Maraenui – Pae-kawakawa
26 April 2009
Isn’t it pleasing that there always seem to be more places to discover in our home town, no matter how long we have lived here! That was how party members reacted to our tramp through the little-known Beacon Hill Reserve, above Tannadyce St, Strathmore Park, the “sewer reserve” between Tirangi Rd and Queens Dr, and Island Bay’s very own “Mt Bristol”, a knob traversed by an unformed legal road between a cul-de-sac and a zigzag.
We left the Seatoun bus terminus, took the coast route past two gun emplacements to Point Dorset, and climbed to the site of Rangitane’s Orua–iti pa and WWII’s Fort Dorset. Here a pou stands to commemorate the area’s early history – Kupe is believed to have landed nearby.
The Eastern Walkway traverses Rangitatau Reserve on Paewhenua ridge. Near the track that leads from it to Beacon Hill Rd, we had scroggin in the shelter provided by pines in Beacon Hill Reserve. Then we descended the reserve to Tannadyce St. Dominant trees include karo and pseudopanax hybrids, neither native to Wellington, a large, sprawling exotic, a big cabbage tree, and a lone large-leaved milk tree which is uncommon in Wellington
Litter is widespread - who said NZ has a “clean, green, image”? We were not impressed. After walking down 276 steps to Elphinstone Ave, we walked through the grounds of Strathmore Community School, then studied the impressive main building at Scots College. From the 1937-era state house in Fife Lane, we walked via WCC’s Hobart Place flats, to have lunch on a welcome verandah at Miramar South School, sheltering from driving drizzle. A lone karoro paced back and forth through the puddles, hoping for a piece of someone’s sandwich, but without luck.
Beyond the tunnel under the airport, we followed the “sewer reserve” west to Queens Drive, then climbed the Regal Gardens zigzag to Imperial Tce and Rodrigo Rd. The view over Rongotai Isthmus made the climb worth the effort, despite the mist. On a path below Sutherland Rd, and at the end of Auckland Tce, we harvested feral apples, then joined the Southern Walkway at Melrose Park. On the track on the east side of Te Ranga a Hiwi ridge, we enjoyed the perfume of akiraho and houhere flowers, used a route down to Hornsey Rd, then a path above it to Houghton Bay Rd.
From Sinclair Park, we tramped through Buckley Road Reserve, then along the road to Bann St, and Island Bay No.2 trig, 121m, on the grassy knob of Bann St/Orchy Cres Reserve. The gusty nor-wester, driving mist and drizzle, added drama to the view of the south coast. Down the zigzag from Orchy Cres, we passed a pou marking the site of Ngai-Tara’s Uruhau pa, and saw below us the knob of “Mt Bristol”. From the west end of Bristol St cul-de-sac, we clambered up the east face of the knob to its summit, then descended to Bristol St zigzag and Brighton St. Minutes later we happy travellers were drying out in a warm bus, after our 6.5-hour jaunt across the south-eastern parts of the city.
We thank WCC for cadastral aerial photographs of Beacon Hill Reserve, Strathmore Park, and Bristol Street, Island Bay. We thank Scots College for permission to walk through the grounds.
- Party members
- Colleen Davey, Michele Dickson, Diane Head, Chris Horne (leader/scribe), Sheena Hudson, Mary Inglis, Marianne Jenner, Sheelagh Leary, Ray Markham, Syd Moore, Mike Pitt,Lesley Smith, Alan Wright, Andrew & Theresa Zausa.