There are a number of trails that intersect with Te Aranui o Pōneke/ Great Harbour Way: for example the Hutt River Trail that connects from the GHW to Rimutakas.
Saturday 3 December saw the formal opening of the longest of the trails that meets the GHW – Te Araroa, the “long pathway” connecting Cape Reinga to Bluff, which meets the GHW at Island Bay’s Shorland Park. This is the beginning/end of Te Araroa’s North Island trail (the Te Araroa map shows a blue line heading off across Cook Strait, suggesting a rather ambitious and tide dependent kayak trip!).
Several hundred walkers and sympathisers rolled up at Shorland Park. Being Wellington, it was a moot point as to whether the coffee cart or the sausage sizzle did the best business. The Army band played stirring trekking music (I didn’t actually hear “It’s a long way to Tipperary” but it could have been in the repertoire). Waitakere’s Bob Harvey MC’d the proceedings, which included Te Araroa’s Geoff Chapple and Wellington mayor Celia Wade-Brown. By teleconference we heard from Far North’s Wayne Brown, on 90 mile beach with his surfboard; and Invercargill’s Tim Shadbolt, typically quick off the mark that he had to be interrupted so the band could do their introductory drum roll.
Governor General Jerry Mateparae (isn’t it nice to have a GG that can pronounce te reo naturally?) was obviously keen to make his role in opening the trail more than a formality. He was appropriately dressed in walking gear, so that after the speeches and tree planting he could lead walkers off on the first stage of Te Araroa towards Tawatawa ridge.
So next time you’re contemplating a trip on the GHW, think about incorporating Te Araroa into it. One option might be to start biking from Aro Valley (we don’t do commercials here, but Aro Valley has a selection of excellent cafes to start/recover at), head down to the waterfront, bike around the GHW to Island bay, then walk back along Te Araroa to where it meets Aro Street at Epuni St.