Bathed in glorious winter sunshine the brisk breeze cut through thick layers of clothing. A biting headwind made the 10 minute gentle uphill walk from the St Heliers beach end of Tamaki Drive feel longer. The sea cliff path overlooks Ladies Bay, infamous for its nude sunbathers in warmer months – deserted bar a lone dog walker heading down the steep stairs as we meandered past.
At the top, the Achilles Point Lookout is cantilevered out towards Rangitoto Island. To the east Browns Island sits lush and green in the foreground, with Motuihe and Waiheke Islands beyond. On a clear day you can see across the Hauraki Gulf to Coromandel Peninsula in the distance.
Achilles Point (Te Pane o Horoiwi - The head of Horoiwi) has a rich history and cultural significance. Originally known as Te Pane o Horoiwi – Horoiwi arrived in New Zealand on the canoe Tainui – the point was once the location of a headland pa with its strategic lookout over Tamaki Straight. It was renamed in honour of HMS Achilles, whose captain and crew gallantly defeated the German pocket battleship Admiral Graf Spee in 1939.
The lookout has a fabulous seating area to enjoy the views, rest your legs or simply sit and chat before you head back down to the St Heliers waterfront. At the bottom of the hill, where the path meets the broad walk there’s a children’s playground. On windy winter days kite surfers enjoy the shallow bay.
It’s a great location for leisurely walk and to enjoy the panoramic views of the Hauraki Gulf. It’s a short walk so why not grab a takeaway coffee or an ice-cream and enjoy the beachfront while you’re there.