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8 Reserves Chatswood, Birkenhead, Northcote tramp by Imogen

11 Oct 2020 7:34 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

So what made this tramp different, we blasted our way through 8 Reserves in one day, and staying mostly in the bush and forested areas, quite a number of tracks the club hasn't done probably for ever.

Meeting out front of Chelsea Primary School, Big Yellow resting up in it's garage, a good number of us and some fit newbies headed straight across the road to the first tracks skirting alongside the high barbed wire Military fence. Surprisingly this fairly steep downwards track was still pretty dry bar a couple of vaguely slick small areas. But we all know, what goes down, does invariably go up!!! A fairly short, but definitely sharp uphill and then we head into more bush tracks heading towards Fitzpatrick & Soldiers Bay, that are lined with a mixture of exotic (non-Native trees) & native Tanekaha, Kanuka and many more towering above us. These tracks give a really great, being in the bush feel, then all of a sudden, you start dropping down, and through the almost Japanese oversized Bonsai looking Pine trees, the sea appears again and the very peaceful and pretty Fitzpatrick Bay.

We quickly blast through a wide gravel path and land on Soldiers Bay. I tried to find about some history of the bay, but one would assume that it maybe something to do with the base that occupies the cliffs above. Thankfully it was low tide, so we're able to work our way across the very carefully placed large stones through the mangrove swamp! Many, many thanks to whomever put those there, or it would have been mud central!

Heading up out of Soldiers Bay another really massive group of 42! Before long we pop out onto Rangatira Road, connecting us to our next park. The area of tracks we'd just done were awesome, for the fairly natural tracks and the tree canopy above us, and the good sharps and downs, great training. Similar to the climbs we used to have at the old Okura entrance.

We scoot through the Birkenhead War Memorial tracks, checking out the tree planting we did the previous week. Again, these are fairly natural tracks and really quite enjoyable with a cute bridge. With a boot station at either end. A little bit sad to see that the boot stations aren't well maintained, with empty bottles (two weeks running).

Next reserve was the very beautiful Kauri Glen, with a thorough scrub and spray of footwear on entry. If you've not been through here before, it's definitely worth a visit. It's like a little forgotten world right in the middle of suburbia as you drop into the Kauri lined gully. So impressive! Massive number of ricker (younger Kauri) & many whopping great big multi hundreds of year old Kauri. You immediately have that feeling of walking through a gorgeous Kauri forest. On one of the tracks that's half closed, on the open half there is a neat tree canopy lookout. Pretty wicked to see so many Kauri.

More reserves to conquer we cross to Le Roys Bush. Although there is track maintenance happening currently, we still have some brand new board-walked tracks to enjoy. Initially we though we might hang our feet over the side of the boardwalk for lunch, but then had a better idea a spot at the end of Tizard Road, out of the brisk wind, and room with a great view up the harbour! Pretty interesting, as some of the Birkenhead'ers were saying that the site has been bare for a number of years, with a couple of quite tall lookouts on the site. Haha, na, we were busy noshing to climb up to check out the vista.

Dropping back down onto the path heading to Chelsea Sugar Works. Yeah, we know what you're thinking......... the trampers stopped for a coffee and nibbles at the cafe ..... I think we must have all needed our temperatures taken........... we walked straight past! Can you believe it! Haha. Ready for the boost up the hill into the bush tracks again! Again here, we did a couple of tracks we don't usually do, one to a historic Maori fishing point. Quite interesting seeing the old Pa sites still quite evident. The tide right out now, we head down a different track, and actually walk along Kendall Bay! Absolutely gorgeous!

No rest for the wicked, we head up the very steep steps up to the point, and a few more ups and downs on the awesome tracks there, oh and one and the only really slick muddy downhill bit all day! Thank goodness for the odd tree to grab onto on carved muddy steps.

So what made this day different from what we normally do in this area, that was so enjoyable, mixing up the tracks and with our variety of organisers creating a different tramp! Who doesn't love different and new to a lot of us tracks! A solid 17kms of undulating tracks, yay!!!

Yay!!! Another absolutely awesome tramping adventured with the club, fantastic group and great newbies, who commented how friendly and helpful everyone is. Aaaww.


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