Pukerua Bay to Plimmerton along the coast

All  aboard Winston’s Train!

Story by Roger Childs, photos by Pam Childs

Winston's train approaching Paraparaumu

Winston’s train approaching Paraparaumu

The Peters’ Express departs week days from Waikanae at 9.00 am and fills up at Paraparaumu about 9.07.

The passengers have fifty shades of grey hair and flash their gold cards with gay abandon. It’s a free trip to the big city or, perhaps, just to Pukerua Bay.

We alighted at that stop and while some were destined for a walk in the hills on the new trail to Paekakariki, we went the other way.

For us it was a trek from Pukerua Bay to  Plimmerton, the hard way. Not the easy jaunt down the Harakeke Track, but round the rugged coastline.

Dropping down to the coast

Resize Pukerua coastal walk 001There were mild but windy conditions as we walked down to the beach below the town. We were soon heading south along a reasonable track around the rugged coast. An impressive Maori carving marks the beginning of the unadvertised trail, reminiscent of the First Nation totem poles in Vancouver’s Stanley Park.

We knew we had about 8km, to cover before we would reach civilisation at Hongoeka Bay and hoped the track would continue much of the Resize Pukerua coastal walk 003way. It didn’t, but ran out after a couple of kilometres.

No worries, we walked on over the rocks, across the driftwood and along the shingle beaches. Now and then a semblance of track would appear, but never continued for long.

A wild and dramatic coastline

This is typical of the coasts around the Wellington area: very similar to the shorelines near Makara and on the south coast to Red Rocks. The cliffs rise dramatically from the narrow rocky beaches and there are huge accumulations of driftwood.

Resize Pukerua coastal walk 012Pukerua coastal walk 014Plenty of timber washes up along these parts and much of it is high on the shoreline at the base of the slopes. This is a very exposed coast and is often battered by heavy seas.

At one point we found a log about 20m long which provided a nice resting place with a sea view!

The cliffs are very steep and now and then we would come across screes which flowed down from 100m – 150m above. Also on the slopes we spotted a few feral goats, dancing sure-footedly on horizontal tracks high on the cliffs.

Pukerua coastal walk 005Resize Pukerua coastal walk 008We had a strong north-westerly behind us all the way, which whipped up a myriad of white caps on the surface of the restless sea.

Nearing the road end from Hongoeka Bay we spotted a goat carcass and the stench followed us for at least 10 minutes!

Back to civilisation

After about 6km of rock hopping and shingle treking we reached a road end which had once carried trucks to a now abandoned quarry. This is Maori land, but it was a surprise to see a sign, about 2km from the houses of Hongoeka Bay, saying 6A Hongoeka, Private Property on the seaward side of the road.

The old quarry site

The old quarry site

We knew we were closing in on our destination when we could see Titahi Bay across the sea to the south and the imposing Whitirea Peninsula.

The shingle road became a sealed one in Hongoeka Bay, and then it was onto the footpaths of beautiful Karehana Bay, where there are plenty of magnificent houses with superb views to the south.We had a quick lunch at Plimmerton and then it was over to the platform at the station. As luck would have it, a train arrived immediately and it was back to the Kapiti Coast.

Highly recommended

Resize Pukerua coastal walk 016Pukerua coastal walk 010We had covered about 12km from station to station in about 3 hours. We had a few stops for snacks and photos, so if could be done much faster.

The trek requires a reasonable level of fitness and steadiness on uneven surfaces, but is well worthwhile.  There are no climbs.

Having warm clothing is a must as it is a windy, exposed coast and lining up a supportive northerly is desirable.  Also the usual snacks, water and bananas are useful for some sustenance along the way.

It’s possible to do it at high tide, however low or a little after the turn is probably the best time to make the expedition.

(Thanks to our railways correspondent, Bruce Taylor, for organising the walk. Bruce will soon be providing an article on Transdev Australaisa, the new operators of the Wellington rail network as of July 1.) 


Rakiura Track: Stewart Island

Walking the Rakiura Track was definitely the highlight of my year. American tourist, Peggy

It all starts from Oban

By Roger Childs

Capital of Stewart Island: the seaside settlement of Oban

Most of Stewart Island’s 400 permanent inhabitants live in the Halfmoon Bay settlement of Oban. From here you can do walks ranging from a scenic 2-3 hour stroll on tracks inland from Oban, to a 9 day tramp round the northern part of the island. However, by far the most popular, is the three day excursion on the Rakiura Track.

Until you get there, you don’t appreciate that this is a large island by New Zealand standards. Kapiti is 20km², Great Barrier 285km² however Stewart Island covers more than 1746km²! The Rakiura tramp is about 38km long, but it only encompasses a small peninsula in this substantial landmass.

A superb mix of bush, beach and birds

The Rakiura Track is justifiably one of New Zealand’s Great Walks and is manageable for anyone with a moderate level of fitness. It is split into a very enjoyable three days of 4-6 hours tramping.


