East Harbour Regional Park traverse no.7 M
10 November 2012
The park’s northern block, which lies between Wainuiomata and the Eastbourne bays, is traversed by tracks and a network of pest-control lines. It has several unmarked access strips. This was the seventh traverse led by CH, using a combination of such M-grade routes.
We used the access strip between nos. 65 and 68 Kowhai St, Wainuiomata, a ten-minute walk from the first no. 170 bus stop on Wainuiomata Rd.
A spur above the true right of the creek, is easy travel: some in beech forest, some in shrublands, including the tree daisy, heketara, in flower. After about 25 minutes climbing, we joined a pest-control line up to near Lowry trig, 373 m. CH had originally planned the trip to travel along the ridge east of Gollans Valley, then descending to Wainuiomata Golf Course. However, we discussed options for emerging from the bush and decided that the ferry trip from Days Bay had overwhelming appeal! So from Lowry, we tramped to and along the Main Ridge Track to the north end of a well-defined spur down to Gollans Stream ‘Top Forks’.
The health of the native forest and shrubland communities in this northern block of the three-part regional park is steadily improving, thanks to intensive, sustained, pest-animal control by Greater Wellington Regional Council (GWRC), the volunteers of Mainland Island Restoration Organisation (MIRO) and private hunters.
In glorious dappled sunlight we walked down to the main forks of Gollans Stream, which features tall forest, including a big rimu. Suburbia seemed far away! We had lunch near the foot of the ‘Hunters Track’, watched by a plump kererū, then continued down valley to a point c. 2 km from ‘Top Forks’. From here we climbed on a marked route through beech forest to the Main Ridge Track near the top of Kererū Road Track. While descending the upper part of this track at about 200 m altitude, we noted three abrupt changes of gradient, from steep, to virtually flat for a few metres. These short, flat parts of the spur crest are remnants of ancient, raised marine terraces. Then we took the Moana Road route, initially rough, but lower down becoming a well-benched track. Of note on this route are northern rātā, and a disc marked ‘City of Wellington – Williams Park’. In 1914, Wellington City Council acquired Days Bay bush from the Eastbourne Ferry Company with funds from its ratepayers, the government, and Mrs Williams, mother of Capt W B Williams who bought the land in 1886, “… the land to be held in trust for the residents of Wellington and surrounding districts”. (Okiwi. G Bagnall). In the 1980s, it was transferred to Eastbourne Borough Council. It has been managed by Hutt City Council since 1989, with most of the bush areas managed by GWRC as part of the regional park. (Kelly Crandle, HCC). Club member Alan Bagnall reports that the benching was done years ago to enable the park caretaker to ride up it on horseback to herd cattle away from Williams Park because the valley was used as a water-supply catchment.
After a five-hour tramp we refuelled with ice cream, then boarded the ferry to Queens Wharf via Matiu-Somes Island.
- Party members
- Ken Fraser, Chris Horne(leader and scribe).