Friday, 2 January 2015
Day 63. Porirua to Thorndon, Wellington.
Today 31.5 km. Total 1674.5 km. 7 hours 50 minutes (0830 - 0900, 0940-1540, 1600-1720 breaks due to shopping).
I had a bit of a sleep in today as I wanted to be sure the shops would be open when I went through Porirua. After emerging from the forest I rejoined the trail which went through the Historic Gear Homestead (butcher who became millionaire) and Adrenaline Forest which is a high ropes obstacal course through the trees.
It was then on a pathway beside SH1 and then crossing over and into Porirua. I wanted to get some shoe putty to give my shoes a little more protection in the place they were wearing so I stopped at two supermarkets and trolled up and down the aisles to no success. To get over this frustration I detoured to MacDonalds for a big breakfast.
Once back on the trail there was a walkway between a school and some industrial areas. This seemed to have been recently upgraded to mountain bike quality hardpack gravel road. Part of it went through a tiny part of swamp and bits of bush and it was a nice little trail.
Porirua River Walkway
Trail through Porirua
Trail through Porirua
Trail through Porirua
It was then on the road for a few hundred meters and onto the track up to Colonial Knob. This was a good solid climb up through bush on a walking trail. Even though it was overcast it was muggy and I was completely saturated with sweat by the time I arrived at the first lookout. It was good to see so many Polynesian teenagers on the hill exercising. One girl was looking absolutely exhausted and told me this was her first time up this hill. I said to her I was very fit after walking for two months and I was finding it hard and she seemed to pick up. At the first lookout there was fantastic views over Porirua and the bays. As I was coming down the girl was coming up so I congratulated her on making it.
The trail was then in the open following a farm track up to Colonial Knob. Once at the top I got average views through the mist and then it was down through farmland to a forest. At the stile there was a sign warning that the track was a temporary one and could be muddy and sturdy shoes required. I must say I would love to have a track of this “temporary” standard as it was wonderful. Nice and smooth and easy gradient. There was a strange smell though that I struggled to identify but later saw on the map there was a landfill nearby which may explain it.
Track up Colonial Knob
Lots of stairs on the way up
View from the lookout over Porirua
The track up to Colonial Knob
Heading down now
Looking over Tawa
Great track through Spicer Forest
Huge Toadstool. That is the tip of my walking pole for scale on the left
At the bottom was a 6 km road walk before heading up Old Coach Road which was – wait for it… once a coach road. Love these original road names. This track gently wound its way up to the ridge. At one point was a cow and calf lying on the side of the track and they were completely unconcerned as I passed, not even bothering to get up which slightly annoyed the carnivore in me.
On the ridge it was then following a mountain bike trail and then 4WD track along the ridge and up to Mt Kaukau. Unfortunately Mt Kaukau was in cloud and I was only able to get brief glimpses of Wellington below me. I continued down the other side in the mist until turning off down Bell’s track. This was a steep track and I quickly made the transition from wilderness to city.
Views from the Skyline Track
Transmitter on top of Mt Kaukau
View from platform on Mt Kaukau
Descending back down, still in mist
The junction from the country to city
It was fun following the map and notes through the city, like a treasure hunt. I am glad I had the notes overlaid to my map as I think it would be frustrating referring to the two though it is actually possible to just use the trail notes from this point on and not the map. The trail partially followed the Wellington City Council Northern Walkway and then City to Sea Walkway. It was fantastic to be moving across the city barely ever venturing onto roads for long. This is why I love Wellington as a city, it is full of parks. You can be working in the center of the city and within 10 minutes be running through bush.
On the whole the trail was easy to follow with arrows pointing the way and the descriptions in the track notes clear. There were a couple of minor detours because I was taking the notes too literally. One thing that I should have been expecting given how hilly wellington is, is the amount of up and down the trail was doing. The good thing though is every new up gave a great view from a new perspective.
I loved this little sculpture on someones roof
Hard to believe that I am in the middle of a city. This is Trelissick Park
Te Ahumairangi Park
Life and death continues in the city - I was impressed with the size of spider this insect is carrying
Looking down at "The Cake Tin" the home of Wellington rugby
I was feeling tired so when I hit Thorndon just before 1730 I rang Di and she and Barry came and picked me up. Just as I was getting in the car I saw Fred and Nev so I said a quick hello. They were going to push on a bit further.
Once we arrived at their home they were fantastic. I watched the News on TV for the novelty of it and it was more of the same depressing news as normal. I then had a shower and we had a lovely dinner and desert with great conversation. Barry and Di are keen trampers and had some really entertaining stories of their travels so it was a fun evening.