Monday, September 21, 2009

2009. Brooklands Lagoon and Styx River Mouth, Christchurch

2009. Spencerville, Lower Styx Road turnoff to Spencer Park right

2009. Spencer Park Sign, Spencerville, Christchurch

As I wanted to walk northwards along the west side of Brooklands Lagoon to Styx River mouth, I drove along Lower Styx Road to Spencerville, turned right into Heyders Road, and parked my car below macrocarpas at Seafield Park, opposite Spencer Park entrance.

2009. Spencer Park Map

2009. Seafield Park Sign opposite Spencer Park entrance

2009. Picnic Table northwards view of Brooklands Lagoon

2009. Brooklands Lagoon Map

2009. Brooklands Lagoon Info Board

2009. Wildlife Park Sign, Seafield Park, Spencerville

2009. Bird Viewing Platform, south-west end Brooklands Lagoon

At the start of Seafield Park and its Wildlife Park, I coolpixed info boards. While our sons grew up in Christchurch, we'd visited the Wildlife Park to see aviary birds and kune kune pigs.

2009. Direction Sign, Brooklands Lagoon Walk, Seafield Park

2009. Flax, south-west end Brooklands Lagoon

2009. Duckboards, Brooklands Lagoon Walk, South-West Bank

By Brooklands Lagoon, I looked at a bird watching platform, and walked northwards past the Adrenalin Forest for those paying to climb pines. I strolled sandy Brooklands Lagoon Walk past pines, poplars, flax, native bush plantings, sedges and sea rushes, Juncus maritimus. (Later renamed Juncus krausii). I passed a wooden bench and crossed duckboards over a dry ditch by pines, spring green willows, pittosporums and cabbage trees.

2009. Brooklands Lagoon Walk, bench low tide, eastern view of Brooklands Lagoon

2009. Brooklands Lagoon Walk: Marsh Ribbonwoods, Meadows & Sea Rushes, Juncus krausii

2009. Brooklands Lagoon Walk: Marsh Ribbonwood Flowers, Plagianthus divaricatus

2009. Brooklands Lagoon Walk: Bird Hide on grassy dune

I passed two more wooden benches overlooking low tide Brooklands Lagoon. I saw salt marsh sedges, and sea rushes, and marsh ribbonwoods, Plagianthus divaricatus, with millions of tiny yellow flowers, like beads on divaricating twigs, before spring leaves sprouted.

2009. Bird Hide Steps, Brooklands Lagoon Walk

2009. Brooklands Lagoon Bird Hide, southern view of Bottle Lake Forest

2009. Brooklands Lagoon Bird Hide, western view of Cattle Paddock

2009. Bird Hide low tide, north-eastern view of Brooklands Lagoon

2009. Bird Hide low tide, southern view of Brooklands Lagoon

2009. Bird Hide low tide, eastern view of Brooklands Lagoon

2009. Brooklands Lagoon low tide, north-eastern view, seen from Bird Hide

2009. Brooklands Lagoon Walk, Bird Hide & southern Bottle Lake Forest

By a lagoon meadow I passed a foraging white faced heron. At the bird hide on a grassy dune top, I watched a pied stilt in the water and three pukekos foraging in meadow grass. I saw few birds, as it was early afternoon with a chilly north-easterly wind. Not a cloud in the sky.

2009. Wetland Boardwalk, Brooklands Lagoon Walk

2009. Boardwalk, eastern view of Brooklands Lagoon Salt Marsh

Northwards beyond the hide, I passed a farm gate, dodged horse dung, and scuffed my way through horse hoof prints on the shared track, which had muddy ditches and puddles near lagoon waters.

On a boardwalk above slimy, still waters I looked at marsh ribbonwoods, sedges and flax. The shared horse / walking track forked, with pink signs directing horses left to horse paddocks and new Brooklands houses by pines, and blue signs directing walkers right along Brooklands Lagoon bank.

2009. Brooklands Lagoon Walk, Seafield Park Horse Paddock

2009. Brooklands Lagoon Walk, southern view of Bottle Lake Forest & distant Port Hills

By two more wooden benches with their backs to Brooklands Lagoon, I sat on one bench with my back to the Pacific wind and scoffed my lunch: apple, CocaCola, salami. I looked at Brooklands pines, and looked southwards to Bottle Lake pines, and beyond to distant Port Hills and Banks Peninsula.

I watched two Australian harriers flapping - soaring - flapping... into the nor-easter, one high, one low over mud flats: hunting. Both harriers swooped and vanished into sea rushes in the middle of Brooklands Lagoon.

2009. Brooklands Lagoon Walk, Bench & Lookout Sign

2009. Dune Lookout south-eastern view, low tide Brooklands Lagoon. Port Hills backdrop

2009. Dune Lookout Bush, eastern view Brooklands Lagoon

2009. Dune Lookout, eastern view Brooklands Lagoon

2009. Dune Lookout, north-eastern Brooklands Lagoon

2009. Dune Lookout, northern Salt Marsh, Brooklands Lagoon

2009. Dune Lookout, Brooklands Lagoon Walk

2009. Picnic Tables near Dune Lookout, Brooklands Lagoon Walk

The track circled grassy dunes to a Lookout picnic table on top. Beyond the Lookout, I saw two more picnic tables near trees. Further on, I passed another picnic table and two small wooden benches.

