A few weeks ago, Andy dropped me and Higgs off in Plimmerton on his way to play footy (soccer, for the Americans). It’s a lovely little spot on the coast, just over the Hayward Hills from where we live in the Hutt Valley. It was one of those brilliant sunny days here, where you forget it’s the middle of winter, and I wanted to check out the Taua Tapu Track.
First things first, though, the pup needed to cool his belly.
Plimmerton has a beautiful, calm beach, with views of Mana Island just off the coast and the South Island further in the distance. Normally packed in summer, it was deserted this time of year.
Satisfied with a brief dip (well, for one of us anyway!) we left the beach and cluster of shops and cafes behind as we headed toward the start of the track.
There was a LOT of uphill to do before we even started on the hike itself.
Let’s just say the houses up here aren’t cheap, but would you expect anything else with views like this?
Higgs clearly has better things to look at than the view.
The higher we climbed, the more epic the vistas became. You can clearly see the Kaikoura Mountains of the South Island rising behind Mana Island (a predator-free sanctuary).
Higgs made a pal on the way up.
I had to stop and glance over my shoulder constantly, because LOOK AT THIS. That red bin has a better view than most people can ever hope for.
Even without reaching the track, this walk alone would have been worth it.
Time to stop and munch on some grass salad. Must be delicious, with that face!
We reached a gate marking the beginning of the track and continued on as the road turned to dirt. The Taua Tapu Track has quite an extensive history, used by various people passing through from the early days of Māori settlement. This Samuel C Brees painting from 1843, next to my photo from a similar spot today, gives you an idea of perspective, and how much has changed.
Then and now, from whaling outpost to upscale beach getaway. The track was used by many over the years, from settlers transporting supplies to war parties.
Now, it’s used by casual walkers and the occasional Swedish Vallhund.
It was so peaceful on the hilltops, high above the motorway that stretches up toward the Kapiti Coast.
Soon, we came to the farmland portion of the track. There’s a reason dogs need to be on leash here!
There weren’t many others up here, surprisingly, so we had the track to ourselves.
Someone clearly thinks he owns the place!
After the trig, the track headed steeply downhill. Clusters of farms filled the valley to one side, as the motorway became visible off to the right.
Time for a mother/son self-timer shot! Look at the smile on that dog. 🙂
The track ends at a road, so we turned around and headed back the way we came, up up up.
Someone was pretty keen to get up close and personal with the sheep…
He is a herding dog, after all! Luckily for his wooly pals, he was on a lead.
After a brief snack stop, where Higgs attempted to eat my banana peel, we were on our way and back on the road.
Envious onlookers watched us as we passed.
Farewell, Taua Tapu! We’re honored to have shared in your history, if only for a brief time.
Stay tuned for some coastal adventures as we explore more of coastal Plimmerton!