Takapu Stream - Te Awakairangi
23 August 2008
What’s in a name? Takapu Stream runs north for 2.5 km from near Belmont trig, then southwest for 4 km from the Takapu Road entrance to Belmont Regional Park. It joins Porirua Stream in Willowbank Reserve, Tawa. Te Awakairangi, literally “the watercourse of greatest value”, is the original name of the Hutt River.
Takapu Road Station adjoins Willowbank Reserve, our route upstream to Tawa Interchange. We climbed the zigzag to Grenada North through manuka forest dotted with tree ferns. After squelching across sports fields to Caribbean Ave, we found, and reported, a dump of stolen clothes, a cellphone and some mail. Then we reached the 79ha block of land transferred by Transpower in 2000 to Wellington City Council (WCC) to be managed as Outer Green Belt. Part under grass, part indigenous plant communities, and part gorse, it lies between Grenada North and Horokiwi Rd, rising from 100 m to 360 m. in 1.5 km. The route is at first a road to a reservoir, then a 4WD, pylon service road, then a tramping track. Manuka forest is a feature, as are views over Porirua Basin to Colonial Knob, Kaukau and beyond.
Soon after scroggin on a ridge crest, we reached Horokiwi Rd, and walked 100 m south to WCC’s contribution to Belmont Regional Park. You identify it by the absence of a fence along the road. The first part, grass and gorse, is c. 66 paces wide, with views of Belmont trig, the harbour, and the Rimutaka Range. Once in regenerating forest, the WCC block is over 1 km wide, and stretches down to the TR branch of Korokoro Stream. The steep gully down through the block is a pleasure for M-grade trampers – a bit of dense scrub with ongaonga, some lovely nikau, pukatea and mahoe forest, slippery rocks, waterfalls (one sidled high on the TR) and the 10m one best avoided by a detour on the TL - a sylvan wilderness near suburbia. We went carefully downstream, descending 290 m in 1.8 km, our time of 1.75 hours indicating that we could not hurry! Our reward was lunch, in the sun, at Baked Beans Bend.
From here to Korokoro Forks; the storms earlier this decade had blown down numerous tall pine trees. Staunch efforts by Greater Wellington Regional Council (GWRC) staff reopened the track, but extra care is still necessary because of the damage. Korokoro Dam, built in the early 1900s by the former Petone Borough Council for water supply, was decommissioned in the 1960s. After our wet winter, the spillway was “bank-to-bank”, attractive in sight and sound. Then we climbed the old track to an area of pines, carefully felled by GWRC to lie away from the track, and reached the Oakleigh St entrance to the park at 2 p.m.
As we walked the streets to Acacia Ave reserve, we saw below the Hutt Valley and the forested ranges beyond. We descended “Kohekohe Climb” track, took a detour to admire a big pukatea and a tawa in the bed of Percy Stream, then walked downstream to a flood detention dam. More fine bush, another dam, a 10 m waterfall, a remarkable, elevated, wooden walkway in a rocky gut, another dam, a track high on the TL, then we arrived at Percy Scenic Reserve’s SH2 entrance. From there we walked to Petone Station to catch the train, pleasantly weary and rather satisfied with our traverse.
Barbara Mitcalfe, and the late Mark Kearney, helped with recces. Peter Jagger and Michael advised how to detour a 10m waterfall. GWRC, Hutt City Council, and Kate and Barry Malcolm, provided pamphlets.
Absolutely Positively Wellington. April 2000. History of water supply in the Wellington region 1872-1985. Wgtn Regional Council