Odell Reserve – Oban Street – “Baker Street” Odyssey
8th March 2020
“Hughie” blessed our day with perfect weather, unlike the 2019 version of this urban jaunt when rain flooded Kaiwharawhara Stream forced that group to avoid the track up to Oban St.
From the bus shelter in Punjab St, Khandallah, we climbed to the top of Odell Reserve¹, 221 m, to enjoy perfect views of Te Whanganui a Tara² nestled among its surrounding hills. This summit is on the ridge once called Te Wharau². Leading down to Old Porirua Rd, Pīwakawaka Track is in native forest, rather weedy. The leaf litter and some wilting plants were desiccated by the drought. Tūī chortled and kākā screeched their joy at the pest-animal control here and in Trelissick Park. For this leg of the trip, we each had a copy of the Trelissick Park brochure annotated to show the route we were to take, including the track³ up to Oban St, Highland Park. We descended through fine native forest to the valley floor and along Wellington Water’s service road to where a bridge over Kaiwharawhara Stream will be built later this year. Peter R and Barry D described the fund-raising efforts and engineering required for the structure. The club donated a substantial sum from the Michael Taylor Bequest for the project, adding to the many donations from the community.
We read the information panel describing the remarkable long-fin eel/tuna kuwharuwharu. Near the ‘debris trap’ three more club members joined us before we nipped dry-foot across the stream to begin our ascent to Oban St up the track ³ built by Barry Durrant. We savoured scroggin and cuppas in lovely bush, then sampled the scent of crushed small leaves of poataniwha, in the same genus, Melicope, as the more familiar, similar-smelling wharangi. We walked up the recently re-surveyed route between two houses to reach Oban St. Next was a road walk: Oban St - Hosking Lane - Upper Watt St - Anne St. At the start of the driveway serving nos. 27, 29 and 31 Anne St is a WCC way-marker indicating the driveway leading to steps up to Highland Park Trig (formerly Wadestown Trig), 158 m. This fine view-point was ideal for our lunch, using the picnic table, a seat, or simply reclining on the grassy sward.
Back down at Anne St we turned left to go to the footpath and steps down to Barnard St. In this area was Te Awa-iti stream and kainga². At Lennel Rd, we stood on the grassy ‘pocket park’ to look over the rail yards, ‘Cake Tin’, a huge cruise ship and glistening Lambton Harbour. Going down Barnard St, then the upper part of Grosvenor Terrace, we reached the WCC sign indicating the road reserve which serves nos. 10-22. This was our route to the upper part of ‘Baker Street’ unformed legal road. This rough route is through tradescantia and a mixture of native forest and scattered exotic plants. Along the sharp descent to Sar St, blackberry, last cut back in October 2019 before our 10.11.2019 descent, had since grown by up to 2 metres. Thus slowed, we gingerly, with ‘Leki’ sticks, or bare fingers, or in Brian’s case heavy-duty work gloves, thrust aside or bent over, the menacing branches. Triumphant at last, helped by a rope belay/handrail, we reached Sar St after a 4.5-hour tramp.
¹ Named after Sid Odell, 1908-1990, who was active in the local residents’ association’s planting and other work. (per Diana Barnes and Google). ² The Great Harbour of Tara. G. Leslie Adkin. Whitcombe and Tombs Ltd. 1959. ³ On 6.11.2002, Julia Williams, landscape architect, and CH, contracted to WCC to find a route linking Trelissick Park with Highland Park or Wadestown, as an alternative to the Northern Walkway, followed a rough route, marked with red cloth tied to trees up to the legal access between nos. 112 and 114 Oban St. Barry Durrant has since made the route into a track for access to the pest-control equipment he maintains.
- Party members
- (leader and scribe).Peter Barber, Diana Barnes, Alan Benge, Elizabeth Bridge, Michele Dickson (co-leader), Barry Durrant, Brian Hassell, Sally Hassell, Diane Hill, Warwick Hill, Chris Horne (co-leader and scribe), Virginia Frost, Jenny Lewis, Peter Reimann, Marris Weight.