Granny’s Bay – serenity in the heart of Hillsborough2 min readReading Time: 2 minutes
Tucked between Taylor’s Bay and the stunning Waikōwhai Beach, Granny’s Bay is a well-kept secret. Quiet, peaceful and rarely used, it feels private and secluded in comparison to its more popular neighbours. It’s the perfect place to relax after a long and stressful day – the cool air and sounds of water lapping gently against the rocks bring about a sense of tranquillity.
Relatively sheltered from the wind, at one point it’s thought to have been used to load and offload livestock and supplies; a 1916 map of the bay is labelled Sheep Landing. In the 1920’s, locals often moored their boats out in the bay. Nowadays the cliffs are lined with tall trees and the only houses to be seen are in the form of small white squares, far away on the other side of the harbour.
In addition to the peace and quiet, Granny’s Bay offers visitors the chance to connect with nature; people of all ages can often be seen exploring the rocky shore under the cliffs. Curious eyes will find a wide range of creatures living in the crevices and pits in the rocks. When the tide is low, chitons, snails, and even small crabs can be spotted, making the beach a paradise for budding scientists. Plant-lovers will also be happy to note that Granny’s Bay is situated next to a Significant Ecological Area. The reserve, which connects to neighbouring Wesley Bay, has a unique stand of Kōwhai-Kohekohe-Pōhutukawa forest. The reserve also forms part of a larger corridor connecting fragments of native bush in Auckland.
Those wanting to visit this beautiful bay can access the beach via two main routes. During the two hours on either side of low tide, confident walkers can follow the coast from Taylor’s Bay to Granny’s Bay. The walk requires sturdy shoes as it entails navigating over slippery rocks. But for those who decide to take up the challenge, the scenery is well worth it.
Alternatively, you can take the Hillsborough Cemetery Loop. Part of the Waikōwhai Coastal Walkway, a loose gravel path winds its way under a shady canopy. The pathway is narrow at some points, with ditches on either side. However, it is also beautiful, bordered by vibrant green trees. The walk is short and only takes around 20 to 30 minutes. But once again, good shoes are crucial – although the loose gravel pathways add a sense of adventure, they can be slippery in places even when the weather is dry.
So the next time you’re looking for a new challenge or a calm retreat from the hustle and bustle of city life, why not give Granny’s Bay a try?