Havelock North reserves and Te Mata Peak for Solstice walk, Wednesday 21 June 2023
Banner Photo: Views from the top of Te Mata
Fourteen merry trampers travelled across to ‘the other side, over the bridge’ to Havelock North and met at Di’s place at 9.30am (post-rush hour, we had hoped) for a tour of local reserves with lunch to follow at E’s in the village.
It was a misty, damp morning as we met, not cold but very muddy under our boots.
Keirunga Reserve is only about 50 metres from Di’s place so we were straight into it. We went along the bottom path (muddy) then up the hill to the top paddock. Unfortunately, the usual stunning view of Te Mata wasn’t available as it was covered in cloud. So on we went, through the Homestead gardens and arts centre, back to Tanner Street and onto Keith Sands Grove and Tainui Reserve.
Unfortunately, two thirds of the Tainui Reserve is closed as trees are still down and there are broken steps due to Cyclone Gabrielle, so we only saw a small part of it. A nice walk along the stream then a steepish walk up to the top on the narrow path, banana passionfruit clambering among the trees, then out onto Tainui Drive.
From there it was up Hikanui Drive for ten minutes, then there is a steep, muddy track down to Tauroa Road and along the road to the bottom car park of Te Mata.
Alison reckoned we should take the steepest track up, so up we puffed and as we did the cloud cleared and fabulous views emerged to the ranges and around the park. There was some discussion as to which track we were on but no one cared as between us we knew the park well. In fact, the steepest one up isn’t even marked on the map!
It was on up to the top for morning tea at about 11.30am, and a ten-minute break. The Tukituki River was swollen and very muddy but the views were glorious. Not many people about; however Cherie’s son was up at the top with a couple of colleagues sussing out the weather for flying.
We went down the goat track to the redwoods and the nice weather stayed with us. The next track going back to the top before descending to the bottom track, which leads back to the car park, was very steep and very muddy. No-one went over, which is quite remarkable – good tramping legs all round.
There were a few mountain-bikers around and it was noted some were on e-bikes, making the ascent much easier (is this cheating or just smart?).
We walked back along the road and along the raised wooden walkway to the Tainui Drive/Hikanui Drive junction.
One more reserve to go! Tanner Street Reserve entrance is at the top of Tainui Drive so down we went into, yes, more mud. There’s a lovely variety of trees in this reserve. We emerged back onto Tanner Street. Just ten minutes to the cars, and we arrived about 12.45.
We did a quick change and headed off for lunch. Andrea managed to take a wrong turn but phoned in and was soon back with us. The service at the café was great and after lots of chit-chat and laughter, we headed for home with full tummies.
Trampers: Di Reid, Mary Campbell, Cherie Le Lievre, Juliet Gillick, Marie Deroles, Andrea Hanna, Rosemary Jeffery, John Bennett, John Dobbs, Christine Briasco, Sue Gribble, Geoff Donkin, Gaye Ebbett, Campbell Living and reporter Alison Greer