Bel­mont park – the hid­den

Re­porter Karo­line Tuckey takes a walk in the park and dis­cov­ers the best views in Welling­ton.

Kapi-Mana News - - FEATURE -

Some­times the best kept se­crets are those that are out in the open.

I’ve lived most of my life in the Welling­ton re­gion, but have barely set foot in Bel­mont Re­gional Park un­til re­cently.

My lack of in­ter­est stemmed mostly from its steep le­gend on maps and talk of hard­man ad­ven­ture sports like long dis­tance hill run­ning and moun­tain bik­ing.

How­ever, af­ter ven­tur­ing forth I’m sur­prised by the hilly park’s ac­ces­si­bil­ity and amazed by the views I’ve missed out on till now.

From the carpark in Hill Rd on the Hutt side only 20 min­utes’ walk takes us on to the hill­tops. From there you can see scraps of Lower Hutt sub­urbs, the Rimu­takas be­hind Wainuiomata, Kapiti Is­land, Pau­ata­hanui in­let, Porirua Har­bour, Mana Is­land and Ti­tahi Bay, the Aotea sub­di­vi­sion and Lambton Har­bour in Welling­ton, all within 10 min­utes walk along the track.

The views are breath­tak­ing and stand­ing on the hill­tops look­ing al­most to the ends of the re­gion in each di­rec­tion is a rad­i­cally dif­fer­ent per­spec­tive of land­marks I know well.

We pass very few peo­ple and bar­ren windswept farm­land sur- rounds us. It feels like the hid­den heart of the re­gion.

To get there we started at the Hill St car park in the Lower Hutt sub­urb of Bel­mont, which gives a head start about two thirds of the way up from the val­ley floor.

The rut­ted farm road we fol­low climbs about 100 me­tres over about 2.5 kilo­me­tres to a mowed airstrip in the hills used by top dressers. It takes us 30 min­utes, with pauses to take pho­tos. It’s not hard, but it is work. One of my walking part­ners re­marks that it’s a pity the views aren’t ac­ces­si­ble to all by car, but I think that the re­mote­ness and small test to get there in­creases its value.

In the fore­ground on the Porirua side is Trans­mis­sion Gully. If or when it’s built, the park it­self will be cut into two length­wise by the con­struc­tion.

From the top: The view over Porirua from the airstrip in Bel­mont Re­gional Park.

Gimme shel­ter: Farm an­i­mals now use de­com­mis­sioned World War II am­mu­ni­tion stores for shel­ter on farm­land.

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