Some Pathways of Porirua East and Beyond
7th March 2018
This trip report ‘covers’ a few trips in the area from Bothamley Park to Ascot Park and back again, and ‘over the hill’ to Whitby.
I’ve always been interested in exploring ‘different’ areas that the Club hasn’t run trips to very often, at least until recent times. When my partner and I spent weekends and summers in Plimmerton for a few years I wanted to explore local areas that I didn’t know about. Bothamley Park together with its nearby pathways was a key ‘find’. The park is in a valley, surrounding what was once a farm track, and Kenepuru Stream with its banks restored with many native plantings by local groups and schools together with PCC. Above the valley on one side is the Aotea subdivision, and on the other, Porirua East - widely different suburbs.
The brochure ’Walking and Cycling Tracks in Porirua City’* was used as a basis for planning a few ‘Easy’ trips. The maps supplied though were more like sketch maps with little or unclear information, which meant several ‘reccies’ needed to be made with cross referencing of all kinds of other maps (including one PCC sent to me - ‘A guide to fruit trees plantings in Bothamley Park’! Our first TTC trip in the area took five reccies by Margaret Foden, Barbara Ogilvie, myself and others to find ways we could link three PCC ‘pathways’ recorded on the PCC tracks brochure: Bothamley Pathway – Ascot Park Walkway-Conclusion Pathway - Dales Pathway, which links back to Bothamley Pathway.
The route for this ‘first’ tramp was complicated by limited signposting even within Bothamley Park, where it took us several false turns to find the track we wanted (turn right at the blackberry patch sign then left, ignoring the confusing tracks on the right).*
Some highlights of the trips: the wide track by the creek, through the very tall old pine trees (where Jenny Lewis once found a mass of coral fungi growing), an unusual cascading water race, the community blackberry patch where we snacked on juicy blackberries in February, and the superb 180°+ views over Porirua Harbour towards Mana Island from Conclusion Pathway.
But one of my enduring memories from our first TTC tramp there on a stunning sunny day was of Margaret demonstrating how to turn long dandelion stems into trumpets, with us making a bold but somewhat discordant dandelion band! Since that first TTC tramp (with us anyway) five plus years ago on this route there have been many more tramps and bike trips, but mostly going straight through over the hill to Whitby.
In February this year 11 TTC members and one visitor went on an Easy grade Whitby-Porirua traverse.
The first part was very easy – #230 bus from Porirua Station via Aotea to the north side of Spinnaker Lookout. A steep but short climb took us up to the Lookout, with almost 360° views from Transmission Gully and Whitby to Pauatahanui Inlet and beyond towards Mana Island. From there we walked downhill on various paths, many of them concrete, past a community ‘fridge’ library and interesting signs about the universe, and through the Spinnaker Drive underpass to the cherry tree-lined path by Discovery School. Various paths and roads led us to the manicured lower lake at Whitby where we sat lakeside on the lawn to eat lunch – Barbara wasn’t so lucky as one of the very cheeky ducks stole a sandwich from her lunch-box! The upper (or south) Whitby lake is in a more natural setting and the water lilies were in full bloom that day as we walked past. From there we passed Adventure School and took the newly improved, now graded path up the Skyline Route to the ridge, from where we descended to Omapere and Warspite streets, into Bothamley Park and along Champion Street to Porirua, in time to catch the ‘Cinderella train’ back to Wellington.
- Party members
- Pip Hart-Smith (leader and scribe), Barbara Ogilvie, Jean Morgan, Peter Nixon, Pat Filler, Jenny Lewis, Helen McNeil, Margaret Foden, Lois Hope, Lois Kluger, Denise Udy