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Thursday morning walking group

A group of regular and occasional Friends (and friends of Friends) take part in the weekly Thursday morning walking group. This is a great time to get to know each other better and to connect more with our environs. The walks range from easy to more difficult and almost always we are able to use public transport to get to and from the walk. We usually finish at a cafe for coffee and a chat, and to do the Dominion Post quiz as a group. 

Recent reports of the walking group:

June 2023 - "over the hill to the other side"

June weather was mostly good on Thursday mornings, in fact usually better than forecast. We traversed a number of hills from one valley the next - Thorndon to Wadestown via Tinakori Hill, followed a week later by Otari to Botanic Garden over the same hill, and Kilbirnie to Miramar to Seatoun (two hills). We finished the month with a circular walk around Jubilee Park on the Western Hutt hills.

May 2023 - "keepin' low"

In contrast to April, May was a month of relatively low-lying walks - an urban stroll beginning on Lambton Quay up Woodward Street to Kelburn; following the Kaiwharawhara Steam from Crofton Downs to the harbour; Ava to Petone via the Hutt River Trail foreshore; and lastly another urban stroll around Mount Victoria finishing with "breakfast" food at the Quaker Centre as a fundraiser for Breast Cancer Awareness day.

April 2023 - "hills"

April began with a continuation of our January Tunnel Gully walk, starting from the Te Marua Store, along the Hutt River shared walkway and cycleway to Upper Hutt- with many points of scening interest including the Akatarawa confluence and Harcourt Park.  The remainder of the month was spent up and down hills nearer to home base - Highbury, Hawkins Hill (a departure from our normal luck with the weather - we walked in high winds and low visibility while the weather was fine downtown), and finishing with Te Raekaihau Reserve from Houghton Bay to Lyall Bay.

March 2023 - "escarpments and orcas"

We were on the Kāpiti coast for the first two walks of March - firstly the Paekākāriki escarpment from south to north, followed a week later by the shared pathway from Paraparaumu to Paekākāriki. Actually the first week we split into two groups so some could do a gentler walk over the Roseneath peninsula to Greta Point and that group was rewarded with a sighting of orcas in the harbour.  Later in the month we did some more hill work up and down Mount Crawford (Miramar) and the Skyline Walkway between Karori and Crofton Downs.  Alyn Ware, an international peace activist and disarmament consultant, joined us on the fifth Thursday for a stroll in the rain around Johnsonville and Churton Park.


February 2023 - "urban stroll"

The weather on Thursday mornings in February was unusual so we planned our walks around any forecast rain and the direction of wind, taking advantage of the shelter in lower-lying bush walks (Khandallah Bridle Track and the Kaiwharawhara dirt track, Percy Scenic Reserve, and Otari-Wilton's Bush).  One day with particularly unfavourable forecast weather (which actually turned out much milder) we did an "urban stroll" up Cuba Street and across to Tory Street to finish at Te Papa.


January 2023 - "tunnels"

We began the year with several bush and stream walks - including revisiting some old favourites Bothamley Park (just before the trail closed for major pipe work) and Trelissick Park.  We got more ambitious for the third walk (see photos below) with a big day at the Tunnel Gully reserve from Te Marua Store to Kaitoke Loop and back (via the very pleasant Tane's track and stream), returning to the Store and carrying on down the Hutt River Trail to the confluence with the Akatarawa River.  Most of us finished the month with a gentle walk from Oriental Bay over to Evans bay, while five of us tackled the "Horokiwi Crossing" from Tawa over the hill to the Korokoro Stream valley and on to Petone.


December 2022 - "old favourites"

Five Thursdays meant five walks in December.  In the lead up to Christmas we visited several old favourite routes - Town Belt & Oriental Bay, Botanic Garden area, Glenside, and Makara Peak Mountain Bike Park.  We finished the year with something a little new - a walk from Lyall Bay to Island Bay via the dirt track to Southgate.


November 2022 - "Thanksgiving"

We finished the month's walking on 24 November with Thanksgiving lunch - and much thanks was given to three of our walkers who have lived in USA and who prepared the lunch for us.  On that day we did a circuit from the Quaker Centre around the Mount Cook area and part of Brooklyn. The previous Thursday we rock-hopped around the Golden Gate pensinsula shoreline (Paremata), not quite beating the tide and retreating by way of a very nice private garden.  Earlier in the month we had a walk from Brooklyn to Kelburn, taking in the new Kiwi Foot walking trail in Aro Valley, as well as a pleasant day on the Zealandia trails.


