Saturday, April 25, 2009

2009. Heathcote River South Bank, Woolston Loop

Anzac Day, 25 April, I parked my car in Catherine St, Christchurch, as I wanted to walk Woolston Loop where Heathcote River went past houses, industry and farmlands. I didn't walk the north bank of Woolston Loop, wheelchair-friendly, as it was cut off from farmlands.

2009. Heathcote River, Woolston Barrage, Radley Park, Christchurch

At Union Wharf near Woolston Barrage, I crossed Heathcote River over a footbridge into Radley Park on the south bank. I passed a dog training area, where wooden dog-jumps had Eukanuba signs advertising dog products.

Beside Heathcote River, on the tarsealed footpath a goatee-bearded man on a motorbike whizzed by with his brindled brown dog leashed to the handlebars - running hell-for-leather.

2009. Radley Park Dog Training Apparatus, Christchurch

Radley Park followed Heathcote River a bit, with native plantings along the bank to secure the bank. At the riverbend I watched ducks and pukekos, then walked past houses by willows and poplars on Cumnor Tce, with Castle Rock and The Tors as Port Hills backdrop.

2009. Heathcote River, down Woolston Loop, Radley Park, Port Hills backdrop, Christchurch

2009. Heathcote River, first bend downriver on Woolston Loop, Radley Park, Christchurch

Cumnor Tce houses degraded into industrial bldgs on either side of Heathcote River. Through a back gate, I snapped a Hazchem sign:


2009: Hazchem back gate sign, Cumnor Tce, Heathcote River, Christchurch

Hazchem sign had warning pics for flammable gas; flammable liquid; flammable solid; oxidising agent; toxic; corrosive; ecotoxin - the latter so close to Heathcote River. The industrial zone along Cumnor Tce / Heathcote River bank was a polluted mess.

For hundreds of metres I saw discarded plastic; cardboard; paper; wood; polystyrene; tin cans; aluminium cans; plastic hub caps; tyres; car junk. Riverside native plants and grass were polluted with rubbish. I wondered why Cumnor Tce businesses didn't phone Christchurch City Council and demand cleanups?

2009. Heathcote River bend, Woolston Loop by Cumnor Tce, Christchurch

2009. Another Heathcote River bend, Woolston Loop by Cumnor Tce, Christchurch

I crossed Garlands Rd Bridge and continued past more businesses, with more litter polluting Heathcote River bank. On another Heathcote River bend I passed a concrete sign: DANGER 11000 VOLT MED CABLES.

2009. Cumnor Tce / Chapmans Rd corner by Heathcote River, Woolston Loop, Christchurch

After the river bend, I continued down rubbished Cumnor Tce, a railway on my right. The incoming Pacific tide flowed fast upriver, water scummy and turbid. I came across white storage tanks on my right at Cumnor Tce / Chapmans Rd cnr.

I continued left along a gravel road past another DANGER 11000 VOLT MED CABLES sign beside Heathcote River. More businesses on my right including MANA TRANSPORT LTD, with views of Avoca Valley and Witch Hill. Business roads had easy access to Lyttelton Tunnel and Lyttelton Port on the far side of the Port Hills.

2009. Mana Transport Ltd by Heathcote River, Woolston Loop, Port Hills backdrop, Christchurch

2009. Businesses by Heathcote River, Woolston Loop, Port Hills backdrop, Christchurch

By riverside gums and pines, a double-padlocked gate had a red and white sign:


2009. Heathcote River by Farm Signs, Woolston Loop, Christchurch

I crossed a stile over the sign. Further on by an open gate, another red and white sign:


2009. Farm Road by Heathcote River, Woolston Loop, Christchurch

2009. Farm Shed by Heathcote River, Woolston Loop, Avoca Valley backdrop, Christchurch

Not a soul in sight. There were no footpaths through the farm paddocks, but the gravel road followed Heathcote River towards Woolston Cut. I had downstream views of Woolston businesses on the opposite bank and gums and pines on the southern bank.

No rubbish pollution in the farm paddocks, but that would change, as the paddocks were earmarked for business development.

2009. Gum Tree view down Heathcote River, Woolston Loop, Christchurch

2009. Gums & Pines view up Heathcote River, Woolston Loop, Christchurch

On my right were wheat fields with macrocarpa shelter-belts going towards Lyttelton Tunnel Road in Heathcote Valley. I passed a house, then passed several small storage sheds on the riverside, passed a bigger shed with a tractor inside, passed straw bales stacked below a pine, and passed a green combine-harvester below a macrocarpa.

2009. Combine Harvester below Macrocarpa by Heathcote River, Woolston Loop, Christchurch

2009. Shags, Heathcote River, Woolston Loop, Christchurch

2009. Shag, Heathcote River, Woolston Loop, Christchurch

I coolpixed two shags on gum tree branches over Heathcote River. When I walked towards a flock of Canada geese raiding ripe wheat, geese flew off and wheeled in the cloudy sky towards another wheat field.

