It’s funny how things can be so close to home, and you never get to visit a particular place, so it is with Tui Glen (#1038) the NZMCA Camp in West Auckland. I first became aware of the camp in the 1980’s when I lived and worked just a few km’s away, and it was a working campsite. I used to cycle past it every week when I went to do banking in Henderson. However, in those days, there was no need to visit.
Later in the early 2000’s when we purchased our first motorhome, we would head away regularly out of Auckland. Then when we returned, the motorhome would be stored just a few km’s away from the camp at Tui Glen. There was no desire to travel the short distance to stay in Henderson. When there were so many other parts of the country to explore.
After I posted my blog about camping in Downtown Auckland, I realised that for the people reading my blog, there is a desire to learn about where to stay in Auckland. This is especially the case given the few places that you can stay in Auckland. So after 17 years of owning a motorhome, it was finally time to visit Tui Glen.
Once you have exited the motorway at Te Atatu, you proceed towards Henderson to get to the camp. But before visiting there, it was time to make a small detour and view the boat launching area just off the motorway. First, turn right on Te Atatu Rd takes you down to the Marina Area.
It’s probably one of the least known marina areas in Auckland, but it’s a suitable all tide concrete ramp that allows non-members to launch @$15 as well as park up so if you are boating as well as camping it’s handy to know its close.
Arriving at the Camp which is located just off Edmonton Rd. (see map below) There are several signs around the park outlining the history of the area. Tui Glen was the first camping ground to open in New Zealand in 1928 when Henderson was more accessible by boat than by road. According to signage around the area, Gt North Rd was nothing more than a dirt track and was at times impassable.
The camp closed in 2002 with the land reverting back to council ownership as a park. Extensive work has been done around the park to turn it into a top-quality children’s playground.
Scattered around the park are some of the original camp buildings that served as camp cottages during the time the camp was open. Although these appear to be sound, all of them are entirely boarded up, so it’s impossible to see if any of the original interiors remain. I did read online that the local council are working on restoration of these cottages so maybe one day they will reopen to the public.
Once inside the NZMCA Camp proper, we can see that the camp currently consists of two levels. The lower level, where you drive in, is a flat smooth gravel area large enough to take around 8 or 9 decent sized motorhomes. Although there are really only a couple of spaces that would suit one approximately 10 or so metres in length.
The upper level which is currently rather a different story with the ground surface somewhat broken and not very level. As you can see from the photo above, it’s probably also better suited to smaller vehicles.
The camp building has a charming area for happy hour with the couches and chairs shown inside the large shed that’s located on the property. It also has one of the better selections of books available in the exchange. It always makes me pleased to see a decent range as I am an avid reader always looking for new material.
While we visited the camp, we met a couple staying there who talked about the extensive earthworks that will soon be undertaken to upgrade the camp. While I don’t know the extent of these plans, I intend to return later this year for an update to this blog with new photos of the camp.
The camp is convenient to lots of attractions in and around Auckland with The Trust Stadium a short walk away. The Zoo and Motat are only a 10-minute drive away. The West Coast beaches are also not far from here either, and it would be a handy base from which to visit the city and then return to the peace and quiet of the camp with only the Tui’s to disturb you.
It’s a beautiful park with established trees and decent toilet facilities where clean and tidy and appear to be serviced regularly.
The gates to the park are shut to the public at 7pm during winter and 9pm during summer, but the main entrance also has an NZMCA padlock with the usual code so any camper can access the park 24/7. With the gates being locked at night, it also means that security is not such a significant problem as it’s more difficult for people to access the park.
Remnants of the glory days of the old camp remain with the jetty out into the nearby estuary. Back in the 1930’s sailing on the estuary was quite the done thing and the small gantry crane you can see was used to lift the boats in and out of the water. Talking about the water, the colour of it on the day of our visit would undoubtedly make me think twice about taking to the water. I would hate to fall out into that!
Numerous walkways are leading into and away from the camp, including one that leaves the camp and follows the estuary down to the motorway. Where it then joins the cycle track to take you into the city. A walk or ride of around 15kms each way.
If that’s too far, then you can take a short stroll into Henderson or visit the Westwave swimming pool for a swim.
The short walk we took passed the local bowling club, where they welcome casual members and visitors from other clubs so don’t forget to pack your bowls. From there the park opens out to a vast expanse that includes a mini pear orchard with trees grafted from some of the original fruit trees that stood in this area.
All along the estuary are more monuments to the history of the area with the estuary used for commercial shipping in the days before a railway and a decent road. It was fascinating to take the time to stop and read these, although most of the signs could do with a proper clean.
As the walkway continued around, we passed what must be one of the most unusual monuments I have seen in NZ a tribute to Elvis Presley. Now I know that he was famous around the world, but I certainly didn’t expect to see a monument to him here in Henderson.
Also, with all the terrible weather we have been having lately, one of the trees had toppled over, and it was really interesting to see all the shells caught up in the root system. As we are about 3 km’s from the sea proper.
With the walk through the estuary finished a short stroll took us to the top of Great North Road on the far side of Henderson. Crossing the road and the railway line takes you to the Corban Estate. Before 1990, this was a working vineyard one of many that operated in the local area. But with the demand for housing ever-increasing, the vineyards have now all but disappeared. The Corban estate is currently an Arts Centre and Coffee shop, well worth a visit.
The back of the Corban estate even has it’s own church. It’s here that we met another couple out for a walk who told us about several other walking tracks in the area that we now need to get out and explore.
Although we came the long way round, it is in reality only a short walk from Tui Glen to the train station in Henderson and from there into the city or do your shopping locally at the West City shopping mall.
Overall it looks like a great place to stay but being a smaller camp, I would imagine that it gets full quite quickly, especially over the summer months. On the day we visited there was only one camper there, and he said it was a tranquil place.
The great thing about this place is you don’t even have to drive through Auckland city anymore to access or leave the West. With the new Waterview Tunnel bypassing the city altogether. Allowing easy access to the Southern Motorway provided of course that you don’t go too early in the morning. It’s also an easy drive North from here with the choice of heading towards Albany and up SH1 or taking the scenic route on SH16.
To view the places we have visited click here to see them on Google maps. You can click the links to read the blog about that area.
To view the Ratings, we have done for other camps click here