Mt. Kaukau Adventure
Brigid suggested that we should go on a little hike up Mt. Kaukau over the weekend. It was the perfect day for it, sunny with the occasional breeze. Note to self, we should take one car instead of two. I got a little bit lost as there are a couple of different starting points for the trail. A few twists and turns and I got to Khandallah Pool (It wasn't looking much like a pool with no water in it and all). Type in Woodmancote road if you're plotting it by GPS. Parking is free and abundant. If the parking area happens to be full, you should be able to find parks on the neighbouring streets. *It might be good to note that there is a cafe next to the pool called Cafe du Parc. I have yet to try the place but upon googling it, I've seen mixed reviews. (Try it at your discretion, let me know if it is any good!)
The Ascent: Everything is well signposted, so it is easy to find your way to the trail. We came across a children's playground, which evidently meant that at least one of us had to go on something. Brigid volunteered as tribute. After Brigid recovered from her fast and furious experience on the slide, we kept on trekking. You know you've found the beginning of the trail when your feet start squish squashing under you. It would probably be best to save your new trainers for another time, especially if it has just rained! Despite being under a canopy of trees, you could still feel the sun radiating through. (Best to slap on some sunscreen folks!) There were lots of people and pups out as it was such a beautiful day! Naturally I wanted to stop and pet every single pup. I may have used the pups as an excuse to stop as well. My legs were killing me as I was silly enough to think that wearing a new pair of insoles was clever. The trail continues steeply. There are a few sections with steps that are quite large, especially for me with my petite little legs.
I had noticed a peculiar number of benches on this trail. They had inspiring inscriptions on them. There is one particular bench that you come up that overlooks the city. The trees and shrubs don't make it a great viewing point. I'd say take the opportunity to have a sip of water but you're pretty close to the top when you're there anyway, so keep going.
At the top: The trail was finally plateauing. We made it! I climbed over a little ladder to get over the fence. On the left there was a warning sign about lambing season. Got me excited till I realised there were no lambs in sight. Continued on what looked like 4WD tracks. A few minutes later we arrived at the top! We had a quick gander on the lookout which gave you a beautiful 360° view of the city and its' surroundings. You could even see the South Island! I was starving, so we headed to a picnic table for lunch. We had a delectable selection of hummus, salami, beef, brie and bread. Good chats and a big empty bread bag later, it was started to get chilly. We started to head back. (There were no rubbish bins so take everything with you! Also remember to take a warmer layer)
The Descent: The walk back down was a lot quicker. We were gifted with a more of a breeze and less sun, pleasant conditions for the walk back down. The trail had become slushier throughout the day, so I had to take extra care not to slip. My shoes were definitely not appropriate for the conditions although they held up reasonably well. Overall, it is a nice easy walk that I would do again. It could be a nice swift run for you trail runners out there.
Duration: Ascent - about 25 minutes (with all the stops) - Descent about 15 minutes.
Distance: 2km from where we started, but the entire loop is 4.2 km
Fitness Level : Low - Moderate (if you have joint issues the stairs and steepness may not be enjoyable)
*Disclaimer: I lost all my RAW files + some other back up photos, because my memory card got corrupted. These are the basic JPEGS. Apologies for the cruddy quality and lack of photos! I will probably go back and do the longer route at some point soon anyway.
Any other walk/hike suggestions? Leave a comment people or send me a message!
Hope you've had a lovely weekend