This article was first published in the Tararua Tramper in November, 2000
Wainuiomata - Gollans - Days Bay
Sunday 15 October 2000
East Harbour Regional Park has a lot to offer trampers. It is in three sections. The southernmost and smallest is the land around Baring Head lighthouse and the cliffs below it. Next is the 'Lakes Block' including Lakes Kohangatera and Kohangapiripiri and both Pencarrow lighthouses. Finally, the northernmost, and largest, is 'East Harbour Hills' between Burdans Gate, Eastbourne and the summit of Wainuiomata Hill Road. This has a network of tracks, and extensive, less frequented areas for wandering at will with a map and compass.
Our E/M traverse of the northern block began at Karaka Park, Wainuiomata. We climbed on old fire-break through gorse, manuka and Spanish heath, then through black beech and hard beech forest to Lowry trig. Sheena and Jenny led us on compass down a spur, at first gentle, then progressively steeper, to a True Right tributory of Gollans Stream. The luxuriance of the ferns impressed us, as did the feeling of isolation from nearby suburbia. Liz and Sheena led as we followed the stream down to the main forks, to a lunch spot among ferns, shrubs and tall trees, sheltered from the wind and patchy drizzle. A sylvan setting for "sammies" and socialising.
The next stage of the trip, about 0.6km downstream, requires care to find the place where a route leads up to the 'Circular Track'. John and Margaret led, and after about 25 minutes tramp close to, or in the creek, spotted the first indicator. This is a tiny tributory on the True Left which trickles down moss-clad rocks. Then they found the orange marks on a hard beech, and a nearby cairn. Twenty minutes later we had climbed a pleasant, well-defined spur, and crosssed a basin, to reach the 'Circular Track'. Soon, after seeing more northern ratas, we began the descent to Korimako Road, and the Duck Pond, Days Bay.
We had the luxury of a choice in our mode of travel to Wellington - the 3.00pm ferry, or 3.04pm bus. Seven chose the ferry, and 13 the bus. So ended a satisfying 5 hour crossing of the largest section of East Harbour Regional Park.
We heard a long-tailed cuckoo, and a few tomtits and whiteheads. Bird numbers are low in the bush, but the Eastbourne residents' Mainland Island Restoration Operation (MIRO) project members are killing possums, stoats, deer and pigs and protecting northern rata trees in the forest near Hawtrey trig, south of our route, so if this work continues and expands to cover all areas of this section of the park, we look forward to an increasingly healthy forest and more abundant birdlife.
Our thanks to those who shared leading the group, to Rosemary, Jeff and Malcolm who acted as 'tail-enders', and to Ross Jackson, Wellington Regional Council, for supplying us all with pamphlets and leaflets about the park.