Otari and the Skyline Ridge
Wednesday trips often attract more than 20 people, but with gale force northerlies forecast for November 4 it wasn't surprising that only four others turned up for my 'Otari to Khandallah along the skyline ridge 'easy grade' expedition.
We met at Crofton Downs railway station at 9.45am, a time geared for those of us with SuperGold cards, as anyone needing a bus to the station could probably catch one after 9am. Trains from both Wellington and Johnsonville reach Crofton Downs around 9.45am.
We took a pedestrian walkway to Spencer St, a left turn into Winston St and a right into Chartwell Drive. We entered Otari from John Witton Drive, and made our way along blessedly sheltered bushy tracks to the flax clearing where we paused for morning tea and a look at the kauri grove.
From the flax clearing we started climbing towards the skyline. Once in the open, one person decided sensibly to retire to the shelter of Otari and explore some of the many tracks available there. The rest of us pushed on for the ridge, where the wind lived up to its predicted ferocity.
I'd decided, however, that rather than struggling towards Mt Kaukau it would be wiser to go south and at least have the wind more or less at our backs. Sometimes we must remind ourselves that we don't really have to prove anything. Having arrived on the ridge and still more or less upright, we followed cattle paths and open hillside rather than the established track (mostly because a cattle track seemed relatively sheltered, in the brow of the hill, and then the main track proved elusive). We stopped for an early lunch in a relatively calm spot, and just a few minutes later came to a side track leading down to Otari again, just north of Karori cemetery. It was blissful to regain the shelter of the bush.
Foolishly I managed to get my small group lost in the urban wilderness of Otari; we took a wrong turn and found ourselves climbing towards the hills once more. An about turn and eventually we were on the right track and on our way to the picnic area beside Kaiwharawhara stream. After another break and a chat, two of us walked back to Crofton Downs (just in time for the 2.39pm train) and the other two walked out to Wilton Road to catch a bus into town.
- Party members
- Sue Gore, Brian Hibbard, Kath Kerr, Pat Reesby (leader/scribe)and Lesley Smith.