October 2022 - "prominent ridgelines"

We stuck fairly close to home base in Mount Victoria for our October walks, including Greta Point via the Roseneath peninsula, the Southern Walkway from the zoo to Houghton Bay, and Te Ahumairangi/Tinakori Hill to Northland.  We ventured a bit further for one of our walks - Otari to Crofton Downs via a section of the Skyline Walkway. A theme for the month could be "prominent ridgelines".


September 2022 - "daffodils in springtime"

We planned our walks around the different weather forecasts in different parts of the region each Thursday and have managed to walk in mostly fine conditions.  Two walks in the south of Wellington included the Southern Walkway from the Quaker Centre to Newtown, and from Brooklyn via Tawatawa Reserve to Owhiro Bay (where we enjoyed the beautiful views across Cook Strait to the snow-capped Kaikouras).  A springtime highlight was a walk in Belmont Regional Park to the daffodil field above Dry Creek, and we also enjoyed a walk down the Waikanae River Trail to Waikanae Beach and another around the hills of Kaiwharawhara and Khandallah.  


August 2022 - "a birthday climb up Mt Kaukau"

A regular walker had a special birthday on 4 August and chose Mt Kaukau, which we walked from Simla Cres to the summit, returning by a different track to Khandallah (stopping at the pool cafe on the way through).  It was a nice sunny day and we were sheltered from the northerly wind except at the summit (see panorama below).  A week later we used the new On-Demand bus service in Tawa, which saved us considerable time between the stations and the western bush walks (Redwood Bush, Larsen Crescent Bush Reserve, and Te Ngahere o Tawa).  We also did a gentle downhill walk from Highbury via the Clinical Trail bush walk to Aro Valley; and finished the month around the eastern bays of the Miramar peninsula.



July 2022 - "discoveries in the Hutt"

There are moments of discovery even after more than ten years as a walking group - we began July with a walk through the Riverstone Terraces subdivision of of Upper Hutt and were delighted to find the Whakatiki River, a most scenic and inviting tributary to the Hutt River, together with a new bridge connecting with the upstream section of the Hutt River Walkway.   We finished the month by going slightly "off-piste" - while headed for gentle walks in Percy Reserve we got sidetracked into Galbraith's Gully which, with its network of steep and (in places) difficult tracks, was like discovering a wilderness zone five minutes walk from Petone. In between these discovereies we also enjoyed the section of the City to Sea Walkway between Central Park and Mount Cook - with a delightful coffee stop in a lawned cafe courtyard in Newtown; and on 21 July, the day of gale southerlies and flight and ferry cancelations, we were able to avoid the wind and were lucky with a break in the rain on a pleasant walk from the CBD up to Kelburn and through the university finishing in Aro Valley.

June 2022

With wet weather in the first part of the month we planned our walks to be under cover – including an “urban stroll” around the Cuba Street area and a bushwalk in Otari-Wilton’s Bush between Crofton Downs and Karori.  As the Thursday morning weather improved, we went for more open walking, starting with a downhill walk from the top of Woodridge through Seton Nossiter Park to Johnsonville.  We finished the month with two more ambitious walks – up the Korokoro Stream to the top of Maungaraki, followed at the end of the month with a circuit walk via the Rangituhi/Colonial Knob summit (photos below). 

May 2022

We began May with a walk around the Matiu/Somes Island walking tracks, which included a ride on the new electric powered harbour ferry.  A week later we were under the largest bridge on the Transmission Gully motorway during a most interesting walk up the Maara Roa/Cannons Creek regeneration valley returning to civilisation via Takapu Road where we encountered a range of animal life including several kingfisher and friendly llamas.  We also crossed the town belt ridge from Lyall Bay to Newtown, stopping for coffee at the zoo cafe shortly before its closing down date, and finshed the month on the the Botanic Gardens walking tracks where the kohkohe were in magnicificent flower. 

April 2022

We kept near home base for two of our walks so we could celebrate the birthdays of two regular walkers - this led us to the Mount Victoria lookout as well as (surprisingly) previously unexplored nature zones behind Wellington College.   We also got further afield with a walk between Pukerua Bay and Plimmerton via Ara Harakeke and Karehana Bay, as well as a walk from Seatoun around the coastline and through the tunnel to Strathmore.

March 2022

March was a month of hill walks around the region - beginning at home base in Mount Victoria, followed by Mount Kaukau, the Makara Peak Mountain Bike Park in Karori, Mount Crawford (Miramar), and Battle Hill Farm Forest Park.

