The walk started up the track near the intersection of Landfill Road and Happy Valley Road. Still evident were the effects of the scrub fire which occurred in late February this year. Blackened scrub covering higher regions of the hill contrasted with the lush green below the main track which must have acted as a barrier to the flames.
The weather was surprisingly well behaved considering the persistent rain during the week or so prior. We had been prepared for continuous downpour but there was only a brief drizzle.
The start and end of the walk gave clear views of the landfill, which didn’t look as bad as it sounds, and was bustling with earth-moving equipment. The fog and artificially terraced hills around the landfill gave the feeling of being in an entirely different country.
After 1.5 hours of walking mostly uphill we reached level ground just a few tens of metres from “The Castle”, a large distinctive three storey peach coloured building. The similarity of features between medieval fortified structures and the crennelations and cylindrical tower of this architectural anachronism were obviously intentional. I was told that it is a private residence whose owner has a small collection of high-end automobiles. That day a South African flag was flying on the mast, but apparently other nations’ flags are flown in regular rotation.
Further along our excursion, with a view of a distant line of wind turbines, we came to the radar dome; a large sphere, perhaps 8 metres in diameter, with a very interesting arrangement of geometric patterns on its surface. The purpose of the dome is to assist with aeroplane navigation; at least that’s the official word from the powers that be.
Sometime after stopping for lunch, there came a junction where we could choose between a relatively level route or a slightly shorter but steep downhill and steep uphill route. We settled on the latter which resulted in a couple of stream crossings and minor stumbles on slippery and uneven ground by several members of the party.
Decades ago, the area was used to farm cattle. Evidence of this remains today in occasional dilapidated sections of wooden fence.
At the end of the walk, we drove to the nearby Penthouse café in Brooklyn where we discussed topics ranging from art house cinema to comparisons between New Zealand potato chips and British “crisps” while consuming tea, coffee and chocolate brownies.