~ well graded shingle paths for 80% of the way

~ varied landscapes including great coastal vistas

~ beautiful native bush

~ plenty of photo opportunities

~ relicts of past saw milling ventures.

There are well-appointed huts for the two nights in the bush, but you need to take your own food and cooking equipment.

Day One: Oban to Port William, fascinating country

A successful hunting expedition

This is just 8.1 km in the bush, or 14.1 k if you negotiate the roads from Oban to Lee Bay on foot. You can get dropped off at the start of the track, but walking the road section is well worthwhile, as you head north through varied landscapes and round the impressive Horseshoe Bay.

From Lee Bay you are straight into the beautiful bush and the undulating high quality shingle track keeps close to the coastline. Early on you pass through a chain link of Maui’s anchor: Te Punga a Maui. (In Polynesian legend, Rakiura was the anchor for the great explorer’s waka.)

As we started off we met the local cop who had just completed a successful hunting expedition: one of the perks of upholding the law in the Far South.

There are plenty of opportunities for photos along the coastal track and near Maori Bay there are the relict features of an old sawmill. There was a permanent settlement here which included a school, and earlier in the 19th century a short-lived community of Shetland Islanders was set up.

Port William

You walk on the sand round the bay, then onto a swing bridge and back into the some ups and downs in the bush before reaching the first hut at Port William.

This is a beautiful spot and has a swimming beach, plenty of bird life and a safe anchorage for boats. Our swim was a cold one but very refreshing after 4 hours tramping! The oyster season started the night we were there and in the morning there were 10 boats off shore.

Day Two: Across the peninsula

This is the most demanding of the three days with 13km to cover and includes a couple of steady climbs of over 200m. You cross the peninsula, so quickly leave the north coast on the way to Patterson Inlet and the North Arm Hut. The bush is majestic and there are a couple of beautiful clear water streams which are traversed by modern bridges. Well formed, shingle tracks and cut wooden steps are easily negotiated for the first half.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis was our one wet day and it teemed down after we reached the top of the second high point. Unfortunately it coincided with tracks of the traditional tramping variety and you needed to watch your step over the tree roots and through the muddy puddles.

The sight of the hut was a very welcome one and with a roaring fire going into the evening we were able to dry most of our gear. Three young French backpackers, who abandoned their sodden tents, added a bit of colour to our group of 22 Kiwis.

Day Three: heading for home

It’s just 11km back to Oban along the north coast of Patterson Inlet. The track winds in and out of the forest where tall kamahi and rimu thrive. Periodically you go close to shoreline and there are plenty of photo opportunities.

Fern gully alongside the old Kaipipi tramway

There are also historic mill sites along the way and from Kaipipi the track follows one on the old bush tramways which took timber through to Oban. In mid November 1918 the senior school kids from Oban raced the 5km along the tramway to tell the sawmillers that the Great War was over.

As you come down the hill to the outlying roads of Oban you pass a beautiful fern gully on your right. However if you want even more scenery you can head along a longer coastal track beside Patterson Inlet.

A very manageable and rewarding experience

Back in Oban there are a number of dining options, and the museum, conservation centre and the nearby Ulva Island predator free, bird sanctuary, are all worth a visit. There is also a little theatre where they put on an hilarious film about the island, called A Dog’s Tail.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe three day Rakiura trek is very manageable, the tracks are great and the scenery is delightful. Our trip was organised by the Milton Rotary Club and having 22 people from all over the nation in the group made for plenty of company, conversation and fun.

The Club organises tramps and bike rides all round the southern South Island. See their website: http://www.otagorotarytrusttramps.org.nz/

The third in the Stewart Island series will be on the history. Polynesians were early visitors to Rakiura and in recent centuries a great range of economic activity took place from sealing and ship building to tin mining and sheep farming, with varying degrees of success.


  Te Kouka Track Opened

thanks again for another great horse / people track. Horsewoman, Anita Jones

Whareroa Guardians push out the tracks

View from near the top of the Ti Kouka track

By Roger Childs

Another fantastic walking, running or riding experience is now possible in Whareroa Farm on the Kapiti Coast. Volunteers worked on the track with support from the DOC Community Conservation Partnerships Fund. It was officially opened on 1 February and led by Guardian Coordinator, Ann Evans, a group of horses and trampers headed upwards into the mist. This new trail rises 300m and reaches the highest point in the Farm.

The opening day experience: moist!

Ann Evans beside the first signpost

Ann Evans describes what happened after the new sign was put in the ground.

We all headed to the next new sign by the Cairn … the horses headed off up the track, followed by trampers. By the time we reached the Ti Kouka we were in the cloud and it then started raining heavily. However, some stalwarts went all the way to the Rocks, others enjoyed a shorter walk. Since then horses and trampers have already been exploring this new area of the reserve.

