The beaches between Ruby Bay and Mapua Wharf offer lots of scope for walking - all of it dog-friendly. You can start almost anywhere you want: in the north at McKees Reserve or on Ruby Bay beach; at the car park in Chayter Reserve, on Broadsea Avenue (off Tait Street); via the walkway that runs down to the beach from the end of Aranui Road; from the causeway on Toru Street, or from Mapua Wharf. Using the adjacent streets and stretches of cycle way (the Great Taste Trail passes through Mapua), you can make any of these into an easy loop walk, and equally can connect up with other nearby walks (e.g. The Gullies, Dominion Flats or Kina Beach).
The character of the walk varies,according to the weather and tides. Sometimes the beaches are sandy, sometimes gravelly, usually a bit of both. On calm days, the sea turns a pale aquamarine and the beach seems placid and inviting; when the wind roars in from the north, however, there can be wild seas and the waves crash over the somewhat inadequate boulder wall. (It doesn't need saying, but this is an increasingly common event with global warming.) But when the tide is right, there's good swimming in Ruby Bay, and youngsters enjoy jumping off the small jetty behind the cafes on Mapua Wharf. Ruby Bay, though it has to be said is a bit of a deceit. It's a pleasant beach, but there are no rubies. There are, however, pebbles of red jasper, which are a poor man's version of the real gems - and that's what supposedly gives the bay its name. And if it's coffee or food you want, you can't go wrong. Mapua boasts at least half a dozen cafes and restaurants, as well as two pubs and a world-renowned fish and chip shop. So enjoy.
Click on the map to zoom in