Midland Park – Kilbirnie (E)
12 March 2017
Dear Hughie, no matter your degree of incontinence, some trampers refuse to be deterred. As Lyn said afterwards, “Very enjoyable despite the wet. Better in it than looking at it I think.” Yours sincerely, The group of five. We set off up Woodward St, tunnelled under The Terrace, passed the Urban Motorway’s gargantuan pillars and climbed steps to Tokyo Lane. This footpath was named in 2009 to mark the 55th year of the Embassy of Japan in NZ. The path runs parallel to the motorway, southwards to the Cable Car’s Clifton Station. At the top of Boulcott St, we entered our first part of the Town Belt. Once on the City-to-Sea Walkway, below Kelburn Park, we were amazed to find a cascade tumbling beside the track – see image. Over 40 mm of rain had fallen in the previous 12 hours. Drizzle continued as we walked, and this cascade was the first of its effects that we saw.
From Salamanca Rd we climbed a zigzag to near VUW’s magnificent brick Hunter Building, opened in 1906, then sidled to Mount Street Memorial Park, the city’s first cemetery (1840-1890s). A few metres along Wai-te-Ata Rd, we climbed steps to walk the paths above VUW’s buildings at nos. 2–12 Wai-te-Ata Rd, then descended to the road. Just beyond Boyd-Wilson Field, we saw the steps which had led up to the house of the governor of the former Terrace Gaol (1853-1927) on the site now occupied by Te Aro School.
An urban ‘rapid’ flowed down from the junction of Abel Smith St and The Terrace, more evidence of Hughie’s incontinence. Up some steps off the top of Abel Smith St, we turned onto St John St, a footpath, not a street. It sidles to a zigzag down to Aro Park and its strategically located loos. Up Aro St a few minutes later, at Aro Café, we relished hot drinks and scrumptious munchies, using the only occupied outside table.
Epuni Street is interesting to walk up, whatever side you choose, because there are numerous attractive wooden houses, some dating from the late 1800s. We walked up the west side, so saw the indigo-coloured house and a three-storey house which has been jacked up and re-piled to make it upright again. At the top end of the street we entered Tanera Park’s section of the Town Belt, scrambled up a slope to the park’s lawns - once covered in pines - above the foundations of the former geriatric hospital.
After crossing Ohiro Rd, we descended Central Park’s Caretaker’s Track to the bridge over ‘Moturoa Stream’, then climbed the City-to-Sea Walkway for a short distance to clamber up past a giant macrocarpa, and onto the park’s grassy slopes looking over the CBD and harbour. We crossed Brooklyn Rd to Nairn St Park, then climbed Bell Rd to the reservoirs and footpath to Dorking Rd. We enjoyed identifying the range of vegetables, fruit and flowers growing in the community garden on Town Belt land. Off the end of Asquith Tce, we walked down to a branch of Waitangi Stream, then climbed the spur crest above Hutchison Rd. This site has been cleared of pines, so gives good views over parts of the city. During a pre-trip recce, the leader had spent almost two hours weeding about 40 steps on the City-to-Sea Walkway leading down to Hutchison Rd. We sidled among Town Belt pines above Rugby League Park to the Cook Islands Society hall.
After climbing the slopes at the north end of Macalister Park, we descended to cross the playing field used for cricket and ultimate frisbee, and beyond to the bush edge and two short flights of steps leading to the end of Waripori* St, Berhampore. This street is noteworthy because of its combination of western cul-de-sac, steps leading to a walkway, central cul-de-sac, and the array of fine old wooden houses.
From Russell Tce, we entered Newtown Park, to enjoy lunch in the comfort of the bus-stop shelter near the Zoo. Then we went from the top of Owen St into our eighth section of the Town Belt. North of the reservoirs just south of the end of Coromandel St, we descended a broad spur towards the Kilbirnie Tennis Club, and Crawford Rd. Finally we followed the path off Naughton Tce and above Crawford Rd, to arrive at Rongotai Rd, and a choice of bus stops. Our cross-town caper took us 4.5 hours.
- * a corruption of the name of Wharepouri, the great Ngatiawa fighting chief, who died in 1842
- Party members
- Fi Coster, Michele Dickson, Lynne Pomare, Lyn Taylor, Chris Horne (leader and scribe).