Guided tour of the far side of hills

Three-hour walks for all levels of fitness

Hutt News | 17 November 2009, p.45

 
Takapu Track, Belmont Regional Park
Walk with Friends of Maara Roa, Belmont Regional Park

Walk on the west side: Those who join Friends of Belmont Regional Park and Maara Roa can expect to walk the Takapu Track, top, and up to the hilltops for great views.

Photos: GRANT ROBERTS

The Friends of Belmont Regional Park are stepping out on to the other side of the hills - and the public are invited to come along.

The local group is joining forces with Friends of Maara Roa for a walk this Saturday.  Previous events have concentrated on the Hutt side of the hills but this time the Friends will be exploring Cannons Creek Valley on the western side.

Organsers have arranged two guided walks, up to three hours each, to suit all levels of fitness.

The meeting place is the car park behind the Cannons Creek Shopping Centre, Warspite Ave, which is next to the park entrance, at 9.30am.

There will be a brief introductory talk over morning tea, before setting off to explore.

The longer walk for those keen to stretch their legs, heads up through the lakes reserve to areas of great importance: the restoration area of 40,000 native trees planted by the Friends of Maara Roa, and the priceless 25-hectare forest remnant.

This walk continues up to the Takapu Track with open hill tops and spectacular views.

For those not so fit or with children, the shorter, easier walk starts along the same route from the lakes area, and allows plenty of time to wander through the Maara Roa restoration area and the forest remnant.

It stops before joining the Takapu Track.

All tracks are well-formed. 

The story behind the naming of this part of the valley is fascinating.

Years ago, a Maori woman planted and tended a garden there, producing abundant crops of fruit and vegetables, which she generously shared with others, Maori and European.  Passing travellers were so impressed they called her home The Long Garden, or Maara Roa.

When the Friends began their dream of restoration, the land was bare and weedy.

Today, despite setbacks and difficulties, it is a flourishing native bush, giving great pleasure to viewers and birdlife.

As usual in Belmont Regional Park, the weather can change and become windy.

Those staying on to have lunch will find plenty of picnic spots.

Sturdy shoes or boots are advised, plus waterproof as well as warm jacket, hat and sunscreen.

  If possible, phone Richard on 566 4181 or e-mail richard.langdale@callplus.net.nz to book, so organisers know how many biscuits to bake.  If this is not possible, just turn up.  If weather is bad on the day, ring Richard 566 4181 for a cancellation notice.