Izard Park-Ōtari-Karori Cemetery-Albemarle Road Reserve-Botanic Garden
12 July 2020
We did our introductions and briefing, sheltering from the chill wind by standing sandwiched between the no. 22 Mairangi bus in which some of us had arrived, and the bus shelter. We soon warmed up striding across Izard Park, down the steps to Churchill Drive then into Ōtari’s plantation of native beech trees. Once on the gully floor we sidled around the head of the tiny gully onto a track believed to have been built c. 1996. We crossed Wilton House Rd to join the Sanctuary-to-Sea track. We passed Darwin’s Rock, where the ‘Te Mahanga’ branch of Kaiwharawhara Stream splits into two, said to refer to some people supporting Darwin’s theory of evolution and others disagreeing. Up the steps of the Lower then Upper Blue Trails we clambered, to enjoy scroggin and cuppas on the large new viewing platform beside the giant rimu, possibly c. 800 years old.
The Upper Blue Trail passes several big rimu, then a large kahikatea. We thought that its roots should be protected by a board-walk above them. We heard kererū and a karearea/falcon and encountered walkers and runners before reaching Karori Cemetery. We clambered up a low bank to an area of the cemetery near the memorial to the 151 victims of the 24.12.1953 Tangiwai Railway Disaster, then walked along the broad avenue between graves to find the grave of Harry McNeish (or McNish) who died on 24.9.1930. He was the carpenter - “Mr Chippy” - with Ernest Shackleton’s 1914-17 Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition. His cat, “Mrs Chippy” - actually male - is remembered by a bronze bust on top of the grave. McNeish accompanied Shackleton on the perilous voyage to South Georgia to get help for the rest of the crew.
We descended to ‘Te Mahanga’ Stream to see the brown-stained stream pouring from the one kilometre-long culvert which takes it under the former Walworth Rd Tip, now Ian Galloway Park, the dog-exercise area, the BMX track, Whitehead Road and Old Karori Rd, near the south end of Curtis St. As we climbed the track up the face of the closed tip we saw that it is now well covered with mostly native plants, although its history is evident from the scraps of metal jutting out of it, and pieces of masonry lying on it. From the Western Suburbs RFC building we crossed Galloway Park, then Curtis St and by the information panel at the lower end of Albemarle Road Reserve we sat or sprawled, out of the wind, for our welcome lunches.
The track up through this gully with its small creek is in regenerating native forest with trees including tree fuchsia/kōtukutuku and numerous ferns. Once out on Albemarle Rd we walked up to Pembroke Rd, turned right, crossed Northland Rd and walked across Northland Park to near the end of Seaview Tce. A Bluebridge ferry was steaming toward Matiu / Somes Island, against a back-drop of East Harbour Regional Park and the Remutaka Range. At the top of the zigzag down to Military Track, we rang the Botanic Garden’s Picnic Café to ask for a table for nine trampers due to arrive in about 30 minutes. A fortunate move – the café was packed, despite, or possibly because of, the cold day. Hot drinks and scones all round were a real treat. Finally, we walked via several tracks down through Bolton St Memorial Park to Bolton St and continued our journeys home.
- Party members
- Alan Benge, Bob Cijffers, Julia Fraser, Chris Horne (leader and scribe), Tim Stone, Peter Tunnicliffe, Sue Tunnicliffe, Ingrid Ward, Marris Weight.