Features of the Ti Kouka (cabbage tree)

The track starts from the main Farm Road and runs off to the right and goes up the

The cabbage trees that give the track its name

inland side of the Cairn. From there the Ti Kouka trail winds into a gully and then rises steeply up a sharp ridge close to two cabbage trees which give the track its name. Blue poles provide a guide as to where to go and fortunately there are gentler rises higher up.

In parts the grass is long and the track indistinct and it’s important to keep an eye out for the next pole. There probably need to be more of these markers in the higher reaches. It is a demanding climb and the runners I was with were grateful to see the Rocks and a farm gate.


From the top there are wonderful views in all directions and this alone makes the effort of getting there worthwhile.

The perspective of a horse rider

Anita Jones and some friends rode the track on a fine day and here are her comments.

Horses and riders ready to head up the Ti Kouka

We were all impressed with the track, it was clear enough footing for us to have a nice canter uphill. It was so nice to have the track to ourselves yesterday, but we are loving having to share it and look out for only people, not mountain bikes! A few of the horses were unfit and others were very fit but we all stuck together and waited for those less fit horses. It gave the less fit horse owners a bit of incentive to use the track more often to improve our horses’ fitness. I know one rider whose horse has back issues and because it’s not so steep a track, it’ll really help rehabilitate him. We love the East Ridge track, but it’s too steep for the more unfit horses so this one will be more used.

(See picture of the week below for the view from the top with the horses.)

Access issues

Runner Rob Willetts approaches one of the blue poles on the upper slopes

Currently walkers, runners, horses and riders have to return the way they came. There is private property between the top of the track and the higher reaches of Campbell’s Mill Road.

To cross this land, permission would need to be obtained in advance from farmer Will van Crutchen.

The Guardians are looking to improve access to provide options to going out and back.

We hope that sometime in the future a formal easement (to Campbell’s Mill Road) may be negotiated. Also in the future, we plan to make this route into a loop, returning down the Ramaroa Valley to the south, but this is not yet available. Ann Evans

Six tracks heading upwards

Whareroa 7The opening of the Ti Kouka adds a sixth track for those wanting to go up from the Farm. The other five trails branch off from the HUB and take the venturesome to Campbell’s Mill Road high above.

The Link Track: This is affectionately known to many runners and mountain bikers as the zigzag. It starts as a short bush trail then merges into a grassy section before the major clay track climb of about 3km.It is also the designated uphill mountain bike track and is popular with walkers and runners.

The Downhill Track: This is a sharp grassy rise of about 1.5 km, south of the zigzag and is a tough one to run. As the name indicates, it is the currently the designated track down for mountain bikers.

The East Ridge Track: This is just to the south of the Downhill and was officially opened a few months ago. It is another grassy trail and can be slippery. It is a demanding 1.3km climb for humans and horses, but has a nice feature with alternate routes about half way up.

The Mountain Bike Track: Going up this includes a steep grassy slope, some bush terrain, a long open section hugging the north slope of the ridge and finishes with more zigzagging through the bush. It joins onto the top of the Link Track.

The Horse Track: This starts from the bottom of the clay section of the Link Track and finishes at Campbell’s Mill Road. However, it is currently very overgrown with high grass and weeds and has some swampy sections. The trail probably hasn’t seen a horse for a while!

All the tracks provide spectacular views of the Kapiti Coast on a clear day.

More to come!

Work is currently being done on a seventh trail. This South-east Ridge Track will rise steeply on the same spur as the Mountain Bike Track, but go higher. It will provide access to Campbell’s Mill Road uphill from the two present entry points into Whareroa Farm.

Whareroa GuardiansWhareroa Farm is located off State Highway One, north of Paekakariki. From the south, turn off at Mackays Crossing, go under the highway to the car park off the roundabout. From the north, take the Mackays Crossing exit. The Whareroa Farm car park is off the roundabout on the left.

Whareroa Connections

The Whareroa Guardians are a wonderful volunteer force of over 200 people and an ideal partner for the Department of Conservation… Former Minister of Conservation, Nick Smith

The wonders of Whareroa Farm

By Roger Childs.  Photos by Ian Linning

Whareroa 12In a great triumph for community action on the Kapiti Coast, Whareroa Farm was saved in 2005. Instead of being sold to developers, the government bought it and handed it over to the Department of Conservation (DoC).

The Whareroa Guardians Community Trust was set up in 2006 and over the last nine years the Guardians have worked with DoC to transform the area.

Whareroa Guardians picVolunteers have planted over 40,000 trees, shrubs and flaxes, caught a large number of pests and organised many public events. However, for walkers, trampers, runners and mountain bikers, the tracks linking the lower part of the farm with Campbell’s Mill Road high above, have been a fantastic development.

There are now five trails winding up the hill and more are planned.

