08 June 2009

Old Coach Road Heritage Trail

Yesterday, the sun shone bright all through the morning and into the early afternoon that Jo-Lo and I decided to take a little walk. I learned from a resident in the area who was at the bus stop with me one time that there was a nature trail very near us, and so I thought about taking a visit one of these days. And yesterday was just the perfect day for it.

So at 2PM, Jo-Lo and I set off to find 'Bag End' :-).

The track is indeed very near us, about only 5 minutes' walk from our house! The signage below is taken from one of the many other entries to the path that you will find along the way. The one below has some brochures attached to the signpost. Really convenient.

From the Explore Wellington brochure, I learned that the Old Coach Heritage Trail is part of the Skyline Track, which spans 12kms and up to 5 hours to traverse, and is challenging in areas, requiring reasonable fitness to complete the traverse.

And here is a bit of information about Old Coach Road:
Old Coach Road was the first formed road that connected Johnsonville with Ohariu Valley. Built between 1856 and 1858, its popular name is flawed as no coaches ever used the road.

Nevertheless, it is recognised as one of the finest horse-era roads in New Zealand and has a Category 1 Historic Places Act registration. The road was altered by earthworks at the Johnsonville end but is otherwise well-preserved. The purchase of land either side of Old Coach Road has allowed Wellington City Council to protect and manage this area.

The start of the track is a well-trodden path, which I believe was created more by bikes than by footsteps. The right side affords a beautiful view of the town.
Bushes with bright yellow flowers grow abundantly on both sides. They look nice, but they have a rather nasty side as they have sharp thorns covering their stems. I got scratched actually as I accidentally brushed by. Curiously enough, some tips have this spider-web-like things wrapped about it. I would like a closer look but it eerily looks like something alien might come out of it so I didn't dare poke it around (yep, been watching too many movies).
Here's some more shots of the town and the nearby areas:



We finally got to the hilly areas. We thought it will be a rough climb but after only ten minutes or so, we were already at the top!
The trail is marked by these yellow directional signs.

This is the view of the town from the top:

And what's at the opposide side of the hills? Rolling hills as far as the eyes can see! It was amazing.
The top was exposed to the elements, and the cold wind was something to contend with, and so after munching on our snacks, we decided to go back, but not after a little detour into one of the many trails that branch off.

We saw this bench with a plaque mounted to the rock nearby.
We got back home at around 4:30. That was a nice walk! We hope to be back again, weather permitting.


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