Auckland Baptist Tramping Club

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28 people took advantage of a lovely late-summer afternoon to explore a private bush reserve at Awhitu and enjoy a twilight barbeque at the nearby Awhitu Regional Park.

We left The Bracken right on 1:30pm for the 45-minute drive to Waiuku to meet up with people from South Auckland. We had another half-hour travelling to get to the private bush reserve at Awhitu.

The Lee family property on Awhitu Central Road is mostly in native bush with a small area of dairy pasture. The owners, who live on the property, have made a network of tracks through the property, having gained protection for the bush under the QE2 Covenant. They allow members of the public to explore these tracks at a nominal charge of $2pp.

The main access into the bush is via a track dropping down from the front lawn of the homestead, which commands a great view looking out towards eastern Awhitu and Glenbrook, etc.

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We came on to the Circuit Track and followed it, crossing a stream and coming to the start of Puddle Lane. This climbed up to Smith Ridge and carried on as Kauri Road (the owners call some of these bush tracks “roads”) descending the far side of the ridge.

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The climb up to a clearing of pasture beside a pine plantation has the name of Puff ‘n’ Stuff, obviously a huff-and-puff grunt rather than anything to do with the friendly dragon of the 1970 movie and pop-song Pufnstuf.

As we were having a very brief break to get the group together again, one of us found a green frog running through the grass, and called his children over to see it.
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A gate at the bottom of the clearing on the far side marked the start of Pooh Road (presumably named after the pet bear of the A.A.Milne’s children’s books), the main bush track leading to the far end of the property. This dropped down and evenutally crossed the Kauritutahi Creek (a narrow ribbon of swamp) then continued up a valley. We stopped at the junction with Syme Ridge Track to bring the group together, and eight of us including the main leader decided to turn back while the rest went to the end of the property with John M leading.

The track at the very end of the property became very much overgrown and we had to push our way through. We were able to glimpse a view out towards Glenbrook etc. as well as complete a little loop at the end of the track.
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We returned along Pooh Road to the clearing. We had intended to take another track - Jay Road - but could not find it (it may have overgrown).
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Once at the clearing we followed the pasture area up the ridge and through an “electric gate” past a paddock with cows and along a farm road to come out at the car park about 5:30pm.

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Most of us drove on to Awhitu Regional Park for a pot-luck barbeque in a nice area just above the beach. The tide was out so we could not have a swim, but we enjoyed a delicious meal before heading home about 7:30pm.

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As we drove home through the Counties-Manukau rural area, we enjoyed another act of worship to God in admiring a beautiful sunset sky of wisps of pink and orange cloud against a blue sky varying from dark to light. We were back in Auckland by 9pm.

COST: travel $12 ($5 from Waiuku); entry to bush reserve $12.