Auckland Baptist Tramping Club

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Base map: NZTopoOnline, extracted April 2005, Crown Copyright Reserved  

We left The Bracken at 8am to meet up with our leader Gail at the carpark in the Hamilton Gardens at 10am. After the usual prayer and introductions, we set out along the eastern bank of the Waikato River, following a path that went through the rose gardens and under the Cobham Bridge, and continue through grass park, passing a small beach.

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We had a brief group-up stop at the Victoria Bridge. One of the group told of how he saw a teenager many years ago cross the bridge by climbing up the supporting arches and clinging to a ledge in the centre, a dangerous pursuit that would not go down well with the local constabulary!
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Soon afterwards we came to Memorial and Parana Parks, and we took time to explore this little place.
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We paused at an aviary, and also found some mysterious-looking fruit that had fallen to the ground.
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From there we had to roadbash to the Fairfield Bridge, described by one of the group when a little child as the Bridge With Mountains, which we crossed to begin the return walk along the west bank of the river.
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The path continued below small bluffs beside the river. In one place two young teenagers were sitting on the path rolling fags, but they moved on once one of us gave them a friendly comment about how she was glad to give up smoking after many years!
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The gardenerís nightmare convolvulus added beauty to the cliffs with its lovely blue flowers. As we went under the Claudelands Bridge a long freight train travelling from Tauranga thundered overhead.
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We bought our lunch at the Subway in the cityís main street before enjoying a riverside picnic that the birds were glad about. The Waipa Delta steamed by as we ate.
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Several painters were busy at their easels as we went under the Victoria Bridge. Further on we could see a number of people swimming in the beach on the other side of the river.
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As we returned to the Hamilton Gardens out came raincoats and brollies. Linda and Teresa left the group once we reached the carpark, as Linda wanted to see her mother before going home to a friendís birthday dinner. The rest of us explored the interesting Paradise Garden Collection, which included gardens depicting various countries including Japan, Italy and the USA, which Marilyn Monroe would have been proud of.
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After latteing at the gardens cafe, we walked up to the Russian Log House lookout for a view over the gardens.
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We returned to the carpark for the journey home. We were back at The Bracken about 6pm, having enjoyed a interesting day crammed with all sorts of things.

COST: $19