February 2022

February coincided with beginning of the rapid community spread of the Covid-19 Omicron variant and for the month we pooled motor vehicles rather than public transport which we would ordinarily use.  Beginning with a new walk near Owhiro Bay (photo below), we then took the opportunity to do some more remote walks - Orongorongo Track in the Remutaka Forest Park, Makara walkway taking in the old Post Office settlement and native bus, and Whitireia Regional Park.

December 2021/January 2022

In December we spent time closer to home, with several walks to and/or from the Quaker Centre – including a shared pre-Christmas lunch on one occasion, and celebration of a Friend’s birthday on another – many taking us across the Town Belt to southern and eastern suburbs.  We finished December with a walk around Otari finishing at a Friend’s home nearby for post-Christmas cake and coffee.  Our January wanderings took us to Kingston, Island Bay, Berhampore, Kelburn and 

November 2021

The walking group does different walks from week to week – sometimes easy, sometimes hard, sometimes in between.  We began November with a decidedly easy stroll around historic parts of Thorndon with expert commentary from our own architect, followed a week later with a slightly more challenging walk - a stroll from Miramar along the new Evans Bay shared pathway with some hill work to finish our walk at the Quaker Centre in Mt Victoria.  Week three was similar - we walked around Porirua estuary then up through the regenerating bush behind Takapuwahia to the conical peak of Pikarere (see picture below) - where we had wonderful views around Porirua, Mana and across Cook Strait. 

We finished the month with our most challenging walk for a while - the "Horokiwi Crossing" from Takapu Road railway station in Tawa to Petone railway station.  This walk took us over Horokiwi and the Belmont summit (two steep slogs with a steep descent in between), followed by a more gentle descent to the Korokoro Stream walkway and a very pleasant walk out to Petone and back to civilisation.  As an alternative to the slog over Belmont, some of us finished the month with a walk along the coast from Owhiro Bay to just beyond Red Rocks.

September/October 2021

Fresh out of lockdown in early September, we were eager to stretch the legs again! We started the month gently,
with a stroll from Otari-Wilton's Bush to the Ngaio home of Friends for morning tea. Having regained our stride,
we went further afield - ridgeline trails around Aotea, the upper reaches of the Hutt River trail, a streamside trail
near Churton Park (including some unplanned off-piste walking), and a downhill walk from Khandallah to 
Kaiwharawhara. We finished October with an uphill bushwalk to Highbury (photo at left) ending up at the
Zealandia visitors’ centre.



July/August 2021

July and August have been varied months - valleys and hilltops, city and countryside, before a series of "virtual" walks via Zoom (during Level 4 then 3 lockdowns) to catch up and do the Dom Post quiz together.  Before lockdown we managed to cover some new ground in the Johnston Hill area, Wellington downtown, Queen Elizabeth Park Paekakariki, and the Plimmerton coast.  A highlight in early August was when we were invited to be photographed for a Bothamley Park photo gallery while on a walk there - a selection of our "candid" action shots follows:

May/June 2021

May and June had more rain than we had become used to, but the Thursday morning weather remained kind to our walking group.  We didn’t venture too far from our Mt Victoria base in May or June.  Our walks included the northern Miramar Peninsula; two walks from Island Bay to Berhampore (the first walk clashed with Yearly Meeting so the second time gave more of us a chance to join the walk);  a few mixed urban/bush track walks in the Kelburn/Brooklyn/Mt. Cook/Newtown area and also in the Te Ahumairangi/Thorndon/Kelburn; and an old favourite - from the Quaker Centre up to and along the Mt Victoria ridgeline to Oriental Bay.  We finished June on a beautiful fine day, with some visitors from out of town, walking from the Railway Station around the waterfront to Point Jerningham and then finishing at Te Papa.   As usual, we finished each walk over coffee and the Dom Post quiz.  A very satisfying two months of walking and fellowship!

April 2021

Our April walking began with a beautiful fine day as we enjoyed views over Wellington from some of the Newlands bush walks.  The nice weather carried on for Thursday mornings in April.  The next week we walked from Plimmerton to Mana by way of the Camborne Hill and the walkway around Pauatahanui Inlet.  For our third walk we were fortunate that Alyn Ware, an international peace and disarmament consultant, was in Wellington that day and guided us on the Wellington Peace Heritage Walk.  We finished the month on the slopes of Rangituhi (Colonial Knob) following the more gradual track to the ridgeline than the usual unrelenting staircases.

