Ōtari-Silversky Track-Huntleigh Park-Korimako Track-Ngaio E
19 February 2023
As we descended from Wilton's Izard Park, a kererū in the forest canopy watched us, then a kākāriki chattered overhead. We were stunned at the sight of Te Mahanga1 Stream below the Sanctuary-to-Sea Walkway – it was running high and was muddy from the slip which occurred at Wilton Park in December. In Ōtari hundreds of kihikihi / cicadas sang in the forest as they sought mates while we climbed the Red Trail through mature native forest towards suburban Chartwell. We passed Wilton Substation, an important node in the National Grid. It distributes power from the Cook Strait cable throughout Wellington. We then walked along a 4WD track on the Outer Green Belt to have scroggin at the top of Silversky Track. From here we could see over the valley of ‘Silver Stream’2 to the rest of our route across the Outer Green Belt. Opened in 2015, Silversky Track descends in zig zags for 1.4 km through the 3.7 ha Silversky Reserve's regenerating native forest. It crosses a sturdy curved footbridge, funded by the Transpower Community Fund, over a tiny tributary of ‘Silver Stream’, itself a tributary of Korimako3 Stream.
Down Silverstream Road, below Ngaio Playcentre, we crossed the bridge over ‘Silver Stream’, walked upstream on a little-used track and then climbed steadily on what may once have been a farm road, now in lovely bush in the valley of a small tributary of ‘Silver Stream’. With care, we scaled a short, steep, slippery slope to reach our lunch spot at a three-way track junction beside one of several hīnau. We left the bush at Huntleigh Park Way and walked up to the driveway to no. 47, on road reserve, then climbed a stile at the start of Korimako Track, which follows the line of a former farm road, passing a locked concrete shed, the sole sign of former farming. The bush either side of the track is vigorously regenerating native forest steadily over-topping areas of gorse, Darwin's barberry, old man's beard, etc. The track has numerous clay steps and ends at Bell's Track, down which we went to the top of Awarua Street, Ngaio.
We walked down the street for fifteen minutes to the Northern Walkway track into Cummings Park Play Area then up to Ottawa Rd to enter Café Villa to enjoy refreshments on the deck, four hours after we left Wilton.
Transport: No. 22 Mairangi bus from Wellington Bus Interchange to the terminus at the bottom of Norwich St. Homeward-bound - the Johnsonville Line train.
¹ The Great Harbour of Tara. G. Leslie Adkin. 1959. Whitcombe and Tombs Ltd. 1959. Page 34; Map IV page 120. ² Assumed name – from its proximity to Silverstream Road. ³ As in ¹ above. Page 32; Map IV page 121.
- Party members
- Paul Bruce, Bob Cijffers, Fi Coster, Michele Dickson, Chris Horne (leader and scribe), Carol Paice, Chris Paice, Marris Weight