Super Sewer Tour Mark III
Sunday 8 March 1998
To prepare for our time in the chill of the Stygian gloom of the stormwater culverts, we warmed up with a ground-level tramp through Karori Cemetery, down Kaiwharawhara Stream using the two excellent new bridges, and through the lovely forest in Otari Native Botanic Gardens to the eastern picnic area. Here in bright sun we had scroggin and checked our torches for the first of the day's culverts. Since our last trip, this one, beneath Churchill Drive, has been extended and given an extra bend, which makes it all the more interesting. The exit offers a choice and a challenge; either you slide into a pool deep enough to wet most people's shorts, or you straddle a sewer pipe and work your way along to the true right bank. Either way, it is fun and photogenic.
Kaiwharawhara Stream below this culvert is attractive, despite massive infestations of weeds, and the necessary, if not beautiful, sewer pipe. Then came the most exciting culvert of all, under the Johnsonville railway line. It was blasted through rock on the true right side of the valley, then the former valley blocked off. The rough rock floor and gradient create a small, noisy rapid, and the rough rock ceiling is habitat for numerous glow-worms (titiwai). This culvert brought us to the junction with Korimako Stream, so we went up through its gorge and beyond to lunch at Wightwick's Field.
Upstream, beyond the forks with Silverstream, the valley narrows, with miscellaneous pipes, some native vegetation, lots of weeds, dumped garden prunings and litter. Yet despite the impacts of people it is a good tramp. The main features are the several culverts, particularly the long one under Ngaio Tennis Club, roundabout and Cummings Park Library. It took about four minutes to walk through, most of us bent over slightly to avoid touching the roof.
So ended the subterranean section of our trip. We then took to the streets - Awarua, Iwi, Fox, Vasanta, Gaya, Gaveskar and Satara - to reach the route up to Kaukau. It had been cleared of gorse, blackberry and barberry in preparation for the trip. The route rises quickly to give wonderful views over the city and out to sea, followed by an undulating ascent over rough pasture to the trig on Kaukau, 445 metres. In this sunny, windy spot, we spent time marvelling at the view and having a final scroggin.
We descended via Sirsi Crescent, Kanpur, Nalanda, Rajkot and Birla to John Sims Drive, to cross the grounds of Onslow College. Our first destination was Haumia Dairy for "frozen confectionery". Finally, some chose the scenic train trip back to the city, an hourly Sunday service reinstated in 1997, while others used the No. 49 Johnsonville - Strathmore bus.