4t9NHeM1MBA18jNQjb38CDc7rWP6B4SHjvawadAqSdt/image.jpeg)

We choose to go to the Te Matuku Bay natural reserve, the only place the locals told us would be empty. But ! (Again)
Impossible to find the way to get there ! No track like the map showed. We would figure out later that they maybe didn't open the track yet even though it's already on the visitor map, we found two opening dates: 2015 and late 2017. Luckily we saw from the hill a private property with an access to the reserve and the beach. We decided to trespass again, no one was there and we finally had a beach for us again ! Another beautiful night under sky full of stars, we slept very well, happy to be in the nature.

It was very disappointing to see so many private lands, affordable only for rich people. There didn't seem to be any installations for hikers: 3 public toilets but without water.
Hitchhiking is easy as it is in almost all New Zealand, but if you're looking to exercise and camp under the stars you won't feel welcome.

If you don't have money and don't feel comfortable with trespassing the law, don't come to walk on Waiheke because you are only welcome with a thick wallet... 

(You can still enjoy the island through many different ways :) ) 


Brochure of the walk Te ara Hura :
http://temp.aucklandcouncil.govt.nz/EN/parksfacilities/walkingtracks/Pages/tearahura.aspx

Man'O'War website : http://www.manowarvineyards.co.nz/
👍  , , , , ,
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