Mt. Crawford / Matai–moana to Seatoun E
Sunday 4 June 2023
We alighted from the no. 24 Miramar Heights bus opposite the gates of the former Wellington Prison (1927-2012). The first part of our tramp was a fascinating tour of the former prison's garden, led by Patty Zais who looks after this productive community garden¹. She said there are over 100 garden plots, each rented by a family or an individual. Large volumes of compost are created on site for use by the renters. Conditions of renting include bans on using herbicides and insecticides. The former greenhouse is now a meeting place, an office, a tiny museum and a place to harden-off seedlings. Patty then led us north to see a fish pond with a fountain, a spiral garden, beehives, then several striking sculptures made from cow dung and clay, coated with lime to weather-proof them – the creation of Manju, a woman from India and her Kiwi friend Ruth1.
We walked south beside the prison wall to Access Rd, a cul-de-sac, once the site of several houses – the homes of prison officers and their families. What a pleasure it was to tramp on Juvie Track in regenerating native forest in Centennial Park. We crossed a tiny creek, the headwater of the stream which from Darlington Rd, Miramar, flows in a culvert to Lyall Bay. Down Nevay Rd, then along Fortification Rd we came to Nakora Rd. The upper part - ca. 50 m - is formed – the rest is unformed legal road (ULR), mostly in native forest. Here, in karaka forest we had lunch, a hurried affair when a short downpour began.
After descending two slippery slopes we emerged at Pretoria Rd. The first part – above steep Overton Park - is vehicle-free. At its south end it joins Napier St. We went up the driveway serving numbers. 19, 21, 23 and 29 from which runs a footpath well above Napier St. At Tai Paku Paku Rd we couldn't walk the unformed legal road above it from the driveway serving numbers 16, 18 and 20, because it awaits clearance following the completion of construction. Further along the road we went up a driveway serving numbers 16, 18 and 20 then descended the steps. Tai Paku Paku zigzag is a treat – native forest, including a kohekohe in flower, a wētā hotel and a flight of steps in a remarkable cutting – see image.
From Karaka Bay Rd we climbed Awa Rd to the zigzag up to Worser Bay School. The view from Seatoun Lookout across the harbour is striking. We descended Kakariki Rd zigzag to Marine Pde, climbed Beere Haven steps, descended Fettes Cres and Pinelands Ave and were soon in Little Sprig Café & Bar, Dundas St, for refreshments. Alan's device showed that we had walked 7.8 km with 989 m. altitude gain in about 4.5 hours!
- Party members
- Chris Horne (leader and scribe), Diana Barnes, Alan Benge, Lainey Cowan, Chris Paice, Marris Weight.