December 13, 2023 Escarpment Track (Day 77)

We checked the weather, and double checked (considering yesterday’s storm) and were satisfied that today is the day to tackle the 10km Escarpment Track! We were up early, packed our daily supplies and caught the 7:23am bus to Wellington Station. We intended to catch the train to Pukerua Bay on the Kapiti Coast, but it was replaced with a bus for track maintenance. So our trip north took a little longer (and bumpier) but we finally made it to the start of the track, a part of the Te Araroa Track that traverses the entirety of New Zealand!

The yellow line on the sign map shows the track.

The bus dropped us off below the hill where the track starts so we had a little extra walking to do!

Last chance to bail! No amenities on the trail!

The view after you walk through a little residential area. The trail then follows next to the train tracks and is lined with kawakawa bushes. We picked a few leaves to chew while on the trail. They tend to be a little astringent, so it keeps you drinking water to stay hydrated!

Once on the track proper we looked back towards the tiny town of Pukerua Bay. Puke rua means two hills in Maori, maybe referring to the two sweeps of shoreline on the bay?

The first of two swing bridges, saved a lot of hill descending and climbing!

The track used to go that way, but a landslide (a mere ‘slip’ as landslides are called here) caused a temporary detour to be constructed. Posts and a rope railing to hang onto and pull yourself up were thoughtfully provided!

There were no end of hill descents and climbs! I quit counting stairs after 300. It is said there are over 500 stairs (I beg to differ, I would say more like 1000!)

The views are worth every step! Kapiti Island is in the distance.

Just over the summit of the track is this view, looking almost tropical!

About midway on the track there is welcome shade in small pockets of forest, otherwise you are out in the sun and breeze! It was fairly calm and we were thankful for some shade early on in the hike due to having started by 8:23am! By noon the breeze was picking up, we could see whitecaps on the water far below us!

Arriving at the end of the track in the small town of Paikakariki (pie-kaka-reekee), meaning parakeet perch. The parakeet being the kakariki, or New Zealand parakeet. We saw a few way up in Bay of Islands and thought they were an introduced species!

We covered 6.7 miles in 4hours, 15 minutes, over 16,500 steps according to my walking app! A short rest in Paekakariki and we boarded the train for a smooth 45 minute ride back to Wellington, a well deserved rest, and a grilled fish dinner!

3 Responses to “December 13, 2023 Escarpment Track (Day 77)”

  1. Robert Douglas Says:

    Hi Mary Jo, the information I found about the Escarpment Track says that you will scale around 1,200 steep steps. I love the Swing Bridges.

  2. rmj Says:

    Wow, more than I thought! Yes, swing bridges are fun!

  3. Linda D Charny Says:

    So I’m guessing not a good hike for Rod?! The Wellington southerlies sound just like so many tropical storms we’ve experienced in the Caribbean. When John and Martha and Rod and I rented the Dream Come True Villa on Virgin Gorda, we had so much hard rain that the drops were visible individually, bouncing off the swimming pool!

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