The popular Link Track

Whareroa 7This is affectionately known to many runners and mountain bikers as the zigzag. It starts as a short bush trail then merges into a grassy section before the major clay track climb of about 3 kilometres (km). The Link Track is probably the most popular means of getting to Campbell’s Mill Road, as it has a moderate gradient. It is also the designated uphill mountain bike track.

In late May, it is the downhill section for the annual In the Footsteps of the Marines event. Up to 160 walkers and runners spill down the mountainside into what was the American’s Camp MacKay in 1942-3.

The well established Downhill Track

Whareroa 6This is a sharp grassy rise of about 1.5 km, south of the zigzag and a tough one to run. As the name indicates, it is the currently the designated track down for mountain bikers.

Back in the 1980s and 1990s this was the early part of Stage 4 in the Kapiti Harriers Running Tour. This event had five stages totalling 47 km over two days. The climb up the “downhill” was well named as the The Enduro and it was just the start of a 17 km run to Waikanae!

The new East Ridge Track

This is just to the south of the Downhill and was officially opened a few months ago. It is another grassy trail and can be slippery.

It is a demanding climb of about 1.3 km, but has a nice feature with alternate routes about half way up. The Link, Downhill and East Ridge Track all meet at a spot known as FIVE WAYS. The two other ways take people up to Campbell’s Mill Road about 200 metres away. One of these is the continuation of the Link track.

As with all the trails, the vistas of the Kapiti Coast are spectacular on a fine day, and probably the best viewing position is at FIVE WAYS.

The sensational South East Ridge Tracks

A public education session at The Hub

This is an amazing recent development with tracks covering about 4-5 km. Built by volunteers with diggers, picks, crowbars, wheelbarrows and spades the main South East track hugs the ridge to the south of the spur which carries the Downhill and East Ridge trails. Access is from THE HUB, an area from which all the uphill tracks diverge. The lower part of the SE excursion takes you past one of the relict features of Marines occupation, the concrete “Water Intake”.

This new trail provides a highly technical downhill ride for the experienced mountain biker and a demanding climb for the fit runner. At present it is 98% complete and just requires two small ravines near the top to be crossed. It is “at your own risk” on the upper section, but can be negotiated with care.

The SE Ridge Track includes a steep grassy slope, some bush terrain, a long open section hugging the north slope of the ridge and finishes with more zigzagging through the bush. It joins onto the top of the Link Track.

About two thirds of the way down there is the early development of an alternative track up or down. This is negotiable but not well formed at this point.

The overgrown Horse Track

This starts from the bottom of the clay section of the Link track and finishes at Campbell’s Mill Road. Back in the 1980s when the area was farmed, this was a well formed trail which, along with the Downhill, was the only way up  or down. However, it is currently very overgrown with high grass and weeds, and probably hasn’t seen a horse since late last century!

The upper sections are very steep and even coming down, the high undergrowth makes running or walking very difficult.

Challenges for young and old

Whareroa 4The various tracks up the slopes from Whareroa Farm are great for fit runners, walkers and mountain bikers. However on the flatter areas of the main part of the farm there are plenty of shorter excursions through bush, recently planted areas and farm land.

One of these trails is the Cairn View Track which is a manageable climb of about 500 metres to a terrace where a large cairn has been built. From here there are spectacular views across the Farm, the Kapiti Coast and the sea and of parts of the five tracks linking Whareroa with the high road.

Whareroa Farm is  a huge success story and the evolving landscape does great credit to the Trust and their hard working volunteers.

Whareroa Farm is located off State Highway One, north of Paekakariki. From the south, turn off at Mackays Crossing, go under the highway to the car park off the roundabout. From the north, take the Mackays Crossing exit. The Whareroa Farm car park is off the roundabout on the left.

This track takes trampers and horse riders up to the highest point of the reserve: “The Rocks”, at 320m altitude, a total climb of 300m. Whareroa Guardian Convener, Ann Evans

High In The Hills Above Whareroa

Ambitious track opened

By Roger Childs

2015-01-31 07.30.09The Whareroa Farm’s latest track is the steepest and highest yet. Cut into the south-eastern corner of the Whareroa land area, the trail rises 300m to reach some large rocks high above. From here, and along the way up, there are spectacular views of land, sea and island.

On Sunday February 1 the Ti Kouka/Rocks Track was officially opened by the Guardians. However the day before four runners from the Kapiti Joggers and Walkers decided to take up the challenge of running it.

Mixed gradients and surfaces

Runner Rob Willetts approaches one of the last blue markers

The track starts off the main Farm Road to the right and runs on the inland side of the Cairn. Stopping at the cairn site is always worthwhile as there are great vistas from the terrace. From there the Ti Kouka trail winds into a little gulley and rises steeply up a sharp ridge. Blue poles provide a guide as to where to go and fortunately there are gentler rises higher up.

