The plan was to meet at the Wellington Railway Station and catch a train to Khandallah before starting the walk proper at the bottom to Mt. Kaukau. I chose to meet the rest of the team at the start of the track. This gave me a chance to have a quick coffee at the café in the park before the others arrived, right on time at 10.30 am.
It was Ilske’s first trip as leader and she managed to arrange some great weather! The route for this walk was to include the main track to the top of Mt. Kaukau and then the Skyline walkway as far as Karori. The walkway now goes as far as Makara Saddle, but that part was not on the agenda for this day.
As I was the only person that appeared to be taking photos, I was ‘volunteered’ to write the trip report. I noticed that there were a lot of people on the track and at the summit. I surmised that this was probably due to it being the first really fine day for some time. I have walked this track a number of times and I cannot recall seeing so many people.
After a short rest we set off along the walkway to the south. The people on the walk were a mixture of members, non-members and first- timers. Other than the climb from Khandallah to Kaukau, the track traverses an open ridge mainly through farm land. The ridge is exposed and not a good place to be in windy weather. However, on this day there was hardly any breeze; just enough to make the distant wind turbines turn rather slowly. The views from the ridge were expansive. The South Island was in clear view and in the other direction the harbour which appeared to be dead flat. As they say “there is nothing like Wellington on a good day!”
We stopped for a leisurely lunch at some point along the track. It was nice to sit on the grass and not get a wet backside. Yes, spring cannot be far away. Barbara kindly offered me and a couple of others her sun screen. I had not brought mine along as it was still ‘winter’.
After lunch we continued on towards Karori. We met a small herd of cows on the track. They were obviously used to the presence of people; they made little effort to move out of way. Once past that hurdle and further along the track we entered an area of scrub and pine trees. Ilske knew that the turn off to Karori was easy to miss as the sign is positioned for people going in the opposite direction. So we kept an eye out for it as missing it would mean we might go to Makara Saddle. Fortunately we found the turn off and changed direction accordingly. One last hurdle was a fallen pine tree which according to a sign had been blown down in the storm that hit Wellington in June.
The trip took about 4½ hours. There was one last thing to do, and that was to have refreshments at the café at Karori Park which is housed in a building with the rather pompous name Catley Curtis Nimmo Pavilion!