Te Aro – Newtown E
11 March 2018
We revelled in a warm, calm day for our mixed urban, suburban, Town Belt jaunt. Crossing Waitangi Park, we passed throngs in nearby Chaffers Market, and Chaffers Marina chock-full of boats, then walked around Clyde Quay Wharf. Clyde Quay Marina’s 40 boat-sheds, all immaculate with blue doors, looked a picture. Te Whanganui a Tara¹, our harbour, flat calm, glistened under the bright sun. From Freyberg Beach we trudged around to Oriental Bay Beach, on sand from Golden Bay.
From Oriental Tce, at no. 14, we walked up the road² to enter the Town Belt, then followed a track up to Bayview Tce. In Charles Plimmer Park, to the distant sound of happy crowds watching dragon-boat races on the inner harbour, we enjoyed morning tea and scroggin.
We clambered up to the trig on Tangi-te-Keo¹/Mt Victoria 196 m, the harbour and CBD seemingly far below. At the south end of the adjacent parking area we descended a route among WCC plantings to Alexandra Rd. The previous Friday, Ellen Blake (Convenor, Wellington branch, Living Streets Aotearoa) and CH cleared a route in bush on Town Belt, leading past a possum-bait station, to Hāpua St’s zigzag. From there we went round Rākau Rd, down a zigzag to Hataitai Rd, then down Arcus Way, in part a gravelled route, with monarch butterflies flitting around. We heard singing from a service at the Samoan Church on Waitoa Rd. After a pit stop at the loos in Taurima St, we climbed the Hataitai - City Walkway through bush to above Mt Victoria Tunnel’s eastern portal, to have lunch in the shade, near Hataitai Park’s velodrome.
We climbed among pines to Alexandra Rd, then crossed Alexandra Park, to just north of the 1920-era former Fever Hospital, later called the Chest Hospital. The building ceased to be a hospital in 1981. Now the SPCA’s headquarters, it has an Historic Places Category 2 listing. It is on Town Belt land. Our track led up through bush to the crest of ‘Te Ranga a Hiwi’¹ ridge above and east of Newtown which is in the valley of the long-culverted ‘Waitangi’¹ stream. Brooklyn’s ‘Turangarere’¹ hills form the other side of the valley. We then descended steeply to near the boundary fence of Government House grounds, which are subject to the Wellington Town Belt Act 2016. WCC has work to do replacing bleached plaques on several way-marker posts we passed during our trip.
Finally, we walked along a bush track to Wellington Hospital’s reservoir, through the grounds of Te Hopai Home, to the hospital’s relocated façade of the 1927-era Administration Block, then relaxed with hot drinks in the hospital café. . ¹ The Great Harbour of Tara. G Leslie Adkin. 1959. Whitcombe and Tombs Ltd. ² Walkways and paths around Wellington city. 1985. Wellington City Council Town Planning Department.
- Party members
- Diana Barnes, Elizabeth Bridge, Fi Coster, Bob Cijffers, Michele Dickson, Cecil Duff, Julia Fraser, Vivienne Healey, Chris Horne (leader/scribe), Stuart Hudson, Lynne Pomare, Peter Shanahan, Chris Watson, Marris Weight, Rosemary Wilson, Alan Wright