In parts the grass is long and the track indistinct and it’s important to keep an eye out for the next pole. There probably need to be more of these markers in the higher reaches. It is a demanding climb and the runners were grateful to see the Rocks and a farm gate.

From the top there are wonderful views in all directions and this alone makes the effort of getting there worthwhile.

Getting back: options

Obviously walkers, runners and riders can return the way they came and this means the fantastic vistas are always in front of you. However there are other interesting options. You can climb over a gate and go up through a private pine plantation and on to a farm road.

(However permission in advance is needed from local farmer Will van Crutchen.)

Taking the left hand turn, you quickly emerge onto Campbell’s Mill Road. Within 100m of this point to the right, is a map of The Akatarawa Forest Park.

2015-01-31 07.48.59Trampers can head into the Whakatiki Forest, beyond the map, and head for various places:

~ Battle Hill

~ Karapoti where the famous mountain bike race begins

~ Totara Park in Upper Hutt

~ Mt Wainui. (It’s north facing forested slope shown alongside.)

If you are running or walking back to your vehicle at the Whareroa Shelter, the quickest way is to turn left and head down Campbell’s Mill Road. This will take you to the main entrance into Whareroa Farm where there are options to getting back to the car park.

  • The new Mountain Bike Track
  • The Link Track (“zigzag”): it probably has the best surface and is a gentle decline
  • The Eastern Ridge Track: it’s steep going down and can be slippery
  • The Downhill Track: also quite steep.

Doing the round trip from the Whareroa Shelter you would need 3-4 hours if you are walking. Reasonably fit runners can do it in under 2 hours.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAnother option is to go right into the Whakatiki Forest, stay on the main road and then take a left into Perhams Road. This will take you down into the Maungakotukutuku Valley where you cross a stream. If you head left up the sealed road, you can access the bottom of Campbell’s Mill Road on the left.

From there you have about 3km to negotiate before getting to the entrance to Whareroa Farm, as indicated above. (Allow an extra 45-60 minutes if you are running; 80-120 minutes if you are walking.)

Hats off to the Guardians!

Whareroa Guardians picWhareroa Guardians obtained the grant to purchase the signs and stiles from the Dept of Conservation Community Partnership Fund. Volunteers have cut gorse, painted and erected blue marker poles and posts over the last few weeks. Rob Bigwood of Bush & Field built the stiles. Ann Evans

The Ti Kouka Track is another outstanding example of the work done by the Whareroa Guardians. This trail now adds a sixth option for getting from the lower reaches of the Farm to Campbell’s Mill Road.

However, as well as track building and maintenance, the Whareroa volunteers continue on with their work of planting trees, shrubs and flaxes, weeding, trapping pests, providing signage and information, and generally enhancing the conservation area for public use.

They must be one of the most active and successful conservation groups in the nation.

Paths For The People!

2014 October 7
by Kapiti Independent Reporters

I walk and run for the textures under my feet. Roger Robinson

Encouraging fitness and exercise

Story by Roger Childs, photos by Ian Linning

pathway Waikare StOne of the great legacies of the Rowan councils has been the provision of facilities for sport and recreation. The Aquatic Centre and the purchase of the Howarth Block south of the Waikanae River are two major examples of farsighted moves by the Kapiti Coast District Council (KCDC) in recent times. However the development of walkways and cycleways across the district from Paekakariki to Otaki has also been greatly appreciated by thousands of Kapiti residents. So it is good news that the present council is continuing to add to the 40+ kilometres of accessible tracks in the district.

Pathways away from the traffic

Since 2006, there has been a dramatic increase in the number of safe places to walk, run or ride a bike. These include:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA ~ a boardwalk linking Kotuku Park and Otaihanga
~ the revetment on the Esplanade at Raumati South, which has  spectacular views (See Pam Childs’ photo alongside)
~ a new track at the south end of the Mataihuka above the railway line
~ a linking track from Waterstone to the Otaihanga rail crossing
~ a new track and bridge from Camelot to the Waikanae River bank
~ a second walking bridge over the river
~ improvements to the tracks leading to Chrystalls Bend on the north bank of the Otaki River.

Many of the new pathways and accessways have been developed with the assistance of DOC and local community groups, however KCDC can take a lot of credit. The Council has also encouraged the planting of tens of thousands of flaxes, shrubs and trees to enhance the environments close to new and improved tracks.

Recent developments: Otaihanga and Raumati

In recent weeks there have been two significant improvements to existing tracks which will encourage greater use.

Pathway OBCPathway boardwalkConnecting with the boardwalk: In the Waikanae Estuary area, the pathway from northern Manly Street to the Otaihanga Domain, is now complete. The missing link had been a clearly defined track from the end of the excellent boardwalk to the Otaihanga Boating Club. A compacted shingle path is now in place and runs all the way to the bridge end in the Domain.


