Owhiro Bay - Oteranga Bay - Makara Beach
10 March 2001
With the comforting knowledge that a car and a van had been stationed at Makara Beach, 11 club members made a start from the gates of the former Owhiro Bay Quarry at 7:30 am.
The trip along the fore-shore past Red Rocks was made interesting by the presence of a number of individual seals at scattered locations. Of note was also the spectacular tidal rip near Karori Light. The coastal track is presently open-access at the Owhiro Bay end, and we were made conscious of weekend traffic in the form of 4WD vehicles. However, these were stopped at GR 464881 by the substantial barrier erected across the rocky foreshore. This is easily bypassed on foot, and we sheltered from the SE wind behind the Cook Strait cable terminal building at Oteranga Bay for a late morning tea.
The larger part of the group went up Terawhiti Hill, despite the onset of wind-driven, showery rain soon after. Four of us took the shorter and lower route along Black Gully, and were able to inspect the old steam engine and related iron-ware at the "Ore stamping mill". The weather improved considerably as we progressed northwards, and from the top of the next ridge we were rewarded by the view, from an unusual angle, of Mana and Kapiti Islands. The two groups rejoined just north of the hut at GR 482940 (the macrocarpa-screened site of an earlier and larger building, perhaps a homestead) and lunched there.
I decided to take an inland route rather than the somewhat risky coastal scramble, and so we headed inland at the eastern side of Te Ikaamaru Bay. It is a tempting folly, at this point, to go straight ahead (south of Sheep Gully Stream) up the obviously well-used 4WD track. Take instead the easily-overlooked foot track that is reached by crossing the stream and turning half-left up the steep escarpment: this is a short-cut to the older 4WD track that follows the stream into its gorge, but then crosses it with a hair-pin to the left and a very steep northerly ascent. After an easterly swing this track becomes a very easy way to move north along the coastal ridge, which was very pleasant in the now dry and sunny weather. However, the descent to Opau Stream is somewhat steep and unevenly grassy.
The last section to Makara followed the gun-emplacement track, although two trampers diverted along a shorter inland route to be picked up by car (6:30 pm).
Party members: Bill Allcock, Yvonne Ashworth, Marg Conal, Dave Dyett, Ken Fraser, Susan Guscott, Masaki Kojima, Bernard Molloy, Sieny Pollard, Dave Reynolds, Mike Arnold (leader and scribe).