2009. Canada Geese above wheat field by Heathcote River, Woolston Loop, Christchurch

2009. Wheat Field by Heathcote River, Woolston Loop, Port Hills backdrop, Christchurch

Riverside native plantings increased towards Woolston Cut. At the end of the wheat fields, I crossed a fence near a padlocked, spiked metal gate. Heathcote River flowed fast up Woolston Loop, below a small concrete bridge, while wide waters of Woolston Cut slowed tidal waters flowing up to Woolston Barrage.

2009. Heathcote River, end of Woolston Loop, lower Woolston Cut, Christchurch

I crossed a handrail by the spiked gate, and from the concrete bridge I watched tidal waters flow up Woolston Loop. I returned to my car via the south bank of Woolston Cut, crossing a footbridge to the north bank. Along the way I watched ducks and grey gulls avoiding chill winds by standing on lower steps by Woolston Cut. Woolston Loop, walk time: 2 hours.

28.07.10. The Press reported that 40 hectares of farmland by Woolston Loop to Tunnel Rd would become an industrial business park, leased or sold mainly for Lyttelton Port use, like container storage. Some park!

I wondered what would happen to birdlife - Canada geese, cormorants, pukekos...? Would Heathcote River by the industrial business park become another stinking sewer with sewage spills during wet weather? Would rubbish clog Heathcote River, as I'd seen upstream rubbish clog Heathcote River by commercial buildings near Rutherford St?

03.06.11 Coda: After 04.09.10 & 22.02.11 quake destruction of Christchurch sewers and drains, Heathcote River, Avon River & Avon-Heathcote estuary became stinking, open sewers for months, as sewage & waste water was pumped into rivers, while repairs were done. CONTAMINATED WATER signs lined riverbanks & estuary banks for months.

Content & pics Copyright Mark JS Esslemont.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

2009. Woolston Barrage and Woolston Wharfs, Heathcote River

I parked my car at Opawa Rd Bridge by Heathcote River, as I wanted to walk downriver to see Woolston Barrage and Woolston Wharfs. By the bridge a sign stated riverside grass wouldn't be cut from December to May to protect whitebait spawning grounds. A nearby info board described the life cycle of whitebait Galaxias maculatus.

2009. Whitebait Life Cycle Info Board beside Heathcote River, Clarendon Tce, near Opawa Rd Bridge, Christchurch

I walked downriver along Clarendon Tce and passed below Opawa motorway bridge, then a wooden-pile railway bridge, which had a black and white sign:


2009. Clarendon Tce view of Rail & Motorway Bridges over Heathcote River, Christchurch

2009. Heathcote River Footbridge, Clarendon Tce, Christchurch

2009. Grey Gulls, Heathcote River Footbridge, Clarendon Tce, Christchurch

I passed a footbridge over Heathcote River, with a line of grey gulls perched on the handrail. I greeted two boys going fishing. At the end of Clarendon Tce, Heathcote River bent towards the Pacific. On the opposite bend I saw old Christchurch Quay by Ferry Rd.

2009. Heathcote River, Clarendon Tce, Christchurch

I crossed Radley St by Radley St Bridge. Across the bridge, I saw a Mobil service station on Ferry Rd. Beyond the bridge, on grassy, willowy riverside, I saw a derelict warehouse, walls covered in graffiti. A wall sign stated:


I walked a dirt path beside Heathcote River, the river on my left and backs of Heathcote St businesses across the river. A graffiti artist had changed a warehouse sign from NO PARKING to NO BARKING. House fences on my right were graffiti scrawled, even some willow trees graffiti sprayed. Turbid water & reeds were polluted: rotting clothes, paper, spray cans, a sunken TV. Clean, green NZ huh? Ducks didn't mind the dirty water.

2009. Radley Park by Heathcote River view of Port Hills, Christchurch

2009. Radley Park view near Woolston Barrage, Heathcote River, Christchurch

Further on, Radley Park had tarsealed footpaths and distant views of Castle Rock, The Tors, Witch Hill in the Port Hills.

I stood on a footbridge and coolpixed Woolston Barrage, with Heathcote River flowing along Woolston Loop. Beyond Woolston Barrage (completed 1993) was Woolston Cut (completed 1986) a wide canal cutting across the loop, controlling tidal and flood waters.

Further downriver, Woolston Cut received waters from Woolston Loop again, continuing down Heathcote River to Avon-Heathcote Estuary. Graffiti polluted two Radley Park info boards: FLOOD PRONE HEATHCOTE and WHARVES ON THE HEATHCOTE RIVER.