2009. Barkers Brook, Brooklands Lagoon

2009. Horse Track / Brooklands Lagoon Walk Fork

2009. Horse Track Sign, Brooklands Lagoon Walk

By Barkers Brook culvert, wetland water trickled into Brooklands Lagoon. The shared track forked again with horses directed left to Brooklands housing, and walkers directed right along Brooklands Lagoon bank.

2009. Housing / Wetland Development, Brooklands: no new housing in recession

On my left I passed a Brooklands / wetland new housing development, with native plantings on a graded dune, new roads and drains, but no houses due to the recession.

2009. Brooklands Lagoon Walk low tide, north-eastern view of Salt Marsh, Brooklands Lagoon

2009. Brooklands Lagoon, low tide Mudflats, north-eastern view of Pine Shelter Belt

2009. Brooklands Lagoon, Salt Marsh low tide, south-eastern view. Banks Peninsula backdrop

2009. Brooklands Lagoon, Salt Marsh Creek western view, Macrocarpas & Brooklands House

2009. Salt Marsh Creek House, south-eastern view Brooklands Lagoon

As it was still low tide, I left the track and crossed a slippery mudflat to dune pines near Styx River mouth. On the way, I walked through sea rushes and dodged mudflat snails. Crabs scuttled to their mud holes when I approached.

2009. Brooklands Lagoon Whitebaiters, near Styx River Mouth

2009. No Vehicle Access, Brooklands Lagoon Walk, Harbour Road, Brooklands

2009. Brooklands Lagoon Walk Sign, Harbour Road, Brooklands

2009. Maori Carving on Garage Lintel, Harbour Road, Brooklands

Through pines I crossed the dune, and watched two whitebaiters tending their set-nets in Brooklands Lagoon. Recrossing the grassy dune, I rejoined the walkway, which ended by Harbour Road.

At the last house, I coolpixed a Maori carving on a garage lintel. I squelched through mud to Styx River mouth, my jandals becoming so sludged, it was easier walking bare feet.

2009. Whitebaiter, Styx River Mouth, Brooklands Lagoon

2009. Whitebaiter Boat, Styx River Mouth, Brooklands Lagoon

2009. Styx River Mouth, Brooklands Lagoon

I watched more whitebaiters tending their set-nets. One man stood by his SUV parked near the boatramp, and watched his green set-net in Styx River. I coolpixed two more whitebaiters in wetsuits hauling their set-nets from Styx River to their SUV. A whitebaiter boat chugged upstream to the boat ramp doing 5 knots. Several cars were parked by the boat ramp, viewing the show.

2009. Warning Signs, Styx River Mouth, Brooklands Lagoon

2009. Styx River Mouth, Boat Ramp Rule Board, Brooklands Lagoon

2009. Blue Lagoon Drive / Harbour Road Corner, Brooklands

I looked at Waimakariri River & Brooklands Lagoon boat rules board, and read the noticeboard. My dawdle from Spencer Park to Styx River mouth took me 2 hours. My return was faster: 1 hour. I returned via new housing on Blue Lagoon Drive.

2009. Brooklands Lagoon Walk, northern dune view: Salt Marsh & Pine Shelterbelt, Brooklands

Back on Brooklands Lagoon Walk, southwards, as it was late afternoon, I saw more birdlife: ducks, gulls, white faced herons and many pukekos. I saw two horse riders, and three walkers passed me too. The nor-easter and cloudless, sunny sky left my face wind-burnt, despite my windcheater hood.

2009. Rubbish Free Parks Sign, Seafield Park, Spencerville

Coda: With all that Brooklands Lagoon, Styx River, Waimakariri River water, Spencerville and Brooklands were badly damaged by 2010-2011 quakes.

Content & pics Copyright Mark JS Esslemont.


Mark JS Esslemont said...

Responded to an email query about pics of the Seafield subdivision, Brooklands Lagoon. The subdivision area was apparently a mess before subdivision cleanup.

Anonymous said...

I was looking for Brooklands images for use in part of a historical display on a celebration day for Brooklands. I came across your blog and think its great. Would you be willing to share it? See website created for our event under

regards, Audrey

Mark JS Esslemont said...

Hi Audrey. Please email me (address at top of blog post)& let me know what pic(s) you want. Regards.

Laura A said...

Thank you for the wonderful Blog on Brooklands. It would be wonderful to see a new blog post with how it is now. Although it may be a tad depressing, only beautiful thing now is the lush nature and wildlife.

Have plenty of images of damaged, demolished homes. The garage you mentioned was a Bed and Breakfast. That had beautiful maori carvings etc, I have a couple of images of this place too.

Again thank you I will be popping this blog into our favourites for reference.