Speedy’s Stream – Belmont Regional Park – Takapu Road
22 April 2006
The bush, streams and farmed areas of Belmont Regional Park appeal to trampers. They offer several opportunities for traverses, on tracks, and offtrack, between the Hutt Valley and the Porirua Basin, with access provided by train and bus services on both sides of the park.
We began our M-grade trip by taking a train to Waterloo and a No.150 Kelson bus to the bottom of Major Drive. Within minutes we were in the bush of Speedy’s Stream Reserve, and fording the stream. From its fork with “Belmont Stream”, we climbed through shrublands and bush, then tramped along a route to emerge on the true left of “Belmont Stream”, near a strip of Recreation Reserve leading steeply up to Maranatha Christian School. Though passable, we opted to travel downstream to private land and cross it, with permission, to Hill Road.
In the regenerating native forest of Sweetacres Reserve, after identifying native plants by the track, we had a quick scroggin stop, then above the bush, enjoyed views across the harbour and the park. From Old Coach Road, we descended the Danzig Track to the valley of Korokoro Stream’s true left branch, to have “lunch I” in the sun at picnic tables at the end of Stratton Street.
From the valley floor, we climbed toward Belmont Trig, to take the track down the valley through lovely bush with nikau and tawa, to the bridge over Korokoro Stream. We then voted unanimously to walk down the stream, rather than the track, to Korokoro Dam, and revelled in the aquatic route through picturesque tall forest. In the true right branch, upstream from Korokoro Forks, we saw pine forest devastated by storms in 2004, and the successful reinstatement of the track by Greater Wellington Regional Council (GWRC) staff and contractors. Our rates money had been well spent.
There was an expectant air as we ate “lunch II” at Baked Beans Bend, because soon we would tackle the M+ grade section of the trip, a steep gully near the start of part of the park which runs up to Horokiwi Road. The land is Wellington City Council’s (WCC) contribution to the park, and is managed by GWRC. To avoid a 10 m waterfall, we had a choice of routes. On a club trip on 6/9/01 (see December 2001 Tramper), our party descended a rock gut on the true right of the fall, then crossed a steep, loose slope to the creek bed. During a recce on 5 April, Barbara Mitcalfe and I found a route up through steep gorse to the true right of it. Peter Jagger showed us the best route of all. It began by climbing steep bush on the true left of the tributary, upstream from its fork with Korokoro Stream, opposite the Baked Beans Bend picnic site. Soon we reached a fl at, grassy, spur crest, then sidled easily to the creek upstream from the fall. Problem solved!
The gully has many nikau palms, several pukatea, karaeo/supplejack, and numerous fern species, so there was plenty of botanical interest, but we also had to watch our footing on slippery rocks and windfalls! Curious discoveries included two wire mesh cages and three golf balls. The reason for the former was obvious, but why anyone would waste golf balls by driving them into native bush eluded us!
We were chuffed to reach Horokiwi Road and enjoy the view across to Colonial Knob. We walked about 100 m north along it to the start of the track down to Caribbean Drive, Grenada North. The track is on land given by Transpower to WCC in 2000, for management as part of the Outer Green Belt. After a short scroggin break, sheltering from a cool wind, we hastened down through manuka shrublands, and native bush, past the tag war-games site, and across playing fields to Jamaica Drive. Then we followed a footpath down to Tawa Interchange, walked through Willowbank Park beside Takapu Stream, crossed the bridges over it and over Porirua Stream, and at 5.30 p.m. began our wait for the (late) train to town. We had a pleasant 8.25-hours traverse with a strong party and plenty of variety. We thank
- Masaki K for leading a trip on 10/12/05, when this trip was originally
scheduled, but Chris H was unable to lead it
- Barbara M for help with the recce
- GWRC pest-animal control staff for advice on routes in Speedy’s Stream
- GWRC staff in Parks and Forests for cadastral aerial photographs and
supplies of the new brochure Belmont Regional Park
- HCC staff who cleared rubbish from Speedy’s Stream Reserve, on request,
before our arrival
- The owner of land we traversed in Belmont
- Robert de Jong (Auckland T. C.), Virginia Frost, Diane Head, Chris Horne (leader/scribe), Peter Jagger, Mary Kane, Masaki Kojima, Chris Kroger, Ray Markham, Maria Mears, Ray Willows.