Centennial Highway

I actually walked this part of Kapiti Coast two or three weekends ago, but I forgot to update this blog, and I can’t remember the actual date so it’s going under today’s instead. What I do remember: it was sunny. I got burnt. It might be time to get a higher factor sunscreen in order to protect my lily-white self.

Anyway, it was quite a short walk – just a couple of hours along the coast, filling in the hole between two sections I’ve already done. Most of it was along State Highway 1, which as usual does not thrill me, but the view on the other side more than made up for it. Of all the highway sections I’ve seen in NZ, this is one of my favourites. The steep cliff on one side, and on the other the blue, blue Tasman Sea, with Kapiti Island in the distance… it’s just lovely. I basically walked along the coast up to Paekak as seen here:

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The prettiest part of the walk was near the beginning, down at the beach at Pukerua Bay. I’m going to drag my flatmate M. out on a picnic there sometime this summer if it kills me. She’s tough to persuade – doesn’t like the beach, thinks the sand squeaks like cornflour when she walks on it. Suck it up, I say. And wouldn’t you, for this?

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Waikanae to Paraparaumu

What I really like about the Wellington stretch of Te Araroa is all the on/off points. I don’t have to walk for 30km if I don’t want to – I can just go for a couple of hours, starting at one railway station and ending at another. That’s what I did today.

I started in Waikanae, and walked along the Waikanae River to the coast. It was a really pretty little path, with lots of access points to the local roads. I was pleased to see that heaps of people were out using it – walking, cycling, swimming, with their families and dogs. And the vegetation was particularly interesting: at first there were heaps of wild flowers, in all shades of purple. And yet as I got closer to the coast, the plants began to change – instead of flowers, there were layers upon layers of flax, toi-toi, and my favourite tree, the cabbage tree.

Towards the mouth of the river, I entered into the estuary, keeping very carefully to the boardwalk (as instructed by both Te Araroa and DOC), because apparently there’s quicksand there and I don’t particularly want to be sucked to a nasty death.

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After getting out of the estuary, all limbs intact and none hacked off and left behind to the greedy ground, I wandered down Paraparaumu North beach and into the township, ready to get an ice-cream and head back home after a very enjoyable and desultory walk.