The Odell Odessey
2019 10 November
Unfazed by steady rain, we met at bus stop 5412, Punjab St, Khandallah, to begin our climb to Odell Reserve, 221 m. It is site of the Onslow Reservoirs: one free-standing - built 2004, 450 m³; one under the flat summit area - built 1946, 1300 m³. Dense cloud hid Mt Kaukau and the lower half of its TV pylon, making its upper half resemble a rocket blasting into space! Across Te Whanganui a Tara, thin strips of cloud graced the flanks of the Remutaka Range and East Harbour Regional Park. We were surrounded by good views.
We appreciated the high standard of the flights of steps in Pīwakawaka Reserve, leading through bush, past pest traps, some weeds and a wee old dam, to Old Porirua Road. In the rain, Cockayne Rd’s bus shelter was the perfect possie to enjoy scroggin and a cuppa.
After a brief road walk, we entered Trelissick Park, each carrying the excellent brochure produced by WCC and the Trelissick Park Group (TPG). Far below, we heard the roar of flood water in Kaiwharawhara Stream, so scrapped the idea of fording it then climbing to Oban St, Highland Park. Instead we walked the Forest Remnant Track, sidling through tall native forest on the really steep slopes of Ngaio Gorge. Peter, active with TPG since 2002, told us about the group’s work controlling pest animals and planting native species to replace weeds. We were most impressed by several tawa, a huge tōtara, large mataī and kānuka. We followed the Northern Walkway down to a bridge over the swollen stream and up towards Wadestown. Elizabeth, using her boot to clear leaves and twigs from the water-filled track-side drain, inspired Alan to say ‘This is a really draining trip’.
We used Wadestown’s wharepaku/loos for their design purpose then Hera warmed her tiny ‘Twyla’ under the hand-dryer. Despite its fur, plus a woolly jacket and waterproof cover, the wee pooch felt the cold. Once again, a bus shelter was our dining room, sheltering us from rain as we enjoyed our lunches. Thus reinforced, we walked down Lennel Rd to have hot drinks and munchies in the cosy Le Maquis Café. Along Hosking Lane from the tramera bus shelter and across the footbridge to Lower Watt St, we looked down into Wadestown Cutting, excavated so trams could reach Wadestown shops.
From Grosvenor Tce, walking on Road Reserve (RR) which serves as a driveway for nos. 10-22, we entered WCC land including the Unformed Legal Road (ULR) called “Baker Street”. In 2004, club member, Dave Gobey and CH happened to meet on a bus. They discussed “Baker St” which CH had seen on a 1998 AA Street Directory and a 1982 NZMS 261 Sheet R27 Wellington Cadastral Map. Dave searched for and found three maps showing this ULR, then sent them to CH. They are dated 1841, 1980 and 2006. Everyone was given a copy of the maps Dave had found. In preparation for the trip, CH had worked along the ULR, clearing tradescantia, fallen trees, blackberry, etc., and piling litter. Hera gathered some of this then put it in a skip on Sar St. The final descent to Sar St requires care. Using 15 m of climbing rope on CH’s waist belay, one person at a time descended using the rope as a hand rail. The scree down to a lamppost proved to be no trouble, and c. 4.5 hours from Punjab St we reached our destination, Sar St. We enjoyed a peri-urban jaunt while c. 20 mm of rain fell. Thank you Hughie – you made our trip all the more memorable.
- Party members
- Alan Benge, Elizabeth Bridge, Hera Cook + ‘Twyla’, Michele Dickson, Peter Reimann, Chris Horne (leader and scribe)