Author Topic: Belmont and Boulder Hill in one trip  (Read 1407 times)

Belmont and Boulder Hill in one trip
« on: April 15, 2009, 03:23:34 AM »
Weather: strong north westerly wind and cloudy. Track: dry.

Decided to walk the Puke Ariki Track from end of Cornish Street at Korokoro, the southern end of Belmont Regional Park to Dry Creek, the northern end of the park. We left a car at Dry Creek car park and got dropped off at Cornish Street for the start by our daughter. However, as both ends of the track are only a few minutes walk from railway stations on the Hutt Valley line, it is quite feasible to do this walk using a train to make the connection. We were passed by a tramper who was doing just that. There is only room for 2 cars at the track end at Cornish Street and it is an industrial area, so not a great place to leave a car parked all day, yet we felt it was a good way round to do this walk.

Track starts narrow but flat for 3 kms going up the Korokoro Stream. At Baked Beans Bend there is a clearing where you can picnic, then you turn right up a steep clay-surfaced track for the climb to Belmont summit at 456m. There are some attractive bush sections on the track, including one near the summit and most of this section is sheltered from the wind. There are also about half a dozen stream crossings to undertake: if it has been raining a lot expect wet feet; if dry you will still get wet feet unless you are wearing waterproof boots.

Once at the summit there are great views over Wellington Harbour, Lower Hutt and Porirua, but from there on until after Boulder Hill you get the full force of the blast of the standard Wellington north-westerly almost the entire way. It is both cold (due to wind chill) and very wearing after 3 or more unrelenting hours. We passed some amazingly inappropriately clad people up there on this trip: you DO need a windproof jacket and hat of some sort to be comfortable and if you don't have them and have to stop due to injury, hypothermia would be a real risk.

The Puke Ariki Track is, in the main, well marked with orange disks on bendy poles across the farmland, but there are so many tracks up there a map can be useful. Most of the track runs through a working farm: no dogs are allowed, yet we still passed one man with a dog (albeit on a lead). This is a wide track most of the time, often grass underfoot, some of it follows well worn animal trails (the farm runs sheep and cows). The track is open to cyclists as well as walkers and some of it is also open to horse riders. Views in all directions abound from numerous vantage points. At one point you follow the old coach road (now grassed over) that ran between the Hutt Valley and Porirua before the Haywards Hill road was built. Part of the track also follows a gravel road for a little while.

Boulder Hill is aptly named with the summit strewn with some large boulders. Getting in the lee of the biggest provided us with a little respite from the wind, which was at its strongest by the time we got there. Views from here are at least as good as from Belmont trig. The final descent to Dry Creek finishes on a gravel road: probably the least scenic part of the track. The park at Dry Creek is a good place for a picnic though and nicely sheltered. This has the ONLY toilets on the Puke Ariki track and they are 400m from the car park.

Times and distances: Cornish St to Belmont trig, around 6.5 km and 1:50. Belmont trig to Boulder Hill, around 11.5 km and 3 hours. Boulder Hill to Dry Creek car park, around 4.5 km and 1 hour.