A series of short walks that showcased a variety of terrain, significant ecosystems and historical sites on the western side of the Tararua Range prompted this trip by a group of six from Masterton
After a light frost in Masterton the temperature was to rise to 19 degrees. With some reluctance we headed toward the Paremata-Plimmerton coast where the maximum for the day was set to just 14 degrees.
Just over the Remutaka Summit we parked our vehicles and started up Te Ara Tirohanga, the short zig-zag climb to the Trig at 725 m elevation. The climb of 180 metres switches back and forth through the slowly regenerating bush before breaking out to the rocky outcrop upon which stands the trig. With barely a breeze noticeable at the carpark the strength of the wind at the trig was an unpleasant contrast. Stopping long enough to take in the views the party retreated back to the carpark for the half hour drive to Pauatahanui Village.
Here we wandered the boardwalks of the Pauatahanui Wildlife Management Reserve, a unique transition of continuous vegetation from tidal flats to coastal forest. Restorative planting and careful
management seeks to protect the habitats and breeding grounds of over twenty species of resident and migratory birds. With the expertise of our guide Hamish, we identified (and tasted) many of the coastal plants as well as shrubs and trees that symbiotically ensure a habitat that feeds and shelters various bird species, many of which are endangered.
Our next stop was Taua Tapu Track whicht runs north-south from Plimmerton toward Pukerua Bay.
Areas of marginal farmland are being planted with manuka and other coastal native varieties amidst the lifestyle blocks that dot the landscape. From the Taua Tapu Track the views are stunning,
especially toward the south, overlooking Mana Island and Cook Strait. Stopping near the Trig for lunch we hunkered down for shelter from the cool breeze to eat lunch before retracing steps back to our vehicles.
Ngatitoa Domain at the channel entrance of Porirua Harbour was our last stop. Here we viewed the remains of barracks that were part of the historic Fort Paremata. Built by order of Governor George Grey from 1846 the Paremata Barracks housed troops whose orders were to disrupt the flow of
supply and reinforcement of Maori travelling the coastal route in and out of Wellington. The stockaded area was used by troops until 1852. However the barracks were damaged beyond repair by an earthquake in 1848.
Following a short walk along the domain, alive with family activities and motorhome campers, we drove around the Paremata road to the ever-changing junction at Pauatahanui where the Transmission Gulley Motorway is taking shape. Then back to the sunny and warm Wairarapa
Those on the excursion were Christine, Laura, Robyn, Stan, Thea & Paul. Special Thanks to Hamish.