Adventure Playground

I should probably start at the top here.  Three weeks ago, we moved from our temporary lodgings in Petone to a longer term let in Belmont, one of the suburbs clinging to the Western Hills of the Hutt Valley.  Although lacking the convenience of Petone with all its shops and public transport, we have a north-facing house with a fully fenced garden, great for Anita to play in while I sit on the deck drinking tea.

Being a whole new area, we have another set of surroundings to familiarise ourselves with.  Running the length of the hills is the 3500 hectare Belmont Regional Park, with picnic areas and campsites.  The terrain varies, with bush-clad valleys, farmland, native forest and tussocky grasslands.  With all this, there’s no shortage of somewhere for a weekend walk.  However, with a toddler, activities without so much climbing are better!  Looking at the street map of the area, I noticed a playground on the next road over, with a pathway cutting out a long walk to where the two roads join.  Today, Anita and I wandered up, and found the shortcut to be through a “scenic reserve”.  Amidst the suburban surroundings, there is a small amount of forest, and the path takes you through the middle of it.  Even just two minutes in all sight of houses is lost, and the only sound is New Zealand’s ever present birdsong.  A couple of small streams cross the path, and it’s really quite idyllic.  It’s not a very quick shortcut though, as the path winds, falls and climbs across the small valley that seperates the two roads.  With todays sunny weather we were in no hurry though.

Luckily, the path led directly to the playground I’d been looking for, and Anita happily played for some time, and demanded ever higher pushing on the swings.  I couldn’t let her tire out completely, as we still had to walk home!


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