Day Trip - Sunday 22 May 2011

A beautiful sunny morning on Sunday 22 May saw a total of 29 trampers all arrive by private vehicles to participate in a three-part tramp with a difference.

First up was Jackie Peak on land privately owned by the Turners of Turners and Growers. A climb of 148 metres was rewarded by stunning views of the Manukau Harbour and Heads with the added bonus of the Spirit of New Zealand sailing ship making its way over the bar and heading towards Onehunga.

Jackie peak was apparently named after John Wade who, with his wife Marama, farmed the area in the mid-1880s. The Turner family has set a number of stones in concrete detailing their forbears’ birth and death dates, just to one side of the summit.

Getting there and back took approximately one hour and then we embarked on the second part up an unofficial track of sorts to summit the Drum at 292 metres. We passed the Marama Stream on the way and with many false trails it would have been easy to end up going the wrong way. It was very steep near the upper slopes and a bit challenging in parts.

We all reached the top in about 90 minutes and there was just enough room for us all to perch on the rock and have lunch. More fantastic views with a vertical drop on three sides.

After lunch, we set off on another unofficial track of sorts until we eventually intersected with Fletcher Track. We headed off in an easterly direction down Fletcher for about 25 minutes before leaving the track to look for the Maori Caves. Again, a little bit hit-and-miss here as there was a sort of track in some parts but not in others.

Two big free-standing rocks on the side of the slope were the signal to turn left and follow a vertical rock wall for about 15 minutes before the caves came into view.

Photo: Eugene Park

These caves are a big rocky overhang stretching for about 80-odd metres, not really a conventional cave, but they are unique. There is evidence here that the area was used for shelter and food preparation by Maori in earlier times.

We all grouped together for a photograph (thank you, Eugene Park) with the caves as a backdrop, before heading back to the free-standing rocks and down another unofficial track of sorts to exit the bush by the Project K confidence-course, then across farmland back to the Little Huia carpark.

Total tramping time, exclusive of lunch, was around five hours but with barely six kilometres travelled because of the terrain.
Everyone seemed to enjoy this tramp-with-a-difference and from a leader’s point of view it was great to see so many people participating.

Leader/Scribe: Ian W Morris