March 2021

We began March in Karori with a section of the Skyline Walkway going off path, climbing a short but steep slippery path, through someone’s backyard ‘til the path re-emerged. A week later we were back on the Skyline, between Crofton Downs to Awarua Street - a stiff climb to the ridge line with magnificent views and a northerly wind, moderate at road level but reached gale strength at the ridge line as it whipped up the valleys. We earned our lunch that day after a rather long and strenuous walk with an unsuccessful 'short-cut' attempt. We decided to follow that effort with a gentler stroll around the Hutt River estuary and Petone foreshore, noticing large congregations of variable oystercatchers on the beach. We ended the month with a hike up Dry Creek valley through a surprising remnant of bush, including large pukatea trees, to the waterfall. En route and returning, we enjoyed ripe blackberries. 

February 2021

We began February with a walk inside Zealandia sanctuary, viewing native birds and tuatara. We also enjoyed two different walks in the Paremata area one an easy, gentle climb and the second more vigorous but each providing beautiful views of the harbour and beyond. We closed with a walk around the vicinity of the Quaker Centre, up the steep streets then down to Oriental Parade and long walk around to a water side café not far from a path to Hataitai . An enjoyable month of walking, conversation and sightseeing.

January 2021

The weather gave us a month of contrasts in January.  We got off to a wet and windy start with a walk over Johnston Hill from Karori to Zealandia, the usual expansive view from the top replaced by a close up view of low clouds.  A week later the weather was sublime and we walked in warmth and sunshine around Porirua Harbour and Whitireia Park to Titahi Bay, stopping at the beach for ice creams and a swim.  The following week we enjoyed the bush walks of Percy Scenic Reserve, no rain but cooler weather, and then wrapped the month up in town around Kelburn bush trails and the Botanic Garden.

December 2020

The weather was kind to us on Thursday mornings in December, even though this first month of the official summer period has been unseasonably rainy.  We began the month with a stroll from Island Bay to Lyall Bay, followed the next week with a steep hill climb up Mt Kaukau.  We did riverside walks for the remainder of the month - Kaiwharara Stream/Trelissick Park on Christmas Eve, followed on New Year's Eve afternoon around the Waikanae River estuary and Waikanae Beach township (as part of the annual Summer Gathering of Quakers, this year at El Rancho).

November 2020:

November was a rather hilly month for the walking group.  We began with an exploration around Ngauranga, including a forested trail above the commercial area followed by a steep scramble up to Khandallah. The following week we practiced "living by faith" as we were led up, down and all around Mt. Victoria by the toss of a coin at major turning points - we were pleased this got us back to the Quaker Centre in time to share food and soup on the occasion of John's birthday.  We had another walk from town up to and along Te Ahumairangi ridgeline, and we ended the month with a wonderful trip to Kāpiti Island.  Many friends joined the regular walkers for the Kāpiti trip and all enjoyed the views, trees and abundance of birdlife (a highlight for many was the calls of kōkaho).

October 2020:

We began on 1st October by walking from town up the hill to the Wadestown trig - a pleasant walk and excellent view from the trig, but it isn't signposted so you have to know where it is. Then for the next two Thursdays we met at the Karori tunnel and explored around the Northland, Highbury and Aro Valley areas. Further afield on the fourth week, our walk started and finished at Porirua railway station and took us around the estuary and harbourside, past Takapuwahia marae and into a bush walk on the lower slopes of Rangituhi/Colonial Knob. We finished October with a walk in the great treasure of Otari-Wiltons Bush, including a visit to a tree which predates the arrival of humans in this country.

September 2020:

The walking group almost always uses public transport to get to and from our walks.  But we have used cars for the walks since late August so we don't take up space on buses and trains during peak time when capacity is limited.  During September we had four walks: Kaitoke Regional Park - a beautiful bush and streamside walk in the Rivendell area, including a photo opportunity at the one remaining piece of the movie set; Waikanae River Trail - a lengthy stroll from the Waikanae shops down the river trail as far as the beach; Whitby Trail - a pleasant walk along a section of the Whitby streamside trail also taking in the Whitby lakes.  For our last walk in September we were back in Covid alert level 1 and we met at the Quaker Centre for a walk through the tunnel to Hataitai, returning either to Mt Victoria or Newtown.  There have been between ten to twelve walkers on most walks in September.



Pukerua Bay 



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