Hectors’ Coastal Track, Timaru

On my first day in Timaru I walked the Hectors’ Coast Track from Caroline Bay to Dashing Rocks. Read about it here. On the second day I covered the track between Hayes Street/Stuart Street and the Otipua Wetlands.

I picked up the trail at the Timaru Cemetery (Domain Avenue, Kensington, Timaru) and walked along Saltwater Creek.

I followed Saltwater Creek until a wooden bridge and crossed over to the Otipua Wetlands.

In 1997 the Otipua Wetlands Charitable Trust was formed to restore the wetlands and Saltwater Creek to recreate the type of wetland found along the Canterbury coastline before most of them were drained in the early 19th century. Only 10 percent of New Zealand’s coastal wetlands remain.

The four hectare lake in the centre of the wetlands provides a home for local migratory birds to nest. Birds that may be seen here include Royal Spoonbills, Pied Stilts, Swans, Chestnut Breasted Shelducks, Scaup, Mallard and Paradise Ducks, White and White-Faced Herons, Pukekos, Cormorants and Black Billed Gulls.

After this I followed the track back to the Cemetery and walked to Patiti Point. The first European settlers established whale processing sites at Patiti Point. Point Point is a self-contained freedom camping spot.

From Patiti Point I walked to South Beach and finished at Stuart Street.

Caroline Bay to Dashing Rocks, Timaru

The walk to Dashing Rocks from Caroline Bay is part of the Hector’s Coastal Trail in Timaru.

The walk from Caroline Bay to Dashing Rocks takes approximately one hour. The walk starts at the northern end of the Caroline Bay carpark. Follow the track over the Benvenue Cliffs past the old lighthouse. The Benvenue Cliffs provide stunning views of the ocean, Caroline Bay and the Timaru Port in the distance.

This is the site of two shipwrecks. In May 1882 the Benvenue and The City of Perth broke loose from their moorings due to heavy swells. The two ships became grounded and capsized. Nine lives were lost in failed rescue attempt.

From the Benvenue Cliffs follow the track along the top of Waimataitai Beach to Richmond Street.

Turn right into Climie Terrace, going over the foot bridge to Moore Street. This is the beginning of the Dashing Rocks Walkway.

Follow the track along the clifftop. The Dashing Rocks are the result of ancient lava flows that have created basalt columns.

From the Dashing Rocks the track follows the edge of the bay below. The track crosses a paddock to Pacific Street. Cross Pacific Street to Westcott Street and back to Richmond Street to rejoin the path you came along.

It is possible to start this walk at Moore Street. This would take approximately 30 minutes.

Rotokare Scenic Reserve

Rotokare Scenic Reserve is a bush and lake reserve in South Taranaki.

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Rotokare Scenic Reserve is a 230 hectare forested hill-country with extensive wetlands, native bush and a 17.8 hectare lake. It is managed by the Rotokare Scenic Reserve Trust.

The Lake Rotokare Walkway is a 4 km walking track that circles the lake. The first 600 metres feature boardwalks around the wetlands, which include a boardwalk out to a floating viewing pontoon.

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The boardwalk up until the pontoon is wheelchair accessible, and many visitors only walk as far as the pontoon and then return. The track after this can be muddy in winter. It should take approximately 1.5 to 2 hours to complete the loop walk.

The reserve is protected by a 8.2 km pest-proof fence. Entry is through a double set of gates. The gate has to close behind before you can open the next gate.

Entry is free but donations to the trust are appreciated.

Rotokare Scenic Reserve is at Sangster Road, 12 km from Eltham, South Taranaki.

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Mirror Lake, Yosemite National Park

Mirror Lake is a small lake located on the Tenaya Creek in the Yosemite National Park.

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Mirror Lake is in the Tenaya Canyon between North Dome and Half Dome. It is not actually a lake but a seasonal pool of water. It will have its highest level of water in the spring and summer months when snowmelt flows from the Tenaya Creek.

The Mirror Lake Trail is a 3.2 kilometre (2 mile) roundtrip to the lake and back. To complete a full loop around the lake is 8 kilometres (5 miles).

It provides view of the base of the Half Dome, which is reflected in the pool of water.

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Lake Mangamahoe

Lake Mangamahoe is a 262ha commercial production forest with a scenic park and lake.

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Lake Mangamahoe is popular for mountain biking, walking and running. There are also horse treks.

In 1932 Lake Mangamahoe was created by forming a dam across the valley and submerging 79 acres. The lake is named after the Mangamahoe stream, which flows into the lake.

The Lake Circuit walk will take approximately 1 hour 45 minutes. There is also the Hydro Road Track walk, which is 30 minutes, and a short five minute walk to the Mt. Taranaki Lookout.

Lake Mangamahoe is 10 minutes south of New Plymouth on State Highway 3. Access from Lake Road, at Kent Road Junction. During daylights savings the gate is open 7am to 8:30pm. Outside of daylight savings hours it is open 7am to 6pm.

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Johnston Canyon

Johnston Canyon is a tributary of the Bow River in Banff National Park.

