Sunday, May 17, 2009
2009. Heathcote River Estuary Circuit, Christchurch
2009. Tunnel Road over Heathcote Bridge up Heathcote Valley, Port Hills, Christchurch
I parked my car in Charlesworth Street near Ferry Road, as I wanted to walk around Heathcote River Estuary. I walked upriver along Heathcote River towpath past old Heathcote Wharf, over a creek footbridge, then crossed Heathcote Bridge, which took busy traffic along Tunnel Road up Heathcote Valley, Christchurch.
2009. Heathcote Estuary Wetlands near Heathcote Bridge, Heathcote Valley, Christchurch
I walked downriver beside Heathcote River south bank, along a muddy vehicle track in Heathcote River Reserve. Horse hoofprints, MTB tracks and puddles sludged the track. Native plantings behind a fence obscured Heathcote River on my left, but scrubby wetland on my right with a grand view of Heathcote Valley, Horotane Valley and Avoca Valley, Port Hills made the mud bearable.
2009. Tunnel Road on right going towards Heathcote Valley left. Horotane Valley middle, Avoca Valley right, Port Hills, Christchurch
By a pine shelterbelt the road track became an MTB shared gravel track in Heathcote Valley Heritage Park, with soggy farmlands going up Heathcote Valley. Tunnel Road traffic noise was irritating, but breaks in the pine shelterbelt enabled me to explore the riverbank, with views to the towpath on the opposite north bank, and views downriver towards Saint Andrews Hill suburb.
2009. Heathcote River Estuary downriver view towards Saint Andrews Hill, Port Hills, Christchurch. The brand new block of flats, middle left, was destroyed in the 22.02.11 quake & demolished
At one pine break I saw two middle-aged lesbians in amorous clinch, which they converted to vigorous stick throwing for their dog when they spotted me. The water-frolicking dog enjoyed their sudden attention. Another woman walking her dog passed me in pine tree freedom.
2009. Heathcote River Estuary downriver view towards Devil's Elbow & St Andrews Hill, Christchurch
2009. Heathcote River Estuary Salt Marsh in Devil's Elbow, Christchurch
I continued my riparian stroll, enjoying river views of Devil's Elbow salt marshes, and valley views. I crossed a creek tributary by Heathcote River Devil's Elbow, and passed under two rows of electric pylons marching up to Avoca Valley.
2009. Pylons, south bank Heathcote River Estuary, marching towards, Horotane Valley & Avoca Valley, Port Hills, Christchurch
2009. South-eastwards view over Heathcote River Estuary Salt Marsh towards Ferrymead & Heathcote Valley, Christchurch
2009. looking west over Soggy Paddocks beside south bank of Heathcote River Estuary, Christchurch
2009. Heathcote River Estuary south bank Wetland. Horotane Valley & Avoca Valley, Port Hills backdrop
2009. White Faced Heron, Heathcote River Estuary, Christchurch
Pine trees petered out by waterlogged horse paddocks beside Heathcote Estuary. The gravel track continued across a small causeway towards Ferrymead Golf Course on my right, and Heathcote Estuary salt marshes on my left.
I looked back at the big bend downriver of Devil's Elbow, and enjoyed the play of sunlight across salt marsh waters. I watched a white faced heron wading in the shallows, looking for prey. Two chatty girls on MTBs pedalled past below Ferrymead Golf Course. A bloke riding an MTB also rumbled past in the opposite direction.