2009. Woolston Barrage & Port Hills view from Heathcote River Footbridge, Radley Park, Christchurch

2009. Woolston Barrage Footbridge: start of upriver Heathcote Loop ~ aka Woolston Loop, Christchurch

I crossed a footbridge over the start of Woolston Loop, where water was scummy and turbid. I walked the tarsealed footpath by Woolston Cut, crossed Rutherford St Bridge (completed 1986) and continued to the end of Woolston Cut, where Woolston Loop downriver waters returned to the original Heathcote River course.

A padlocked steel gate with spikes on top stopped me following the south riverbank towards Heathcote River Bridge, where the road went towards Lyttelton Tunnel.

2009. Downriver Woolston Cut & Port Hills, Christchurch

2009. Heathcote River north bank view below Woolston Cut of Heathcote Valley, Horotane Valley & Avoca Valley, Port Hills, Christchurch

I backtracked a bit, crossed the footbridge over Woolston Cut and walked the north bank to Heathcote River bridge. Along the way I watched a shag diving and fishing and had views of Heathcote Valley, Horotane Valley and Avoca Valley in the Port Hills.

2009. North Bank Woolston Cut view to downriver end of Woolston Loop & Port Hills, Christchurch

2009. North Bank Woolston Cut downriver view of Port Hills, Christchurch

2009. North Bank Woolston Cut upriver view towards Woolston Barrage, Heathcote River, Christchurch

I returned upriver following the north bank along a tarsealed footpath by Woolston Cut. I passed Woolston Barrage again. Nearby I found a concrete bollard with a bronze strip stating:

est 1857
Local and imported timber and coal were landed here.

2009. Union Wharf & Footbridge, Heathcote River North Bank, Christchurch

Further on, beside a grassy track another concrete bollard with bronze strip:

est c. 1863
Limestone landed here was burnt in kilns for use by tanners and brickworks.

2009. Langdowns Wharf, Heathcote River North Bank, Christchurch

2009. Graffiti, Heathcote St business, Heathcote River North Bank, Christchurch

Beside Heathcote River I walked past houses, willows and flax. I crossed a duckboard bridge over a dry stream. I snapped the back of a graffiti-walled business, and found a third concrete bollard, sans bronze strip, smothered by blackberries near Radley St Bridge. Dead grass along Heathcote River bank showed someone had sprayed, not only killing grass, but polluting the water.

2009. Christchurch Quay, Heathcote River, by Ferry Rd, Christchurch

Heathcote River bank went upriver beside noisy Ferry Rd a bit, before bending by two huge poplars and a strawberry tree towards Richardson Tce. On the riverbend, another concrete bollard with bronze strip:

est 1851
Sited well upriver this early wharf landed cargo and settlers' goods.

Before the bollard, a wooden fishing wharf. Near the wharf, an info board:


Sailing vessels brought cargo and settlers' belongings as far as this point - Christchurch Quay, also known as Radley Wharf.

The settlers trudged over the Bridle Path from Lyttelton, crossed the river at Ferrymead and walked along the muddy pot-holed Ferry Road to reach town.

Carrying goods up the river was costly. At first freight charges from Lyttelton to Christchurch Quay were almost as much as from London to Lyttelton.

In later years, the railway replaced the river for transport, because of cost, speed, and the dangers to craft of crossing the shifting Sumner Bar."

2009. Christchurch Quay Info Board, Heathcote River, by Ferry Rd / Richardson Tce cnr, Christchurch

2009. Heathcote River, Richardson Tce, Christchurch

2009. Heathcote River, Richardson Tce, Christchurch

I walked upriver along Richardson Tce, parallel to Clarendon Tce, back to my car. Walk time: 2.5 hours, incl coolpix stops.

2009. Clarendon Tce, Heathcote River, Road & Motorway Bridges, Richardson Tce, Christchurch

2009. Ngai Tahi Maori swamp fishing Info Board beside Opawaho River, aka Heathcote River, Christchurch

Near the rail and motorway bridges, I read a graffiti- sprayed info board, OUTPOST IN THE SWAMP, describing ancient Ngai Tahu Maori trekking between Kaiapoi and Rapaki, and stopping by Opawaho River to fish for eels and lampreys, and paddle their flax canoes in the swamp.

2009. Aynsley Tce, Heathcote River, other side of Opawa Rd Bridge near Clarendon Tce, Christchurch

Coda: Aynsley Tce, Clarendon Tce, Richardson Tce & Ferry Rd were damaged by liquefaction, cracks & slumping during the 2010-2011 quakes. During that time I drove my son daily to Christchurch Polytech near Richardson Tce, so I knew every quake crack, bump, lump, pothole & quake trashed bldg along Richardson Tce & Ferry Rd.

