We met at 8 am by the carpark opposite 31 Waiapu Road. Maj-Britt suggested an early start to avoid any overcrowding on the trail. Also, the weather forecast was not great and we hoped to get around the loop before the bad weather arrived. As it turned out we were only three so it was easy to keep to a safe distance while still being able to talk along the way.
We planned to use tramping boots and a weighted pack (around 10 kg) to help us get conditioned for tramping; possibly this put off a few people. I liked Maj-Britt’s idea of using bottles of water for much of the weight. That way, if I felt a bit slow, I could just tip out some excess weight.
Because the ‘track’ beside the boundary fence on the right-hand side of the Zealandia entrance is steep and scrambly, we started out on a track opposite 49 Waiapu Road, marked ‘Birdwood Reserve’. A nice trail passes alongside the stream and through bush that’s more mature than that around most Karori trails. Then we zig-zagged up until we met the boundary fence.
Higher up there were views through the mist across Karori, toward the city, and out to the harbour entrance. We passed close to the Brooklyn wind turbine. On a clear day the views would be really good.
The circuit is about 9 kilometres. I expected a fair amount of ‘undulation’ but apart from the initial uphill (which wasn’t that bad), I hardly noticed the ups and downs. At first we met only a few individuals; later we passed and were passed by groups of walkers, runners, and cyclists.
Near the top we were quite chuffed to see a tieke/saddleback just inside the fenceline as it bounced through the undergrowth. The highlight? Getting out in the hills again with tramping buddies.
We completed the loop in a leisurely 2 1⁄2 hours, ending up on Waiapu Road directly opposite where we began. And then it was time for a coffee.