Ngauranga – Fort Buckley – Pipitea
23 April 2005 (Map R27, street map, cadastral maps)
We met at the Kiwi Point bus stop in Ngauranga Gorge, then reported to the security officer at Taylor Preston Ltd. We climbed the steep farm track up the true right side of the gorge, traversed a scrubby area, and then pasture to the WCC access strip between nos. 39 and 46 Gurkha Crescent.
In Madras Street, between nos. 96 and 84, is WCC land, held in “fee simple”. It provides access to Tyers Stream Reserve, and should be gazetted as part of it. The 14.75 ha reserve protects a steep-sided tributary of “Waitohi”, the original name of the stream in Ngauranga Gorge. Tyers Stream rises on the southeast flanks of Kaukau. The fee simple land is traversed by a driveway that we used to enter the bush. Almost immediately we were in kohekohe/mahoe forest, with karaka, and further down, a large puka, some tree fuchsia, and wharangi.
Once across the stream, we had scroggin in a small clearing, then tramped down stream, past two Greater Wellington Regional Council possum bait stations, to the top of a 3m waterfall. Before it, on the true right, is a steep rocky gully up which we climbed, sidled down valley, then climbed to Raumati Terrace. At this point the reserve has been used for years as a dump for garden and other wastes. This problem, and pest plants such as banana passionfruit, have been reported to WCC.
We walked the path to Mandalay Terrace, then south to Cashmere Avenue and the viewing stand. From here we used a grassy strip to Lohia Street, and steps to Cashmere School. From Amritsar Street where we had the harbour at our feet, we descended perhaps the biggest flight of steps in the city – over 450 – to Rangiora Avenue. Lunch at Kaiwharawhara Park included fresh-cut pineapple, courtesy of Michael Taylor. Such were the rigours of this M-grade tramp!
The pines have been removed from above Kaiwharawhara Park’s playing field, and much of the zigzag track destroyed. WCC is investigating this. Nevertheless, using remains of the track, we climbed to Kaiwharawhara Bridle Path, and descended to the industrial area.
From School Road, we climbed the spur to Fort Buckley, built in 1855 during the “Russian scare”. We admired the condition of the concrete, despite decades of neglect, and the view of the harbour, before climbing to Barnard Street, and walking to the steps up to Anne Street. In earlier times, this gully was the site of Te Awaiti kainga and stream, and Dorothy Douglass reports that more evidence of human habitation has been unearthed recently. Along Anne Street, between nos. 27 and 29, we climbed the steps to Wadestown Trig, 158 m, for scroggin and to watch a big, twin-rotor helicopter removing pine logs from Ahumairangi/Tinakori Hill. We welcomed this evidence of implementation of the Town Belt Management Plan, approved by WCC in 1995.
Down Upper Watt Street we went, along Hoskings Lane, then up Sefton Street and Wade Street East, to Moorhouse Street, and the Waipaekaka gully on the northern boundary of the Town Belt. The bluff and waterfall in Queens Park, just below Wadestown Road, are a surprise, so close to the city. We emerged from the bush onto Grant Road by no.24, and walked via Newman Terrace, Hobson Street and Crescent to Wellington Girls’ College with its big karaka, along the top of the pre-1855 earthquake harbour cliff on the north side of Old St Paul’s, and finished in the grounds of Parliament. We thank:
- David Walkinshaw, Taylor Preston Limited, for permission to climb the paddock from Ngauranga Gorge to Gurkha Cres, Khandallah;
- WCC for cadastral maps of the Taylor Preston lease land, Tyers Stream Reserve, reserves above Hutt Road, and on Wadestown Hill;
- Dorothy Douglass/Highland Park Progressive Association, and Anne Furneaux, Wadestown Library, for supplies of the Fort Buckley brochure;
- Barbara Mitcalfe for help with the recce, and the alternative name: The hard road to Parliament.
- Michael Brown, Sue Cuthbertson, Diane Head, Robyn Hills, Chris Horne (leader/scribe), Peter Jagger, Diane McAllen, Ray Markham, Bill Polyblank, Lynne Pomare, Kerry Popplewell, Hugh Slocombe, Delma Smith, Michael Taylor, Ingrid Ward, Denise Whetton.