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The canyon has been formed by erosion over thousands of years. The Johnston Creek, which empties into the Bow River, has cut through limestone rock creating the canyon.

Catwalks are attached to the limestone walls allowing visitors to follow the Johnston Creek through the canyon.

It is 1.1 km (1/2 mile) one way the the Lower Falls and 2.2 km (1 1/2 miles) one way to the Upper Falls. Allow 2 to 2/12 hours for a return trip to both the Lower and Upper Falls.

For a longer hike continue on 3 kms from the Upper Falls to the Ink Pots, a series of green coloured mineral pools.

At the lower falls you can cross a bridge and climb through a tunnel to see the waterfall up close. Expect to feel the spray from the waterfall and during busy periods you may have to wait to enter.

 

At the base of the trail is the Johnston Canyon Resort. There is a restaurant, gift shop and ice cream stand. The resort offers cabin and cottage accommodation.

Johnston Canyon is 25 km from Banff and 33 km from Lake Louise on the Bow Valley Parkway.

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Bow Falls Trail

Bow Falls Trail is a walk in Banff, Canada that follows the south shore of the Bow River to Bow Falls.

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It is a 1.2 km walk from the Bow River Bridge to the Bow Falls. The is a segment of the Bow River Trail.

There are separate trails for pedestrians and cyclists. Bicycles are not permitted on the clifftop part of the track. The clifftop part of the track is closed during the winter.

The Bow Falls is adjacent to the Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel. The waterfall itself is rather wide and shallow.

It is a nice walk from Banff township along the riverbank to the falls.

If you don’t want to walk the trail there is a parking lot off Bow Falls Drive.

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Tunnel Mountain

Tunnel Mountain is a mountain in the Banff National Park in Alberta, Canada.

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It is a popular walk to climb up to the summit of Tunnel Mountain, which provides amazing views over Banff and the Bow and Spray River valleys.

If you begin at Tunnel Mountain Drive it is a 3.6 km (2.2 mile) trip up and down. There is limited parking near the track entrance so you may have to find a park along the road and walk up. Note: Tunnel Mountain is closed to vehicles during winter.

If you start at the Banff township (end of Banff Ave Rd) it is approximately a 4.3 km (2.7 mile) return trip.

The track is well maintained and although it is a steep climb at some points generally it is a gentle climb up. Bikes are not permitted on the trail.

So where is the tunnel? In 1882 there was a suggestion of putting a railway tunnel through the mountain for the Canadian Pacific Railway. This idea was quickly rejected due to the cost and the time involved. But the name Tunnel Mountain stuck.

Local resident Anne Ness reportedly climbed the mountain more than 8,000 times during a 40 year period. Sometimes Ness even climbed the mountain twice in one day.

So follow Ness’ example and give it a go!

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Princes Rock Track – Blue Mountains National Park

The Princes Rock track in the Blue Mountains National Park offers stunning views over Wentworth Falls.

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Wentworth Falls

This historic track was built in 1868 for a visit by Queen Victoria’s son Prince Alfred – hence the name. It has been used by sightseers ever since.

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Princes Rock Track

The track is well maintained and is less than a kilometre long, so it is popular walk for visitors that have limited time or are not willing to commit to longer walks.

It is a 20 minute return walk to Princes Rock Lookout, which offers views of Wentworth Falls.

The track begins at the Wentworth Falls Picnic Area, at the end of Falls Road.

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Princes Rock Lookout

Pahurehure Esplanade Walkway

The Pahurehure Boardwalk and Esplanade Walkway is a walk around the Pahurehure Inlet in Papakura.

Pahurehure Inlet at sunset

Pahurehure Inlet at sunset

Pahurehure is reported to mean ‘angry water’ in Māori, because of the wild and turbulent waters of the Manukau Harbour.

I started the walk at Wharf Street Reserve, next to Prince Edward Park, at the end of Wharf Street (off Queen Street).

The path between Ray Small Park (off Elliot Street) and Wharf Street Reserve is currently closed due to unstable cliff conditions. There are plans to upgrade this section of the walkway by building a new 2.2 metre wide concrete path and 2.2 metre wide boardwalk.

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The pathway from Wharf Street Reserve follows the Pahurehure Inlet and Prince Edward Park. This part of the walkway offers plenty of shade from the green leafy trees. The walkway comes out at Katavic Park, off Gills Ave.

Before following the footpath along Gills Ave cross the road to Ernie Clarke Pond to see the ducks and pukeko roaming the grassy slopes and water. There is a viewing platform built looking out over the pond.

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Ernie Clarke Pond

Ernie Clarke Pond

After seeing the ducks I walked along the Gill Ave footpath to where the pathway runs alongside the other side of the Pahurehure Inlet.

This part of the walkway, which was built by Rotary Club of Papakura, comes out by Young’s Park and the Papakura Sea Scout Den. Young’s Park has a children’s playground, public toilets and BBQ facilities.

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Young's Park / Papakura Sea Scout Den

Young’s Park / Papakura Sea Scout Den