Johnston Hill - Makara Peak - Wrights Hill
Wednesday June 21 2006
It’s a while since I’ve been on a Wednesday trip, let alone led one, so it was a surprise to find 23 people waiting at the corner of Karori Road and Hatton Street on a winter morning with predicted heavy rain. But the weather was kind and the rain didn’t eventuate till most of us were on the way home again.
It wasn’t long before we reached the top of Johnston Hill, the fi rst of three Karori ‘peaks’ we hoped to conquer. A brisk nor’westerly stopped us admiring the view for long, so we proceeded along a relatively new section of the skyline walkway towards the Makara hill road, with a short detour to look at a memorial to a young man, Gavin Dash, whose murdered body was found in the area a few years ago. His family planted a totara nearby.
Three people with afternoon commitments left us to walk down through the pines to Karori Park, while the rest crossed the road and entered the mountain bike park to walk up the zigzag Varley’s track towards Makara peak, pausing to view a memorial to another who died too young. Gareth Varley was killed while competing in mountain biking championships overseas.
From the peak we walked down until we reached Aratihi track on our left and stopped for lunch out of the wind. Aratihi track brought us to the Missing Link track down in the valley, where we crossed a stream and went up the other side. Choosing the Nikau track, we continued alongside the stream, where fresh watercress would have interested one member who’d dropped out earlier. We climbed to the ridge and stopped for water, remarking on the oddness of being on the hinterland of New Zealand’s largest suburb but yet feeling that, were it not for the presence of power pylons we could have been just about anywhere. No cyclists were out today.
A steady descent and there was South Karori Rd in the distance ... with one last hill before we actually reached the road. While some were happy to walk back to the Karori Park bus terminus, eleven turned up Hazelwood Avenue to the start of two tracks leading up Wrights Hill. Four of us, all Karori residents, chose a track also known as the Skyline walkway and then walked home. The other seven went up the Deliverance mountain bike track, eventually reaching their cars in Hatton Street at 4.30 pm ... around the time the rain started.
- Diana Barnes, David Burson, Graeme Claridge, Dave Dyett, Valerie Griffith, Carole Haigh, John Hart, John Hill, Hilary Hunter, Ian Hunter, Mary Inglis, Kath Kerr, Rolf Kluger, John McIvor, Maria Mears, Beth Newbold, Barbara Ogilvie, David Ogilvie, Bruce Popplewell, Kerry Popplewell, Pat Reesby (leader/scribe), John Thomson, Bill Wheeler.