City to Sea Walkway
10 May 1998
In overcast but improving conditions, nine members and eight non-members met near the Cenotaph for what we believe was the first end-to-end of the city's latest walkway by an organised group.
We admired the several totoraro shrubs behind Turnbull House, then studied the historic photographs and displays in Bolton Street Memorial Chapel. This is the start of the walkway, section 1 of which was opened on 20 July 1996. After seeing the mass grave of those disinterred to make way for the motorway, and the graves of the Wakefield family, we tramped up the gully of Tutai-nui Stream to the Seddon Memorial, impressive following its restoration.
On Serpentine Way, in the headwaters of Waipiro Stream, we were impressed at the abundance of buds on several kohekohe trees. This was clear evidence of the effectiveness of the city council's persistence with possum poisoning operations over the last few years.
In Aro Park we met a group of 8 Hutt Valley Tramping Club members also heading south. Later they accepted our suggestion to walk Section 2 of the walkway with us south from the golf course to Island Bay.
We enjoyed "lunch 1" on the splendid lookout of Bell Road spur, and "lunch 2" at a sheltered site just north of Morton Street.
The Hutt Valley Tramping Club party joined us as we left the golf course and entered the steep plantation east of Kingston. Here the walkway follows a road cut through the forest to facilitate the construction of the sewage sludge pipeline from Moa Point to the Southern Landfill. Just below the Quebec Street houses, we started south along the recently cut line through pines, native forest and blackberry, first on public land, then on land owned by Tapu Te Ranga Marae, and finally back onto public land. It was exciting to be on the unfinished walkway, trying to visualise it once it was completed.
In a brisk, cool breeze, we inspected the pou whenua carved from Oamaru stone by Greg Whakataka in 1984, then headed south along Tawatawa Ridge between the valleys of Pae-kawakawa (Island Bay) and Ohiro Streams (Happy Valley). Descending Frobisher Street, we passed below the white and gold Buddist stupa, then climbed the steps and zigzags to the twin peaks of Oku Hill. Although the summit is only 101 metres above sea level, the views of the south coast, the Kaikoura Ranges, the fishing boats, ferries and aircraft, plus the dense plantings of local native species, make this viewpoint one of the features of the walkway. Our thanks to all the Council staff who built it, the staff who did the plantings, and prepare the brochure, and the Councillors who voted the funds for the work. Finally, we descended Oku Street and Milne Terrace, including the short-cut just above Derwent Street and boarded the bus back to town.