We assembled bright and early on a slightly overcast Saturday morning in late October, by the Cenotaph at the end of Lambton Quay and wandered up to Bowen Street Cemetery for the official start almost managing to lose half the group before we even got to the information board describing the route ahead.
After a minor history lesson, we walked across the motorway, through the upper part of the cemetery, with views across into Thorndon, and climbed though the Botanical Gardens spotting some duckings on the way though The Dell. At the cable car photos and a comfort break were taken, allowing the group to savour the view of harbour for couple of minutes.
Dropping down from cable car look out, we skirted around the back of Victoria University, though a cemetery; it’s amazing what you find behind the student union, around the back of Able Smith Street towards Aro Street!
Out of Aro Valley, having stopped for a coffee, and into Tanera community gardens which are hidden from the road but have a great view of the city. We crossed over the road to Central Park. The track wound its way though the lower sections of the park. We took a 15 minute detour to the 3 way zip slide, sadly no one had the bright idea at the time to have a zip slide race. After this brief stop, we continued onwards and upwards and the rain decided to make a proper appearance.
Crossing the Brooklyn Hill Road with the group, I did feel like a mother hen making sure everyone crossed safely and didn’t connect with the passing traffic on their way to up into Brooklyn. Sliding pass the Malaysian Embassy and down lots of steps into Prince of Wales Park, we were taken on a minor detour around a broken foot path. Taking this detour resulted in us making a further unofficial detour on to a local road for a couple of minutes. Thankfully the error of our ways (for most of the group at least) was swiftly realised and we found the track around another clump of bushes.
Losing a wee bit of altitude, we arrived at Scottish Athletic HQ (minus 1 punter who had gone on ahead and decided to disappear for a wee while) in mid morning.
Climbing out of the low point by Scottish Athletic in Mcallister park, we continued on our merry way up to the cricket pitch at the reservation, across a couple of roads and though a playground, with no play unfortunately.
Lunch was taken by the golf course above the main fairways which presented views across to the 5 holes that are on the other side of the valley by the national hockey centre and down towards the sea. With the sun shining, sunscreen and hats were the order of the day; a pleasant change to the rain.
Post lunch time, we climbed through more gorse and eventually reached Tawa Ridge and some pirates* at the trig point from where views east into Island Bay and westwards towards the southern landfill and Happy Valley were enjoyed. Dodging the large water tank and taking in a serious number of steps we completed the grand traverse of Tawa Ridge.
We sauntered though the back streets of Island Bay, with the locals out pottering around on a Saturday afternoon, and through Oku Street Reserve which gave us our last views of the Island and Island Bay. We wended our way down through some more back streets which took us across Wellington City Council´s tsunami line and to the sea side. We achieved our goal mid afternoon, with more than enough time for an ice cream at the dairy before returning to the city on the bright yellow bus.
*might not have been really proper blood curdling pirates, but pirates none the less