Ngaio - Ahumairangi - Perretts Corner
20 May 2001
This 5-6 hour suburbs-to-city E/M walk has an interesting variety of vegetation types, views, historic sites and terrain.
From Ngaio Station we went to the end of Collingwood Street near two impressive totara, then up a zigzag to a footbridge on the access to Heke Reserve. The tracks in this kohekohe/ngaio/mahoe forest have been built by Ngaio Progressive Association volunteers, using timber and stakes supplied by WCC. We climbed the steps and path leading to Heke Street, the latter part of the access being shared by no. 39 Heke Street.
We walked up Heke Street and Huntleigh Park Way to the access above no. 29. The forest in this reserve is one of the most important kohekohe/podocarp forest remnants in the city. We traversed it down a spur to Silverstream, a tributary of Korimako Stream. Scroggin in the sun at the play area was another pleasure.
At the top of Chartwell Drive we followed the farm track on the former farm of Brian Kilmister. In 1999, WCC purchased the land for addition to the Outer Town Belt, for which we are grateful. We passed several horses, a pair of paradise ducks and a flock of California quail, then climbed to the track which leads down to the flax clearing on Otari-Wilton’s Bush. The decision to have lunch here was unanimous - the sunny, sheltered setting was ideal.
At a nearby track junction, we split into two groups. One took the yellow track direct to the Troup Picnic Area; the other went in the opposite direction to the bridge near "Bledisloe Creek". Here the M part of this E/M trip began, a boulder-hopping descent of the beautiful bush-clad valley to meet the others at the picnic area.
We climbed among plantings of beech trees to Churchill Drive, then up steps to Izard Park. Our route was now in the vicinity of the old Maori track between Pipitea Pa, Thorndon and Owhariu Bay (Makara Beach). We then clambered up many steps to Warwick Street, and between Edgeware and Cecil Roads, and used the Town Belt access shared by 137 Cecil Road.
The crisp wind on Ahumairangi meant that we did not dally long to enjoy the view of hills and harbour, before descending the old Maori track to the first junction below the Northern Walkway. From here we sidled south to the quarry approved by WCC in 1906 for Mr G. Thomas to obtain metal from. Torches ablaze and bodies bent over, we walked to the end of the 40 m adit and back, noting that the greywacke was not as shattered as you’d expect it to be on the scarp of the Wellington Fault.
From Thorndon Green and Patanga Crescent we sidled around gullies and spur crests in the Botanic Garden to the music of the Salvation Army Band playing at the Soundshell. Beyond Horseshoe Bend we used an informal access to North Terrace, to the surprise of a neighbour.
We descended to Kelburn Croquet Club and the bush of Kumutoto Gully, an oasis above the motorway tunnel. From Allenby Terrace steps we went through the tiny park of Terrace Gardens to O’Reilly Avenue, towered over by the spires of St Mary’s and the ill-named Majestic Tower, then down Boulcott Street to Willis Street and Perretts Corner.
Thirteen of the finishers finished in style at Marché Cafe with the choice of iced lemon water, tea, coffee, smoothies and shortbread. A bit of alright!