2009. Northwards view of Heathcote River Estuary Salt Marsh, Christchurch
2009. Eastwards view of Heathcote River Estuary Salt Marsh, Christchurch
2009. Heathcote River Estuary Salt Marsh near Ferrymead. St Andrews Hill backdrop, Christchurch
2009. Ferrymead Golf Course near Heathcote River Estuary. Heathcote Valley, Horotane Valley & Avoca Valley backdrop, Christchurch
2009. Heathcote River Big Bend after Devil's Elbow near Ferrymead, Christchurch
2009. Heathcote River Last Big Bend by Ferrymead. St Andrews Hill backdrop, Christchurch
2009. Heathcote River Estuary Salt Marsh near Ferrymead Park, Christchurch
2009. Heathcote River Estuary Salt Marsh by Ferrymead Park Railway, Christchurch
I crossed another tributary creek at Ferrymead Golf Course entrance, and passed two gates too. I looked at the last big bend on Heathcote Estuary as it flowed past Ferrymead. I crossed Ferrymead Park railway over another creek. There were not one, but three red, black and cream plastic signs fastened to poles stating:
2009. Ferrymead Park Sign by Heathcote River Estuary, Christchurch
2009. Ferrymead Park Railway. Horotane Valley backdrop, Christchurch
2009. Ferrymead Tram near Heathcote River Estuary, Christchurch
Ferrymead Park was chasing tourist dollars, but needed to inspire local goodwill, as it lost mine the moment I read those signs. As I wanted to follow Heathcote Estuary, a short walkway through Ferrymead Park would've got me through asap. Traffic lights by the operating tram track led me along a grotty tarsealed road to Ferrymead Park reception office, where a board stated:
2009. Ferrymead Park Reception. Horatane Valley backdrop, Christchurch
2009. Maori Pa, Ferrymead Park. St Andrews Hill backdrop, Christchurch
2009. Maori Pa beyond Ferrymead Tramway. Horotane Valley & Avoca Valley backdrop, Christchurch
2009. Ferrymead Station by Heathcote River. Horotane Valley & Avoca Valley backdrop, Christchurch
2009. Railway at Ferrymead Wharf by Heathcote River, Christchurch
Beside the tarsealed road on my left I passed a pseudo Maori Pa, all logs and rustic huts on a pseudo hill, and a pseudo wetland across the road with an "algal bloom" warning sign beside the water.
Tired of Sunday afternoon traffic on the tarsealed road, I walked beside a tram track past the Maori Pa to Rivermead Park Station and Wharf beside Heathcote Estuary. I saw old buses, trams and a trolley bus by sheds, and watched tourists riding a tram from the TRAM STOP towards more thrills in Ferrymead Park.
2009. Working Tram, Ferrymead Tram Stop by Heathcote River. Horotane Valley backdrop, Christchurch
2009. Old Tram, Ferrymead Tramway by Heathcote River. Horotane Valley backdrop, Christchurch.
I walked past Ferrymead Printery and out Ferrymead Park gate, where a blue and white sign stated:
FERRYMEAD HISTORICAL SOCIETY INC &
HERITAGE TRAMWAYS TRUST
2009. Ferrymead Park Gate, Ferrymead Terrace by Heathcote River, Christchurch
I walked down Ferrymead Terrace towards Ferrymead Bridge beside pseudo, broad-gauge railway tracks, past old Ferrymead House on Heathcote Estuary bank by the old Ferry Landing Site. On a rock beside the road a black granite plaque stated:
NEW ZEALAND'S FIRST RAILWAY
THIS STONE MARKS THE SITE OF FERRYMEAD
WHARF AND RAILWAY STATION
THE PROVINCIAL BROAD GAUGE RAILWAY
STARTED HERE FOR CHRISTCHURCH
IN THE YEAR 1863
CANTERBURY PILGRIMS & EARLY SETTLERS ASSN.
2009. New Zealand's First Railway Memorial, Ferrymead Terrace by Heathcote River, Christchurch
2009. Ferrymead Terrace & Heathcote River near Ferrymead Bridge. Heathcote Valley, Horotane Valley & Avoca Valley backdrop, Christchurch
Below a gum tree, I watched a Maori man fishing the incoming tide by Ferrymead Bridge. On a board by the bridge I read a RESOURCE MANAGEMENT ACT 1991 Application for a Resource Consent Notice about dredging Heathcote Estuary over the next 35 years, as Heathcote Estuary had silted up.
2009. Heathcote River near Ferrymead Bridge. Ferrymead House on left. Horotane Valley & Avoca Valley backdrop, Christchurch
2009. Heathcote River entering Avon-Heathcote Estuary by Ferrymead Bridge, Christchurch
2009. Resource Consent Application Notice for dredging by Ferrymead Bridge, Christchurch
2009. Ferrymead Bridge view of Heathcote River, Heathcote Valley & Horotane Valley, Christchurch
I stood on Ferrymead Bridge and watched the Pacific wheezing, snapped upriver Coolpix, then returned to my car on the north bank via lower Heathcote River towpath. Several late afternoon MTBs passed me on my return stroll.
The Heathcote River Estuary circuit took me 2 hours 15 minutes.
Coda: Ferrymead Bridge was damaged in the 2010-2011 quakes. By 2014 it was still undergoing repairs. During quakes, hillside & coastal suburbs beyond Ferrymead Bridge were cut off. Quake damaged roads were parlous for years. Sewage & water pipes crossing Heathcote Estuary were quake damaged, causing strife in coastal suburbs beyond Ferrymead Bridge.
Content & pics Copyright Mark JS Esslemont.