A beautiful place close to Porirua, Battle Hill Farm Forest Park contains 500 hectares of farmland and native forest, with a number of tracks running through it. I visited on a stunning day in September 2021, catching the morning light walking the 7.5km Transmission Gully – Puketiro Loop.
The ranger’s office is in an attractive homestead dating from 1908. The park gets it name as the site of one of the last battles of the New Zealand Wars in 1848.
The farm dates from 1860 and is still home to sheep and cattle, though now run by Greater Wellington Regional Council. The red barns were striking.
There are a number of tracks around the farm, but I took the one crossing it toward the Puketiro Forest.
Before reaching it though the track passes underneath the new SH1 Transmission Gully. It took six attempts but it finally opened in March 2022, several years late and well over budget. I walked the track seven months earlier though so it was eerily quiet.
After crossing underneath the motorway a stream a wide forestry track heads steadily uphill through dense, atmospheric forest.
It opens up toward the top.
A section of the forest has been cleared at the top, offering panoramic views.
Mana Island could be seen in the distance.
As could the beautiful Pāuatahanui inlet by Poirura.
A well placed bench was the ideal spot for an early lunch before heading back down the hillside, following a different track to the way up.
There was more sun dappled forest, easy and scenic walking down the forestry track.
Looking back I could see the clearing in the forest where I sat and had lunch and enjoyed the view.
I returned to the red barn, noticing this unusual sign!