Karaka Park - Korohiwa
20 February 2010
East Harbour Regional Park’s northern forest block is appealing in many ways, including its accessibility by bus and ferry, variety of forest communities, sense of wilderness in some places, and wide choice of entrances, both official and unmarked.
We chose a route from the south end of Karaka Park, Wainuiomata, up an old fire-break, on a spur with regenerating forest at first, and then beech forest, leading to Lowry 373 m. Here, shaded from the hot sun, we cooled down, ate, and quenched our thirst. Soon, along Rata Ridge Track, we looked out over Wainuiomata, to the bush-clad Eastern Hutt hills and Rimutaka Range, then began tramping the long, interesting ridge east of Gollans Valley.
We were impressed by the possum-trapping and rodent-poisoning efforts we saw, and several dead possums! This is the work of a partnership between Greater Wellington Regional Council (GWRC) staff, and the volunteers of Mainland Island Restoration Operation (MIRO) Inc. As a result of this pest control, 28 North Island robins/toutouwai have been released in the park.
The ridge includes beech forest, second-growth broadleaf forest, and mānuka/kānuka forest. In the latter, we enjoyed ‘lunch 1’, then found, to our delight, what two weeks ago had been a seriously overgrown route, had been cleared by GWRC staff. Then we met a group of MIRO volunteers, checking the possum and rat control lines. Soon we came to the top of a spur leading down to Gollans Stream. Although well-defined at the top, it soon becomes broad, and the crest indistinct, so it proved ideal for a group navigation exercise, with five compasses and maps spread around the party. At least one trainee compass user soon learnt the basic skill. Then, as just reward for the 1-hour descent, we had ‘lunch 2’ in truly impressive forest on the valley floor, near crystal-clear Gollans Stream. We saw towering rimu, some festooned with white rātā in full flower, many nīkau, and a huge kahikatea. Gollans Valley is indeed a beautiful place.
Our second, and last, hot climb was up a steep spur to the top of Korohiwa Track, which we descended, enjoying lovely views of the harbour, Te Whanganui a Tara, and the surrounding hills. Thus ended a splendid day out, near the memorial comprising the recently erected mast of T.E.V. Wahine, and the bus terminus. From leaving the no. 170 bus on Wainuiomata Road, to the no. 83 bus stop at Eastbourne’s bus barns, our traverse of the park took 7.25 hours.
We thank GWRC for copies of the park brochure, and information about the pest control programme, and Jill Bagnall and Gail Abel for information about MIRO Inc’s work.
- Party members
- Rhonda Billington, Julia Fraser, Diane Head, Chris Horne (leader/scribe), Ikuko Muir, Pip Newton, Lynne Pomare, Peter Robbins, Jill Stewart.