My friend wanted to go for a walk but stipulated it had to be near her house and somewhere her large pup Mo could run off-lead for a while.
I was once a dog owner too, so we set off from her house in Harbour View Rd, at the western end of Pt Chev beach, to retrace a route much loved by my now sadly departed Bryn.
We headed down the sloping path that leads to the foreshore pathway, Mo firmly on the lead, and in no time had trotted past the beach and were climbing the steep little bit at the far end which leads to Coyle Park.
A TV commercial was being shot so we lingered to watch the activity while Mo went gaga over the tantalising scent of fried chicken wafting in the air.
Skirting the film set we followed the chain link fence that guards the perimeter of the park above the cliffs, taking a brief detour down the steps at the tip of the point to the flat rocks below (a wonderful picnic and swimming spot).
We continued around the park to emerge at Bangor Rd. Following our noses we zig-zagged to Meola Rd and, upon reaching it, turned left. Ten minutes down we turned left again into the Meola Reef Reserve.
By now Mo was beside himself with excitement, as any self-respecting dog from this part of the woods knows there is an off-leash area set aside especially for chaps like him.
Sure enough, three minutes along the westerly pathway brought us to it and he was off, goofy as only a 10-month-old mongrel can be. Having his ears boxed by an elderly lady dog calmed him down somewhat and we were able to retrieve him, re-attach the lead and continue around the gravel paths to the point where the reserve ends and the reef begins its rocky curve into the harbour.
We instead turned along the easterly side. Here there are a couple of boggy spots, so if there has been rain you might get wet feet.
Re-emerging on Meola Rd, we turned left again and crossed when we reached the entrance to Jaggers Bush (about 200m).This contains a little-known bush pathway beside Motions Creek, where in spring you can't hear a single car above the sound of tui squawking and chatting.
Today they were above our heads but quiet and we entertained ourselves watching fantails chasing mosquitoes. Mo was in seventh heaven and took a flying leap into the smelly water after an unsuspecting moorhen. Predictably enough it escaped, although we didn't when he shook spray all over us.
Reaching Motions Rd, we turned right, walked 100m or so and turned right into Seddon Fields. Keeping Mo away from the marked playing fields, he was allowed to roam free.
Left back up Meola Rd, we crossed into Walford Rd and wended our way to Chevalier Point Cafe just up from the turnaround where Pt Chev Rd ends. Here Mo got his nose scratched by a ginger cat that patrolled the deck, while we appreciated the coffee.
This route takes about two hours and covers about 6km. For info about off-leash dog areas, see aucklandcouncil.govt.nz.
* Meola Reef Reserve, 171-181 Meola Rd.
* Seddon Fields, 180 Meola Rd.
* Chevalier Point Cafe, 508 Pt Chev ph 09 846 6565.