Pathway buildingpathway Waikare StSouth of the airport: Walkers, runners and cyclists now have a shingle track from the southern end of the runway around to the end of Alexander Road. Going eastwards this connects with the well used Wharemauku Stream track, which continues on to Rimu Road.

Bonus tracks from the Expressway

One of the less well known benefits of the Expressway, is the provision of new pathways. There was some concern that very popular existing walkways, such as along the Waikanae Riverbanks and the Wharemauku Stream, would be seriously disrupted by the road building.

In reality, the Waikanae River tracks have remained open during the bridge building and at those points there are great views of the work in progress, plus detailed display boards showing the process and stages of the construction.

Once the expressway is complete, there will also be a walkway, cycleway and, no doubt, provision for horses, the full length of the carriageway on the seaward side. This lengthy track will be accessible from nearby streets on that western side.

Completing the jewel in the crown

The Mataihuka Walkway above State Highway One
The Mataihuka Walkway above State Highway One
Views from the Mataihuka
Views from the Mataihuka

Possibly the classic walkway in the area is the Mataihuka, which runs along the escarpment above the railway line. Some years ago the access from Waterfall Road was greatly improved and a lookout established, named after local environmental legend, June Rowland.

From the lookout, the track continues north for about 3km, with the high point being the site of a cairn in memory of Forest and Bird enthusiast  Bill Moxon.  All along this grassy walkway there are  stunning views of the Kapiti Coast, the island and, on a good day, the northern South Island and the mountains of the Volcanic Plateau.

Pathway beyond the stationPathway Mataihukapathway from ihakara stSadly, about 500m from Paraparaumu, you have to turn around and go back the way you came! Kapiti people will be familiar with a very obvious track on the cliffs south of Paraparaumu Station. This was originally put in to remove pine trees and has subsequently been used for replanting. At present it links up with Panorama Drive.

Logically, this currently very rough pathway could continue along the slope to meet up with the north end of the existing Mataihuka. This wonderful track needs to be accessible from the Paraparaumu end so that people can go right through.

KIN will follow up with KCDC about possible plans to complete this project.

Matiu/Somes island

By Helen Tristram
May 2013

Matiu/Somes Island in Wellington Harbour is a beautiful, peaceful island with walks suitable for most ages.

It is a predator-free, scientific and historic reserve with a rich multicultural history

and there`s a regular ferry service from Wellington Harbour or Day`s Bay to take you there.

When you arrive at the island all visitor`s shoes, bags and clothes are checked for unwanted pests at the quarantine building and then you are free to roam the many tracks around the island.

The tracks are all well maintained with several seating and picnic areas and there are wonderful views to Wellington Harbour or towards Eastbourne 

Some tracks are quite close to the cliff edges, so care needs to be taken with young children and some of the tracks have sections of steps.

 While you are visiting there are some outstanding features you shouldn`t miss.The most important of these is the lighthouse which was built in 1866.

The lighthouse was Wellington`s first harbour light. It was automated in 1924 and is still use.

 At the top of the island are the concrete remains of W.W.2 gun emplacements and during the war, enemy aliens were interned on the Island.

 There is also an interesting small museum on the island which has photographs and histories of the internees.

 And until fairly recently, a quarantine station was still in use. – Our children`s two cats were quarantined there for several months when we came to New Zealand in 1993.

 All-in-all, this is an easy-to-visit spot that no-one should overlook.


Makara Walkway

By Helen Tristram
February 2013




This is one of my favourite walks.

It`s a relatively easy walk with stunning views, leading to the very interesting historic Fort Opau  gun emplacement area at the top. – But it`s not really suitable for very young children as the track is close to the cliff edge in places.

Makara beach can be a wild and windy place at times, but we had a beautiful, calm, sunny day for our walk to the top.

The walk is well marked but you do need good boots as there are patches of clay in places that can be slippery if it`s wet.

The walk starts at the south side of the beach and goes uphill all the way!

The track is next to farmland and when we walked we were lucky to see plenty of lambs frolicking around in the fields.

I found the paddock fencing quite useful to hold on to at times, – an aid to getting me up the hill, and then down.

You don`t have to walk for too long before you start noticing the first of the wind turbines on your left.

You only see the top of the turbine blades turning at first, but the big turbines gradually come into view between the hills. – The sheep don`t seem to be in the least worried by them.

Towards the top there is a stile to climb over before a little more of the cliff-side track takes you off the cliff- edge path and into a grass and shrub area.


When you reach the top you have a stunning panoramic view out to sea and Mana Island. And walking inland takes you to the very interesting historic Fort Opau together with close up views of the wind turbines.

Make time to have a good look around!






The Coastal Lookout at Whareroa Farm

By Helen Tristram
December 2012

A Local Walk  – for all the Family.

