Perkins Farm, a new stamping ground
Sunday 17 March 2019
12 of us set off from Beach Road, Paekakariki on a very blustery day but plenty of sun. We walked up Fly-by-Wire Gully and had a look at the wire contraption suspended over the valley, hopefully stronger and safer than it used to be. It will be re-opened in April for its first flying customers. We turned to the left and climbed a steep gully through a patch of native bush, soon reaching the cellphone towers. A bit further up the ridge we stopped for morning tea in the shelter of a bank with tremendous views out to Kapiti Island. It was a bit of a slog up the track to the mast at the top at 400m. From there it was off-track across farmland down to a saddle at the head of Hairpin Gully, then descending the spur on the true left of Hairpin Gully. We crossed a fence into Betty Perkins Reserve, a beautiful patch of kohekohe forest, and dropped down following trapping tracks. It was very steep at the bottom before the exit onto Paekakariki Hill Road. Across the road we pushed through bush arriving at the top of the Loop Track where we had lunch with a magnificent view of the sea. We had only been out for 3 hours. The offer of a longer trip to Pukerua Bay via the Escarpment Track was not enthusiastically received, so we returned to Beach Road using the new track which runs between SH1 and the railway. Some of us couldn’t resist the cafes and a dip in the sea. Perkins Farm was bought by NZTA when they decided to to Transmission Gully, but it is not yet open to the general public. We did this trip courtesy of Nga Uruora, the conservation group at Paekakariki who have a license to do ecological restoration on the farm. NZTA will no doubt put the farm on the market in the not-too-distant future, and we all hope the area will be opened up for tramping and no doubt mountain biking, horse riding, etc. Nga Uruora plans to let nature do most of the bush restoration, but we still need to control the weeds which is a massive job in itself. The farm provides an important link between the Escarpment and Mt Wainui. There are many new routes for tramping: eg combining our trip with the Escarpment Track would take 6 hours. Or Mt Wainui could be climbed from the farm by going under the new Transmission Gully motorway and up a spur. All routes on the farm are steep so in the long run it would be best to cut zigzag tracks. There are many interesting patches of native bush to be visited.
- Party members
- Alan Benge, Elizabeth Bridge, Bob Cijffers, Michele Dickson, Joanne Gapes, Dianne Lee, Ray Markham, Jeanette Payne, Peter Shanahan, Tim Stone, Marris Weight, Ken Fraser (leader and scribe)