By Gwen Levick
This lovely walk in Owhiro Bay was new to all twelve of us. Delyse had seen a reference to it on the internet and Bruce and Gwen followed up with a reconnaissance. Built on an old landfill, formerly known as Preston’s Gully, Tawatawa Reserve is surrounded on three sides by hills and has been planted extensively by conservation volunteers. We followed the Loop Track, which begins at a nursery owned by the Southern Environmental Association. These dedicated volunteers, who were busily potting plants when we passed by, were happy to answer our questions. They have planted more than 30,000 shrubs and trees here and in other local sites.
The Loop Track winds steadily up the hill to the Tawatawa Ridgeline, offering extensive views of the Cook Strait and surrounding suburbs. There was plenty of evidence of the horses that usually graze near the summit, but were nowhere to be seen on the day. We stopped to look at a striking stone monument on the summit, but were unable to find any information about it. Beyond a grassy patch at the top of the hill the track joins the City to Sea Walkway in a fairly steep descent. We enjoyed our picnic lunch perched on the reservoir (in the absence of picnic tables) before looping back to the car park via a pleasant bushy track. It was a thoroughly enjoyable walk with everyone in good spirits – not too hot, not too cold, not too flat, not too steep and just a gentle breeze!