Content & pics Copyright Mark JS Esslemont.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

2009. Riverlaw Tce - Aynsley Tce Walkway

One Sunday afternoon I parked my car by Tennyson St Bridge, as I wanted to walk Riverlaw Tce and Aynsley Tce along a Heathcote River meander. My Christchurch city map showed the meander as a reverse S.

2009. Merchiston Garden Sign, Riverlaw Tce beside Heathcote River, Christchurch

I walked downriver along Riverlaw Tce past birches, poplars and willows. I passed St. Martins Seventh Day Adventist Church. Further on, I read visitors instructions on a green "MURCHISTON is a PRIVATE GARDEN" sign.

A man and his dog walked by. A girl in black jogged by. At that point Heathcote River was narrow and curved towards Wilsons Rd.

2009. Riverlaw Tce, Heathcote River, Eastern Tce, near Wilsons Rd Bridge, Christchurch

At Wilsons Rd Bridge I watched a mother riding her bike, with a towbar pulling her infant on a bike, with an older child following on another bike. Beyond Wilsons Rd Bridge on the opposite bank, I saw four cyclists pedalling upriver by Eastern Tce.

Near the end of Riverlaw Tce I turned left along a tarsealed track, and walked past St Martins Rd Bridge where Heathcote River widened.

2009. Heathcote River, Metal Footbridge, Derret Pl by Riverlaw Tce, Christchurch

2009. Eastern Tce, Heathcote River, Riverlaw Tce, Christchurch

By a wide bend in the river, I passed a metal footbridge by Derrett Pl. I passed Beckford Rd Bridge and a wooden footbridge by Armstrong Ave. In the distance I glimpsed a pine-forested gorge and a bike track up Mount Vernon Reserve in the Port Hills.

2009. Heathcote River, Riverlaw Tce, Christchurch

2009. Armstrong Ave by Heathcote River: View of Mount Vernon Reserve Gorge, Port Hills

2009. Hansen Park, Heathcote River, Riverlaw Tce, Christchurch

I crossed a duckboard bridge over a tributary and passed many ducks below willows on the grassy riverbank, with houses on my right and Hansen Park across Heathcote River on my left.

I crossed another duckboard bridge, and walked King George V Reserve along a gravel path through native bush plantings with a wooden deck on my left, and riverside houses on my right.

I emerged from the gravel path at Aynsley Tce where Heathcote River widened more.

2009. Hansen Park, Heathcote River, end of Riverlaw Tce, Christchurch

2009. Hansen Park, Heathcote River, Private Land between Riverlaw Tce & Aynsley Tce, Christchurch

2009. Heathcote River, near start of Aynsley Tce & King George V Reserve, Christchurch

I passed a concrete footbridge where a kayaker paddled by. I was irritated by traffic noise on Aynsley Tce. On the opposite bank I saw a teenager on a Vespa spinning on grass, impressing his mates. A hoon car with loud exhaust roared off, irritating me. No cops walking a beat.

2009. Hansen Park, Heathcote River, Aynsley Tce, Christchurch

2009. Heathcote River, Aynsley Tce, Christchurch

2009. Aynsley Tce Info Board about Aynsley Family, Christchurch

By Garlands Rd I passed another wooden footbridge, read an info board about the Aynsley family, examined a dead grey gull on the riverbank, then I watched a family feed ducks on the opposite bank by Opawa Children's Library.

2009. Heathcote River by Opawa Childrens Library, Christchurch

I crossed Opawa Rd Bridge and began my walk upriver to my car. Footbridge signs I passed forbade motorbikes. Never mind the Vespa's shenanigans.

2009. Heathcote River & Aynsley Tce view from Opawa Rd Bridge. Port Hills backdrop

In a pointillists painting, I ambled along Louisson Pl past Opawa School, enjoying the golden glow of late afternoon sun on the river, quilts of yellow and red autumn leaves floating by. Big hillside houses above Aynsley Tce reflected sunlight. (Some would be damaged in the 04.09.10 and 22.02.11 quakes).

I dawdled along a shared tarsealed track with bikers by Hansen Park. Along the way I greeted dogs walking their owners, carrying plastic poop bags. Beyond Hansen Park, I passed Rudolf Steiner School and continued along Fifield Tce.

2009. King George V Reserve & Heathcote River by Hansen Park track, Christchurch

Between St Martins Rd Bridge and Wilsons Rd Bridge, I dawdled a dirt path and kicked my way through poplar leaf-litter. I squeezed past two pairs of legs, while ladies chatted on a riverside bench.

2009. Heathcote River, Wilsons Rd Bridge. Witch Hill, Port Hills backdrop

Back at Wilsons Rd Bridge, I drank my CocaCola and snapped Witch Hill in the distance on the Port Hills. I returned to my car via Eastern Tce. Walk time: 2 hours 25 minutes.

Content & pics Copyright Mark JS Esslemont.