Parkway-Mahina Bay M
Saturday 21 May 2016
Two’s company – three’s a crowd? Our tiny party of two alighted from the no. 170 Wainuiomata bus at the first stop in the suburb. Soon we munched minute apples from a tree overhanging the berm in Kōwhai St. At the street’s top end, we used an unformed legal access into East Harbour Regional Park, near Buddhist icons. Inside the beech forest are more icons, prayer flags, a swing, and a welcoming seat with a view.
The steep spur we ascended slowly became better defined. Then we sidled east to tall black beech forest on a spur which joins the spur rising from Karaka Park. Once on this GWRC possum-control line, we climbed toward Lowry 373 m. En route we passed a fine crop of Armillariella novae-zelandiae/honey mushrooms (see image) at the base of a large hard beech, and nearby, the 2.5m diameter root-plate of a recently fallen large beech. Lowry’s flat summit suited us for ‘lunch 1’, and for Alan to pose questions in The Dominion Post quiz. Nearby was another big root-plate of a fallen beech – was it age, or gales, or a combination, which toppled this and the other large, recently fallen tree we saw?
From a point about ten minutes along the Main Ridge Track, we left it to travel due south along the well-defined spur, still marked with a few plastic lids placed years ago by Peter Jagger, and down to ‘Top Forks’, Gollans Stream true right branch. Candelabra kiekie, carefully routed ‘Top Forks’ sign, and the forks of two babbling creeks, made an ideal possie for our ‘lunch 2’. Refuelled, we climbed to possum bait station 28 on the Main Ridge Track, sometimes on an obvious foot pad, sometimes not, as we passed through forest which has grown since a fire came up from Lowry Bay in 1908.
Tramping north, we soon came to the top of Ferry Road Track, down which we went for ten minutes. At a point just before the track flattens on an ancient marine terrace, we found the top of the track built in the early 1900s by physician Dr Walter Fell. (see Tramper Vol. 86 no. 9 October 2014). Now marked in places by airline luggage labels, and in others by carefully placed logs, the track’s benching soon becomes obvious, as it descends quickly through forest of varying ages. We had afternoon tea enjoying a fine view of Te Whanganui a Tara/Wellington Harbour and an almost becalmed yacht, framed by branches and leaves on nearby trees, made all the more enjoyable by boisterous tūī, grey warblers/riroriro, and a kererū. Thus refreshed, we continued down to the unformed legal access, which is shared by the owners of nos. 4 and 6 Richmond Rd. Minutes later, we reached Marine Pde, at the bottom of Mahina Rd. Soon the no. 83 bus to Courtenay Place arrived, and we were homeward bound. This five-hour traverse of the northern bush block of East Harbour Regional Parks is at the easy end of M-grade. .
- Party members
- Chris Horne (scribe), Alan Wright