Escarpment Track’s Successes and Problems

The Escarpment Track leading south from Paekakariki

Te Araroa brings tourists to Paekakariki

By Jeremy Smith

And the view seawards!

Twelve months after its opening, the 10km Pukerua Bay- Paekakariki escarpment track has been an extraordinary success … and great for Paekakariki shops.

The track, part of the remarkable Te Araroa Walkway from North Cape to the Bluff, has been averaging out at 100 walkers per day.  Some days there’s been 1500 on the this challenging route. Walkers can do it in two-plus hours.

But the success also brings two major problems: dogs and toilets.

Toilets needed

Gary Simpson who chairs Te Araroa’s Wellington trust says the lack of toilets at the Pukerua Bay end has seen some people using the bushes.

And some people taking their dogs for a walk on the track don’t seem to know that pooches are not allowed.

Mr Simpson says this is not a decision made by Te Araroa: the resource consent specifically bars dogs. They’ve now had to put up “no dog” signs at either ends.

Plenty of parking — and train links

In Paekakariki, congestion in Ames Street seems to have eased, with track walkers getting the message they can park their cars in Robertson Road and in the rail commuter parks.

Weekend train users are noticing how well Metlink is doing from walkers and runners who use the trains to get to the track or back  to their vehicles, mostly at Paekakariki.

Cafes and shops flourishing

The news for some Paekakariki shops is more than good, with thousands of coffees and beers being sold to thirsty walkers.

And it’s not just for those selling liquids – Selena Mackey of RG’s Organics and More, says the fruit and vege shop which opened last year about the same time as the track itself,  has been enjoying very good business.