Twelve keen walkers met on a chilly but fine day to enjoy a walk in one of nature’s ‘jewels in the crown’ of the Wellington region - the Kaitoke Regional Park. The walk skirted the extensive camping ground before reaching the Pakuratahi River which tumbles over rocks, gurgles over gravelly patches and flows around scenic pools, surrounded by unspoilt bush with towering forest giants. Magnificent specimens of Kahikatea, Rimu, Matai and Beech Bear testimony to the age of the forest as it slopes down to the Pakuratahi River forks where the water seems to be flowing in the wrong direction. Rivendell, created for the Lord of the Rings movie, lies hidden in the forest with only a few posts to tell the story of the movie-making. The sense of magic in the dell was enhanced by the presence of two young women dressed in rich red and blue velvet period costumes posing for photographs beside a huge tree that assumed a character of its own.
Crossing the river beyond the fork is a long swing bridge which one of our members mischievously enjoyed swaying from side to side. It was only on the return journey that we noticed a tiny sign on a post “Maximum 10 people”, when there had been at least fifteen of us crossing, including another party of three. The short Loop track through more ancient forest brought us back to the swing bridge and a picnic lunch in the sun before we returned by the same route, with three walkers choosing to take the road back and enjoy a different view of the majestic bush against the skyline.
We completed the venture with a short detour north to the Aston Norwood Gardens at the foot of the Remutaka Hill for coffee and cakes – a most pleasant day with great scenery and good company!
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