Five of us met at the Wellington Train Station at 8.30am on Sunday to catch the bus out to Paremata Train Station – where Elodie and Megan met us in their cars and where Valentina was also waiting for us. We then drove out to the main entrance of Whareroa Farm via Transmission Gully.
The plan was to start at the carpark and do a loop walk in this Farm which is run by DOC – up to the northern boundary (Campbell Mills Rd) for views of Kapiti Island and the Coast and then back down again.
When selecting this day walk for the trip schedule it was tricky to find a good – and long enough – route to walk, because the Farm is made up of lots of short tracks. So our loop walk was made up of about 5 or 6 smaller tracks (see route marked in blue on the map). Being made up of different tracks, it was also tricky to tell how long the whole walk would be, and how many kilometres we would be walking. Despite this, on the day it was fairly easy to navigate our way onto the correct tracks and to not get lost!
The toilets at the carpark are currently out of order, but there were toilets located near a green caravan which sits beside the track not more than half an hour into our walk. The caravan is a facility for a local volunteer conservation group. There are also some interesting information boards here – about various birds (eg. Ruru) and lizards you can find at the Farm.
As we continued on and headed up the Curex Valley and Horse Track, there were some uneven spots on the ground, and because the path was overgrown grass, it was a bit hard to see the odd stream underfoot or gaps along the path – so it pays to be observant.
For quite a bit of the first half of the loop we walked near bush, and the path was fairly steep as we approached Campbell’s Mill Road. But right near the top we started seeing great views of the sea and Kapiti Island. Once we reached Campbell’s Mill Road we had completed the hard (steep) bit.
We then turned right onto Campbell’s Mill Road, and kept walking along the road till we reached the South Entrance of Whareroa Farm. It was fairly even the whole way along Campbell’s Mill Road, with excellent views in many places out to the sea and Kapiti Island.
We decided to have lunch at the South Entrance – where we managed to find a bit of shade. There was interesting conversation over lunch about bee sting allergies, donating blood and other varied topics. And while sitting down we noticed my legs had come out in dark red spots – which we put down to an allergic reaction to all the tall grass we had just walked through on the way up the hill. I was wearing shorts and no gaiters, and it was quite alarming – but luckily not painful or itchy!
After lunch, we started our descent – following the Catchment View Track. The whole way down the hill was very exposed, with no tree cover, so make sure you wear a hat and sunscreen. The route down is marked by blue poles and you walk in tall grass. Great views of the sea and Kapiti Island the whole way. We ended up back at the green caravan – and then walked back down to the carpark.
A US Marine Camp called Camp Mackay used to be located here during World War II (between 1942-1944) – where the soldiers trained for war in the Pacific and also protected NZ from the threat of invasion by the Japanese while NZ soldiers were fighting in the war overseas. There were some interesting information boards along the last part of our walk back to the carpark (and also in the building at the entrance to Whareroa Park) about the impact the US soldiers had on society during that period and what life was like while they were stationed here.
The loop took us about 3.5 hours in total – including breaks and lunch. It would have been nice if we were able to do a longer walk at Whareroa Farm. The group felt an improvement next time would be to incorporate a few more of the farm tracks into the walk eg. Rocks Track and Te Ara Ramaroa Track.