The group met on a fine sunny Saturday morning at 8.45 am, Platform D to catch the 83 Eastbourne bus which would take us to Queensgate. Purchasing a Day Tripper for $9.50 allowed us to jump on any bus up until 12 midnight (excellent deal). From there, we transferred to the 160 Wainui North bus. Just over the Wainuiomata hill on Wainuiomata Road we got off the bus and crossed the road to walk back up to the East Harbour Regional Park to the start of the track.
We began hiking up the Puriri Track with intermittent manageable climbs followed by plateaus. Our route was to follow the Main Ridge Track which was well graded and straightforward (even Anita was able to follow it). As is the norm for us who are spoilt in a country which is full of beautiful lush and healthy bush, our group were fortunate enough to again be able to experience such bush for the whole of our walk. Cicadas were out in full force lending their deafening clicking sound to complete the surrounding. Once we hit the Hawtrey track (343m) there were obvious visible orange markers to guide us for this section which was helpful in the denser parts of the bush. A bellbird was in the vicinity (well we think it was a bellbird) which was a nice change from the cicadas. Scenic lookouts along the track had us enjoying spectacular views of Somes Island and Wellington Harbour. Because the weather has been dry for a considerable time the muddier sections of the track had pretty much hardened up so we were unable to enjoy the fun and joy of sinking into mud.
We arrived at the very last lookout point at the junction (Bus Barn track/Kowhai Street track) and decided to have lunch and soak up the stunning views of the harbour and Somes. Seating was available in the sun as well as in a shadier area.
After lunch we headed down to the picnic area which took approximately 30 minutes. It was interesting to see once we arrived, that Butterfly Creek was brown and murky and wasn’t the usual clear water that we’re usually accustomed to on previous ventures into the wilderness. We were unsure of the history of the surrounding area for why this place was called “Butterfly Creek” as not a single butterfly was in sight anywhere. The picnic area was spacious providing lots of tables in which we managed to all fit onto one where we could just enjoy the peaceful environment and chit chat learning a bit more about each other.
As we’d already devoured lunch it was time to head back. We were originally going to walk back up to the MacKenzie Track and out but as it was getting late it was decided to walk out to the Kowhai Street Track instead. This involved a short steep climb (nothing too long and grunty). Pretty soon after, we came out onto Kowhai Street and then walked to the bus stop to wait for the next bus back to Welly. The Eastbourne bus route is spectacularly scenic, taking in Days Bay and Petone foreshore. Courtenay Place is the last stop.