A bit of everything at Makara - beach, farm, military history and wild weather. It is difficult to avoid beachcombing through driftwood , seaweed and paua shell shrapnel on the return journey.
Some sections of the track are closed for lambing between 1st August and 1st October.
Not a walk for a windy day.
The track starts from the west end of Makara Beach at the end of Makara Beach Road.
There are toilets at Makara Beach.
For the first 10 minutes the track follows the coast until it reaches a signpost. From here the track is marked with occasional yellow-banded posts. Heading left up the hill through clumps of native grasses to the gun emplacement takes approximately 40 minutes. The track is very steep until it meets the ridgetop, from where it undulates along the ridge following the fenceline. Watch for severe wind gusts, which ride up the sheer cliffs to your right.
The track follows marker posts for 10 minutes before dropping down a signposted disused metalled road through a gully. This takes 30 minutes and comes out at Opua Bay. This inland section of the walk is closed for lambing between 1st August and 1st October. Dogs are not permitted on this part of the walkway.
Follow the rocky coastline back to Makara (1½ hours). The well-trodden track at the top of the beach makes travelling over the loose rocks and pebbles easier. The second headland after 1¼ hours requires boulder hopping.
White-fronted terns, kingfishers, black shags, New Zealand pipits and the ubiquitous black backed and red billed gulls provide company on the rocky shores.
For the 73rd Heavy Battery under the 10th Coast Regiment, this site was an obvious choice for siting gun emplacements. On clear days, there are extensive views north, reaching past Mana Island. The northern entrance to Cook Straight has unencumbered views to the Marlborough Sounds and no advancing enemy craft could find a concealed route to navigate. Together with the defences positioned at Te Kopahou, the entrance to Wellington Harbour was secure from the threat of Japanese invasion.
Although the two 6 inch guns were manned for July 1941 to February 1943, they were never fired in battle. They were removed in June 1944, but the structures associated with the emplacements are still intact. The pedestals they sat on still occupy the centre of the semi-circular opening and the foundations of the other service buildings a little inland from the track are worth exploring.
North Island ▷ Wellington Region ▷ Karori
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