Porirua-Whitireia Peninsula-Titahi Bay-Pikarere Farm-Porirua Reserve Circuit M
Wednesday 26 January 2022
The walk began with a bus ride from Porirua Station to the start of the walkway that winds its way around the Whitireia Peninsular of Porirua Harbour. We were a group of 26 and the trip was part of a series of walks intended to follow the western coast (more or less) from Waikanae to Wellington.
The day was cool, a contrast with the usual hot days of Wellington’s wonderful summer. The cloud was low, rain threatened but morale was high and there was plenty of summer holiday stories to share with others in the party. We made our way around the inner harbour and were at Onehunga Bay, opposite Plimmerton before we stopped for morning tea. The attractive picnic area at the bay was occupied by a club taking children out in little Optimus sailing boats. We moved on to the shelter of some pōhutakawa trees as a squall came in from the north. The squall had passed by the time we finished our break and we continued around the harbour until the walkway left the shoreline. After a short climb we followed the cliff edge south to Titahi Bay.
Out to sea, Mana Island was visible beneath a thick cap of cloud. There was no sign of the South Island. Below, were the cliffs where the Club had introduced hundreds of new members to rock climbing as part of the traditional Alpine Instruction Course. Above us were a series of clearly visible terraces. These, we were told by Mike Crozier, were old gardens and had been built by Māori, possibly in Te Raupara’s time. They were used for growing kūmara and other crops and there was evidence that Māori had brought in fern ash to these gardens as a fertilizer.
At the end of the cliffs, we found a path around the front of a line of houses. Fences had been built at the beginning and end of this path, presumably to discourage people from using what some would consider a hazardous route. We made it through the fences without undue problems and walked down the urban streets to Titahi Bay. Lunch was enjoyed on a sheltered grassy terrace at the end of the Bay.
From here our route followed the walkway along the southern cliffs and back up Moki Street into the urban area of Titahi Bay. We had obtained permission from the owner of Pikarere Farm to pass through the property and get access across the paddocks to the western edge of the Porirua Reserve. This involved walking up Pikarere Street and entering the farm via a locked gate and a cattle stop. This area is occupied by a flock of hens, some with tiny chicks. To our dismay, one mother hen led her large family across the cattle stop where one by one they dropped through the rails. With mother squawking angrily, a successful rescue was led by Trish Gardiner-Smith.
Further up the road, heavy mist, windswept pine trees and Black Angus cattle turned the landscape into something out of the Hebrides. ‘Go past the woolshed and down the hill a bit then head up through the paddocks’, were the directions from the owner. This we did and with assistant leaders, Crozier and Larsen, in front we headed up the hills. The mist was so thick the stragglers at the back (including me) couldn’t see the leaders, but their navigation was perfect and the gate to the reserve found without trouble. In an early and necessary reconnaissance, Mike, Howard and I had found and marked a route through the bush to the newish MTB track that twists and turns down through the reserve. Trying to avoid the temptation to cut corners we descended until we picked up an old walking track that led directly to the streets of Elsdon. From here, the group dispersed, some to waiting cars and others to the Station and a train back to Wellington.
The trip took seven hours and covered about 22 km, a long, varied and interesting walk. ‘Exhausting but satisfying’ was one verdict.
- Party members
- Sheriff: Paddy Gresham. Deputies: Mike Crozier and Howard Larsen. Posse: John Allard, Peter Barber, Alistair Beckett, Linda Beckett, Paul Bruce, Bob Buckle, Sylvia Dixon, Trish Gardiner-Smith, John Hill, Mary Kane, Justin Kerr, Dianne Kerse, Jane-Pyar Mautner, David Ogilvie, Lynne Pomare, Marilyn Richards, Penny Salmon, Peter Smith, Bob Stephens, Janice Tijsen, Ann Walker, Helena Weller-Chew, Christine Whiteford.