The Coastal Lookout at Whareroa Farm is a short, 10 minute, winding, uphill walk.

This walk is signposted just inside the Whareroa Farm Park entrance.

It`s a good easy family walk with rewarding panoramic views to Kapiti Island and Mt Wainui. It is an exposed hill, so take a jacket.

And if you are interested in trains, you`ll get a good view of them going past on the Paekakariki / Paraparaumu tracks as you walk up the hill.

The walk has steps in some places so buggies would have to be carried over these stretches, but it would be an exciting climb for children as long as you keep them away from the edges!

DOC has done an excellent job in Q.E. Park with the tracks. They are wide, with some tarmac surfaces, and are very clearly defined, with good directional signs.

On the return walk  from the top, you will notice the sign to the Forest Loop and it`s well worth the extra 40 minutes to add this to your outing.

This is a more varied and slightly more rugged walkway and takes you through the remnant of a Kohekohe forest.

Not too far down the track you will notice a DOC wooden weta hotel attached to a tree. No wetas at home when we looked, but you might be lucky.  And if you look hard, a little further along the track, you could spot some orchids in flower at this time of year.

As you leave the Kohekohe trees, you come to a more swampy area and you will notice a sign for a bird count.  A monthly five minute bird count is done at five different sites in the park. 34 different species which include Kereru, Tui, Bell birds and Cockatoos have been noted.

A little further on a boardwalk takes you across a shallow stream and past some Nikau Palms. This is shortly before you reach the end of the track where it joins the main path in the park, close to The Dell.

The Dell now has a memorial bench seat and is a lovely, peaceful, spot to relax and recover from your walk.


The Yankee Trail

By Helen Tristram
November 2012




Q. E. Park to Paekakariki

Queen Elizabeth is a lovely park with many attractive walking tracks. – The Yankee Trail, approximately 2.4km, probably has the most varied scenery.

The Trail links the US Marines Memorial in QE Park (formerly Camp Russell) with the former Camp Paekakariki.  GWRC began work on the trail in late 2011 as part of Salute 70 (70th Anniversary of the U.S. Armed Forces in New Zealand during WWII).

Starting from Queen Elizabeth Park close to the US Marines memorial, the track takes you through an attractive area of native bush and small lakes, before you start heading into more open farmland.

The farmland area has only a few trees and scatterings of gorse, cattle troughs and cattle ramps before you come to fields of healthy looking cattle. They were quite curious about us when we were walking past, and came over to the fence for a closer look.



The walk is well signposted and as you continue along the track, there are lovely views to the eastern hills, before you start walking parallel to State Highway One.

There is another small remnant of native bush as you approach the outskirts of Paekakariki, and a little wooden bridge takes you over a stream before you reach a large white building and abandoned tennis courts.

The Weaving House, as the white building is now known as, is used by Te Rau O Te Rangi,- (Kapiti Weavers) and was  painted with a German artist`s design fairly recently. It was originally the HQ for Paekakariki Ladies Bowling Club and was also used as the HQ for the Kapiti/Mana Dog Club.

When you have reached the Weaving House, you could deviate and walk down Tilley Road to the shops and cafes and to the Paekakariki railway station, with its museum and bookshop. (Open for limited hours on Saturday and Sundays.) Tilley Road and Paekakariki generally, has a variety of  interesting older, mainly wooden, houses.


Otherwise the track continues from The Weaving House, on a grassy track alongside the former tennis courts. You pass the Paekakariki campsite on your right, and continue until you reach The Parade, and the entrance to the Holiday Park.

If you continue across the road, the track takes you to the beach, close to the Paekakariki Surf Club. You can then choose to walk along the beach or The Parade to the shops and cafes.

You have a choice of two great cafes and Finns café and bar, for refreshing drinks and food before your return.



Campbell`s Mill Road  – Tramping Track

By Helen Tristram
October 2012
Whareroa Farm Park entrance



Tramping Track to Campbell`s Mill Road at Whareroa Farm

This is an easy 4.1 km track. – A shared track with mountain bikes and horse-riders.

It`s approximately 15 minutes walk from the farm entrance to the start of the track and en route you can see how much work has been done by Whareroa Guardian volunteers, -and this is continuing.

Over the last few years they have cleared huge amounts of scrub and gorse and planted hundreds of trees.

The track is wide and clearly marked to the top. You won`t need a map, and are in no danger of getting lost!

From the start of the track it is not very far before you see a signpost to The Dell. This is a good place to have cuppa or a lunch break. It`s a nice grassy spot, by a small stream, with trees for shelter if needed.

When we walked the track we saw lots of purple foxgloves growing alongside the track, and towards the top, NZ native trees with lovely orange berries. – A nice contrast to the bright yellow gorse that covers a lot of the hillsides around.

It is a fairly exposed slope so it is a good idea to take a wind/rain jacket, just in case. There are one or two grassy knolls on the route, – perfect if you need a rest or want to sit and admire the view.


