Te Ahumairangi hill: Anzac Day is leg day

I don’t remember why I first saw the mountains, but they’ve always been here.

I can’t climb them… But I can.

– Bill Wurtz, Hi i’m steve

1 - The Mountains
Okay, it’s not a mountain. I like memes, okay?

Like Steve, I have a hill out the back of my place that’s always kinda just… been there. Both at home and at work, this beautiful bush-clad slope makes up a large part of the scenery. But for the longest time I didn’t even know you could get to the top, let alone walk along its entire length.

Sometime, presumably a bit over a year ago, I must have seen a brochure or a sign or something with a map of the tracks. Sure enough, those tracks go right up to the ridgeline, and then all the way along – hence the name, Ridgeline Track! So, on a sunny Anzac Day with nothing better to do, I went exploring. Of course, back then I didn’t have a fancy camera or a blog, so that experience is consigned to the depths of my memory.

Fast forward a year. It’s Anzac Day again, it’s a beautiful sunny morning, once again I have no plans, and I haven’t done this track for a year. Oh, and I have a fancy* camera and (almost) a blog.

*Definitions of “fancy” may vary. I don’t have a DSLR with interchangeable lenses. But compared to what I had before, this thing is fa-a-ancy!

So, while the crowds were at Anzac commemorations, I grabbed my camera and started up through Wadestown. (So not patriotic!)

2 - Cat face off
The ultimate showdown between light and dark… cats.

On the way up I made a game of shooting the Kaukau radio tower in the most creative way possible. I found a couple of spots where I could frame it between power lines.

3a - This way up
This way up?
3b - Or this way up
Or this way up?

I spent so long getting these and other shots that it took me over an hour to get to the park at the top – twice the Google Maps estimate. But it was totally worth it. This was easily the most scenic and varied section of the walk. These next two shots were taken just 50 metres apart!

4a - 50 metres down
Fifty metres down…
4b - 50 metres up
Fifty metres up!

I rewarded myself at the top with a long break on a bench and a thematic morning tea. Conveniently, I found a discarded poppy in the car park which I claimed for a photo-op.

5 - Anzac snack
Anzac snack

The walk over the ridgeline was marred by a number of off-lead dogs, one of which ran at me and jumped in my face. Now I remember why it’s been a year since I last went up here! I was so spooked I forgot to take any photos to the west over Wilton – I’ll make up for it sometime with a Wilton Bush walk! Let’s just skip to the lookout, shall we?

6 - Ferry nice
Ferry nice.

By this time I was pretty knackered (did I mention I was hungover? I didn’t? Oh…) so it was time for another break. But just as I was going to sit down, three planes flew by in formation – the Anzac commemorative flyover. Being the un-patriotic kiwi I am, I had no idea this was coming; it would have made for an amazing photo! Oh well, it was still super cool to see it from up there.

On to the homeward descent. One last snap presented itself before the bush closed in and I returned to suburbia.

7 - Fern-tastic framing
Fern-tastic framing

In all I was out for three hours and bathed in autumn sunshine throughout. Hangover busted, leg day done, and snaps snapped. All before noon.

It’s a true privilege to have this experience right on my doorstep.

– How did you climb this mountain?

– Well, I’m glad you asked that! It’s part of a two-step program:

  1. Find the mountain
  2. Climb the thing.

That’s the way we can get things done and that’s how I do it.

It’s easy and simple ‘cause you know what to do.

Bye i’m evan

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