With Penny Redward
20th December 2009
When first established in 1996 it was possible to walk from Panorama Drive in Paraparaumu to Waterfall Road – Raumati. This meant that walkers of all abilities could get a head start by driving up the hill then walking along the ridge; and they did – in large numbers. Friends who look out on the escarpment said they saw walkers up there every day – now they see few.
How or why, I do not know, but for some reason the northern access was never secured and a new owner has closed it. It really is a shame as it was a truly popular walk.
On the positive side KCDC have spent a lot of time and money on realigning the southern entrance and it is definitely worth making your way to Waterfall Road for this 1 ½ hour return walk to the Stone Cairn. From the car park there is a 10 minute gently graded path to the first lookout with a commemorative seat, picnic table and notice board. This lookout – “The June Rowland Lookout” was opened early this year in recognition of the work June undertook with Kapiti Environmental Action (KEA) – part of which was securing the escarpment and establishing the original walkway.
From the lookout the climb becomes a little steeper before levelling out as it sidles around some banks – all the time providing views of Pukerua Bay, Queen Elizabeth Park, Kapiti Island, to Waikanae and beyond. On a clear day Mt Taranaki, Ruapehu and South Island mountains are also visible.
The Stone Cairn, in memory of Bill Moxom, a co-founder of KEA is not the end of the walkway – you can wander on for another 30 minutes or so enjoying the closeup views of Paraparaumu and the bush remnants. Have a look into these; there are some wonderful stands of kohekohe, a most peculiar tree I feel with its grapelike fruits.
The Council, with help from Nga Uruora and volunteers, are planting natives in areas that were once grazed and now that the escarpment has been animal free for several years the whole area is slowly returning to a more natural environment.
This is not a difficult walk – we have taken our young grandchildren up and June and Fred Rowland – now in their late eighties still make the climb regularly. So take your grandchildren or grandparents for a picnic with a view; or your friends and do it fast for a great workout.