Towards the top there is a choice of route. We took the back route which took us past some woodland and Nikau palms, before we  arrived at Campbell`s Mill Road.

It is a wonderful view from the top! A great panorama of lovely hills, a view of Kapiti, the sea and Paekakariki.

Whareroa Farm, off State Highway 1, at MacKay`s Crossing, has plenty of parking space and a lovely large Shelter with maps, information and photographs.




Te Araroa Trail


The first 2 km of the walking track from Paekakariki to Pukerua Bay has now been completed.

 This time next year we are hoping the track will be complete and you will be able to walk all the way to Pukerua Bay, and perhaps return on the train. The track forms part of the long distance Te Araroa Trail which runs from Cape Reinga to the Bluff.

 Walk along Ames Street, under the Overbridge and along the new track, past the quarry opposite Fisherman’s Table and reach a viewpoint looking down on the site of the Maori village, Paripari. Then return the same way, looking at Nga Uruora plantings. It should take about 2 hours. You will need a good pair of walking shoes, plus parka for wind or rain, and a bottle of water. No bikes or dogs.

 For more information about Nga Uruora see www.kapitibush.org.nz  and for Te Araroa see www.teararoa.org.nz



A stroll along the beach but maybe not on the beach? Wander up a river? Round a lake? Climb a mountain? Kapiti has it all,but sometimes it’s hard to find just the right one.

Well, once a month Penny will highlight a particular walk in the district……….

Mangaone Walkway South

Snow walking in Whareroa

Walking Can Be Full of Surprises

Kapiti Link for Te Araroa Trail

Orongorongo River Valley Walk

Waikanae River — Loop Walk

Abel Tasman Coast Walk

Nelson Lakes Walk

Paraparaumu Beach Coastal Walkway
Mataihuka Walk
Waiopehu Hut
Nikau Reserve, Waikanae
Te Aroroa Tramping Trail
Hemi Matenga, Waikanae

Mt Thompson

Kapiti`s Millenium Walkway

Q.E.Park Whareroa Stream Track

Canadian Walks

Tramping in Canada –Rockies Highest Peak

Bulu Pass, Marmots and Bears!

Stanley Glacier

Beavers,Bears, Bison and Badlands


An excellent summary of local walks. The link to these articles needs to be recorded on the KCDC website as a guide for residents and tourists on the walking opportunities.

Hi Roger

Given I used to sometimes use the clay track from above the railway line, there may still be a connection.

When I used it, I didn’t go up to Panorama Drive, but I turned south after the steep part, and at some point I connected with the main track.



Hi Darryl Thanks for this. Like you I use to run through there with friends. You’ll know that the landowner wanted to put in a chalet on the property, but was twice turned down by the council because the buildings would rise above the horizon! The big white house obviously wasn’t subject to the same restriction. The landowner also had problems with hoons in cars up there and some of them damaged a bungalow he had located at the top of the hill. As you say, the old route through is the logical access from the north. However it may be that KCDC might consider extending the track above the railway line through, to make the link with the north end of the Mataihuka. They do own the land on that slope. I’ll try and track down Stu Kilminster this month.

It is timely you are discussing the Mataihuka Walkway. This used to be one of my favourite walks. And I always started it from the northern end, either from Panorama Drive, or via the clay track up from near the railway line.

Today I set out to walk this track for the first time in many years, so can you imagine my disappointment, after walking up Panorama Drive, to find the access gated, and a sign threatening prosecution if I trespassed?

Now it would be easy to suspect the access is now closed because the owners of the exclusive property development in the vicinity did not like us plebs walking through the neighbourhood. But that might be getting a little cynical.

However, given this route was in use by walkers long before it was closed off, surely there is a strong argument for a right of way having been established?

Hi Maria Thanks for this. I’m intending to follow up with Stu Kilminster at KCDC on this. Last time I spoke with him the problem was the private block of land between the northern end of the track and Panorama Drive. As I mentioned in the “Paths for the People” article, the clay track south from the station could be extended to make the link with the Mataihuka. As you say, a link through to Paraparaumu would be great and give the Mataikuka a lot more use. (Photos have now been restored to the Paths for the People article.)

Hi, thanks for the info on local trails. Any news on linking the Raumati escarpment trail with the Mataihuka Paraparaumu end? Would be wonderful for it to go right through to Panorama Drive.


Wonderful blog! I found it while browsing on Yahoo
News. Do you have any suggestions on how to get listed in Yahoo News?
I’ve been trying for a while but I never seem to get there! Appreciate it


I’m sorry I can’t help you on the Yahoo point. But I will certainly investigate when I get the chance.
Best wishes

Alan Tristram

I really appreciate your column on walks Helen. So easy to find instead of hunting through a dozen different books and helpful to suggest to visitors to Kapiti.


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