We both had the weekend off after arriving in southern Hawkes Bay, and it was a nice one. We returned to Te Mata Park and walked the Giant Circuit.
We followed the park website‘s recommendation that we walk the Giant Circuit in a counter-clockwise direction, unlike all of the other signposted walks in the park.
Te Mata Park is very accessible. It’s a large 99 hectare (about 245 acres) park with 5 well marked walks. It has an epic landscape, with forests and cliffs and great views of southern Hawkes Bay. The best views are from Te Mata Peak, the highest point in the park at 399 meters (about 436 yards)). The landscape demands that I shoot lots of panoramas, both horizontal and vertical.
I knew that we’d pass a grove of giant redwoods, and I thought we’d arrived when we reached the grove shown above. A plaque informed us that this grove was planted in 1974. The Giant Redwoods grove was planted in the 1930s. As I’ve come to realize, past residents of southern Hawkes Bay loved planting redwood trees.
Giant Circuit climbs steeply out of grove and valley to the top of the surrounding cliffs.
The track then follows the ridge along the western border of the park.
The redwoods in the Big Redwoods grove are a lot larger than the ones we saw earlier. The grove itself is larger too. There’s a 3rd redwood planting somewhere in Te Mata Park.
The track continues through a beautiful valley below some picturesque cliffs. This valley extends along most of the southern end of Te Mata Park. On the left, in the pic below, is one end of the ‘Hogs Back’ ridge whose opposite end is Te Mata Peak. The Rongakako Trail follows the top of this ridge.
The cliffs of Te Mata Park are composed of erosion-resistant limestone. Originally deposited in horizontal layers on the seabed, they were “tilted and bowed upward by the geological forces of the Pacific and Australian tectonic plates. The features of Te Mata Park are a result of the earthquake fault which runs from Wellington in the south, through the Ruahine ranges to Hawke’s Bay”.
At the end of the ridge above a view opens up of the farmland of the Tuki Tuki region south of the park.
The ‘Snakes & Ladders’ section of track is fairly new, and very steep. It was already in shadow on this winter late afternoon.
We took it slow, and enjoyed the improving view as we climbed.
The pic below is a comfortable walk away from the Te Mata Peak car park, still looking over Tuki Tuki.
There are many more pictures from the top of Te Mata Peak in my blog post on my first visit.
Walking the landscape between Te Mata Peak and the Saddle Lookout provides new angles on familiar landscapes.
This dog made me a bit nervous, coming up beside me as I stood near the edge shooting this panorama. He ignored me, and took in the view before continuing on his way.
A last stretch of forest took us away from the road.
When we emerged from the trees everything was painting in the golden light of early evening.
From there it’s a short walk back to the Main Games Car Park.
Te Mata Park is an impressive place. I look forward to exploring more of it. I think I need to get a mountain bike so that I can explore the many trails dedicated to bikes.
Please enjoy the full gallery of 31 pictures below. To view on imgur click here.