Karori – Silver Stream – Carey Gully – Paekawakawa
21 March 1999 and January 2011
We were late arriving at Karori Park terminus, because the bus driver had slept in, hence our 9.30 a.m. start! Along South Karori Road, we passed fine areas of native forest on Makara Hill’s flanks, and admired lacebark smothered in white flowers.
At the forks of Karori Stream and Silver Stream, we turned into the latter, greeting Roger Askin, the landowner, and the next landowner, Rose Mary Jones, who described her farm and the problem of feral goats, released by a previous landowner.
In the lower valley we saw remnants of native forest including tree fuchsia, kiekie, pukatea and a lone rimu. After an hour’s walk upstream in a lovely bush-clad gorge, we had scroggin, while Rolf fixed our position with his GPS. Soon we passed a concrete dam built to supplement flows into upper Karori Reservoir. We then ascended the next true right tributary to Long Gully Station’s road. Here we saw a line of new posts on Karori Sanctuary’s southern boundary, awaiting the installation of woven-wire mesh to make the upper Kaiwharawhara Valley predator-proof. Climbing further, we looked down on Long Gully airstrip, marvelling at how the Wellington Fault had moved that flat-topped hill into the middle of the valley.
On Hawkins Hill Road, we met Steve and Christine Watson of Long Gully Station. They are planting some land in pines, use some for pasture and once leased areas for a film set.
After lunch in mist, we descended through scrub into the true right head of Carey Gully, Owhiro Stream. Across this valley is one of Wellington’s few areas of closed-canopy mānuka forest
Land above the 260-m contour here will become reserve, while the valley below will be buried by the Southern Landfill. If Wellington residents, commerce and industry “reduce, reuse, recycle”, the rate of burial of this attractive valley will be reduced.
Once on the creek bed we heard a high-pitched, muffled screaming by a possum, or perhaps two having a “domestic”, in a nearby dead, hollow mamaku! We made the other noise in the valley, loudly warning each other about ongaonga, which is becoming more common since WCC culled goats here.
As the wind turned southerly, we smelt the tip, long before we arrived, so were prepared for its unsightliness. Nevertheless, those of us on the club trip here on 25/8/96 noted that the tip is now tidier. The landfill-gas extraction plant, composting plant and recycling plant, have contributed to the improvement.
Crossing Happy Valley Road, we climbed horse tracks up a gorse-clad spur to Tawatawa Ridge’s impressive pou, carved from Oamaru stone about 1984 by Greg Whakataka. It features Te Rauparaha facing Kāpiti, and Te Rangihaeata facing Tapu Te Ranga.
Finally we descended the City-to-Sea Walkway via Berhampore Golf Course to Adelaide Road, Paekawakawa Valley, 7.5 hours after we started.
We thank landowners Rose Mary and Mark Jones, Roger Askin, and Steve and Christine Watson, for permission to cross their land.
Jan 2011: changes since the 1999 trip:
The goat plague has been reduced by shooting, and the fencing of the Jones’s land and the adjacent 52-ha Long Gully Bush QEII Open Space Covenant owned by Wellington Natural Heritage Trust.
Forest regeneration in the valley of Silver Stream continues apace because of goat control and Greater Wellington’s possum-poisoning work. Vegetation monitoring plots established in the valley will be used to estimate the rate of carbon sequestration per hectare.
Birds such as whitehead, bellbird, kaka and saddleback - introduced to Karori Sanctuary - visit the valley.
Long Gully Farm’s airstrip is now a ‘drift-strip’ and the farm is used for trail-bike and 4WD events. Resource consent has been granted for a wind-farm on the property.
The true right head of Carey Gully has been devastated by the bulldozing of a road across its upper slopes, with slips dumping rock on the creek bed. The landfill’s smell has been reduced since the sewage-sludge composting plant closed.
The City-to-Sea Walkway spur down to Berhampore Golf Course has been cleared of pines, and replanted with native species.
- Party members
- Diana Barnes, Graham Brown, Nick Campion, John Hart, Harold Hemi, Chris Horne (leader/scribe), Stuart Hudson, Ian Hunter, Peter Jagger, Lois Kluger, Rolf Kluger, Liz Martin, Ken Mosley, Tony Older, Hugh Slocombe, Tim Stone, Tricia Walbridge, Julie Woolf.