Inner Estuary and Motueka Cemetry Walk
[Narrative and photos by Shirley Frater]
This is a gentle walk, roughly 30 minutes to stroll, that has good access for wheelchairs and children's buggies. Dogs should be on leads. The area's main features are great scenes (different but equally interesting with the tide in or out) and the opportunity to spot a variety birds. There are more wading birds at half or low tide in the estuary. The walk is sheltered from the winds in most places.
Start the walk by the Saltwater bridge, opposite and just seaward of the Recreational Centre entrance. Using the signposted path, follow the estuary around past the back of the Cemetery. Listen for the Tuis when the Banksias are in flower and keep an eye out for kingfishers on logs if the tide is in.
Walking through the recently planted native trees and shrubs, check out for Monarch butterflies on the flowering Hebes. The Kowhai trees flowers early in August.
As the path opens out, full views of the western rangers are dominated by Mount Arthur and Mount Campbell, snow covered in winter and dark blue in summer. It's a very peaceful setting, well away from urban activities and any need to rush.
The track joins York Park, where you may continue on or leave and return by Trewavas Street to Old Wharf Road. Continue on into York Park to admire the Pa Harakeke (the specially planted varieties of flax) and other native shrubs. There are a few picnic tables and seats near the shoreline, some in the shade and some in the sun. There's plenty of space for children to amuse themselves.
Relaxing or having a snack, it's a peaceful place to see the birds, water patterns and the hills and an easy place to escape to if you have 30 minutes or an hour - much less if it's a brisk walk and no gazing that you're after. Cyclists may also use the paths - just make sure you take it slowly and watch out for walkers.
You can return the way you came, or take a detour along the Cemetery roadway and admire the Rhododendrons and their spring flowers.
The walkway can connect to other adjacent paths around the estuary or from the Thorps Bush / Recreation Centre walkway beside Goodman Park. You can also go on to other lovely walks and parks in the area (including the Inlet Walkway, Adopt-a-Plot, and Sanctuary Garden). This area is fast becoming one of Motueka's best nature areas and a source of pride for residents who have developed and maintained them.
If you have a favourite thing you like to do - a walking place, attraction, quiet spot - so the rest of us can check it out and enjoy it too, please tell us about it here.