The Te Araroa Route between Johnsonville and the city centre is, for all intents and purposes, the Northern Walkway of Wellington City. Yes, it detours a little bit here and there, but it always goes back to the path, so that’s what I’m calling it. It seems simpler that way.
Anyway, I stumbled out from beneath the duvet at a very, embarrassingly late time today, after a late night marathon of Buffy the Vampire Slayer (I’ve a friend who’d never seen it before, can you believe it?). So late in fact that I didn’t get the whole walk done – not only was I late starting, but it was nearly all uphill and I am very slow going uphill – so I’ll finish off the NW when Wellington looks less like the gale-force nightmare it’s about to be tomorrow.
I took a trip up to the top of the cable car, where one of the start/end points of Te Araroa is. I was a little surprised to see that there’s more km to walk in the North Island than the South – I would have thought it was the other way around.
I wandered down from here through the botanic gardens and into Thorndon, before hauling myself up Tinakori hill. It took a long, long time – I had to stop every few minutes. I must be more unfit than I thought, but consoled myself with the thought that after this, would be a teeny-tiny little bit less unfit. Also relieved my feelings by swearing at the hill for being so high. Of course it didn’t do a blind bit of good, but once I got to the ridge track along the top, the relatively flat track through the bush was lovely.
After wandering through Wadestown, I undid all the hard work I’d done on Tinakori by following the track down to the very bottom of Trelissick park, to the stream at the bottom of the Ngaio Gorge. This was a particularly pretty park – it acts as a wildlife corridor between the green belt and the sanctuary at Karori. Lots of people were out walking their dogs – I met the most cowardly dog on the planet there, a big black thing called Jess. It had to be dragged past me on the track by its owner – stared at me like it thought I would gut it. Was a little miffed, as animals generally like me, but was saved from thinking I’d suddenly turned into something demonic that scared furry critters by the simple fact that I met three more dogs over the next 15 minutes, and all were happy to see me. Scared one of the owners, though (by accident! was not my fault…).
I also saw a totally fearless tui, who sat a few metres in front of me and sang its little heart out – I stayed watching it for several minutes, as did some other people, and it was serenely unbothered.
By this time, I was over walking for the day, and when I reached Ngaio station, and looked up to see Mt Kaukau squatting ahead like a great big lump, I decided that I was a bigger lump for not wanting to climb it and went home for the day. What can I say – there was more Buffy to watch.