Feb 08 2017

Portobello, Clarks, Sheppards, McArthny, Varleys Hills

Published by under Trampers

Distance Portobello from car-park: 32 km.

Map of area

8. 8/2/2017. Hikers. Portobello, Sheppards Road, Varleys Hill, Leith Track. M. Pam and Dawn.

Route map, courtesy Ian.

We parked the cars in Allans Beach Road.  33 people set off and 3 people went as far as they could cope and went back to Portobello for lunch.   We walked from Allans Beach Road to Hoopers Inlet and turned into Sheppard Rd where we  had morning tea on side of road.  We then walked along Sheppard Rd turning right at Papanui Inlet Road.   At Parkers property, 150 Papanui Rd, we walked up their driveway to start of track up to Varleys Hill.

Varleys Hill driveway. (Clive pic and caption.)

Quite a steep climb up to top where there was a lot of very large stones forming a circle.   We had lunch there …

Lunch among Varleys Hill biddibids. (Ian pic and caption.)

… and enjoyed  magnificent views of sea and hills.

Adrienne pic.

After lunch we went down through the track (heaps of biddi biddis that we had ben warned about) …

Finding the path. (Clive pic and caption.)

… to Hoopers Inlet Hall, where some group photos were taken.

Obligatory photo at Hoopers Inlet Hall. (Ian pic and caption.)

21 people went back to Portobello via the Leith track and 9 people chose to return walking back via Allans Beach Road.  We arrived back at Portobello at 2.30 where we enjoyed a coffee at the lovely café.   A very enjoyable day. – Dawn

7. 9/3/2016. Trampers. Portobello, Clarks, Sheppards and Varleys Hills. Medium. Leader: -.

Once again we had a very nice day for our tramp around Clarks – Varleys Hill at Portobello. And it was another opportunity to show this area to some who had not been there before.
This is not a long tramp, so the pace for the day was a bit slower than we normally travel at, but it does give time to absorb the scenery.
We had to fill-in a form for Brendon at the first gate, but after discussing this with him over the phone when I was seeking permission, it was no problem, & only took a minute to fill out the necessary bits. We then had morning tea in the normal place by the willows, & made our way up the hill past the “twisted” tree, & through the hard to open gate [ which thankfully was already open] at the top of the hill.

Scene of Portobello from Clarks Hill (Helen pic)

Scene of Portobello from Sheppards Hill (Helen pic)

On reaching Weir Rd. we travelled down here to Papanui Inlet, & along the road to the private driveway leading up to Varleys Hill. Here we stopped to retrieve an information sheet from the letterbox, that the owners had left for us. This sheet describes the work they have carried out, & some history of the property. I will forward this sheet to Ian for possible addition to the website.

Varleys Hill Information Sheet, Page 1

Varleys Hill Information Sheet, Page 1

Varleys Hill Information Sheet, page 2

Varleys Hill Information Sheet, page 2

Some made hard work of the climb up to the top “ring of stone” where we had lunch among the bidi bids !!

Lunch on Varleys (Helen pic)

Lunch on Varleys (Helen pic)

Hoopers Inlet from Varleys Hill (Helen pic)

Hoopers Inlet from Varleys Hill (Helen pic)

Then it was off down the other side of the hill following a very indistinct track, to the turn off through the bush, which leads down to the Hoopers Inlet Hall.
Another lengthy road walk followed, till we reached Leith track end which goes over the hill back to Portobello. We stopped at the top of this before going down to the cars.

Once back at the cars, it was decide to continue the “coffee club” tradition, by calling in at the Macandrew Bay cafe for a chat, before moving off home.

The day was enjoyed by all, & we only had one problem with one member using new boots, & getting a blister on a heel, which was ably seen to by our nursing member.

Walked 9.6km
4km/h
climbed 376mtrs. – Ken.

6. 23/4/2014. Trampers. Portobello, Clarks, Sheppards and Varleys Hills. Medium.
The tramp around Clarks, Varley Hill area is one I have now done quite a few times, but always enjoy, especially when the other members of the party have never been there before, which was the case on this occasion.
The weather was not looking good when I got up in the morning, it was raining gently, but as the day progressed it got somewhat better, & we had a fine day for our walk, with hardly any wind, & mild temperatures. The grass in the farm paddocks was a bit wet, but not too long so we all stayed dry the whole day.
We had morning tea in the willows on the first farm, & lunch at the top of Varleys Hill…

Lunch on Varleys Hill (Ken pic)

Lunch on Varleys Hill (Ken pic)

… in the ring of rocks, after having a good chat with the lady of the property before we climbed up through the bush to the top. Lunch was a bit early at 11: 40, but that gave use the option of getting back to the car early, or just loafing around to fill in the time. As it turned out, we did a bit of both, before we took off down the hill to the Hoopers Inlet Hall. Then it was the lengthy walk around the road to the track leading up & over the hill, back to Portobello, which we reached at about 12:50pm. This allowed us [ the No 2 coffee club ] to stop at MacAndrew Bay for our ‘fix’ & a chat before heading home. – Ken

5. 25/5/2011. Trampers. Portobello, Clarks, Sheppards and Varleys Hills. Medium.

GPS of clockwise-tramped route, courtesy Ken. Portobello, Clarks, Sheppards, Varley Hills and Leith track over saddle back to Portobello.

Looking over to Quarantine Point – again (v. below)

Mount Charles from Weir Road

A break on way

Returning from viewing plaque

Closer look at the letter boxes

4. 16/6/2010. Trampers. Portobello, Clarks, Sheppards and Varleys Hills. Medium. Leader: George

Looking out over Quarantine Point from Clarks Hill

Descent from Varleys Hill ending at Hoopers Inlet Hall

New plaque at Sheppards Road corner

Track sign of route over saddle to Portebello

Still going? Shed in Hereweka Street.

A local told us distant object on hill was a Buddhist Temple

3. 25/3/2009. Trampers. Portobello, Clarks, Sheppards, McArthny and Varleys Hills. Medium. Leaders: George, Lex
A pleasant, mild, windless day with clear views to both sides of the peninsula were ideal for the 6 who set out to conquer Varley’s Hill, etc.  We parked in the centre of Portobello and then followed Harington Pt Rd for a short distance before ascending lush paddocks (with a few good mushrooms) to skirt the slopes of Clarks and Sheppards Hills which provided good views to Port Chalmers at the morning tea stop.
Tea break. Sheppards Hill

Tea Break. Lex, Sabina, Ria, George

We crossed Weir Rd at its summit and headed towards McArthny Hill.  Inadvertent deviation led us to short-circuit the circumnavigation of said hill, (in other words, we took a shortcut) and leader George directed our paths east around the hill and down to Dick Rd on the Papanui Inlet.
Gate

Gate. Sabina, George, Ria, Lex

Turning right, we passed the Sheppard Rd turnoff, with George trying the mudflats as the tide was well out,
but soon becoming “an old stick-in-the-mud”, according to Bob.  We turned off into the driveway up to Varleys Farm.
Track

Varley’s Farm driveway. Ria, Sabina, Lex, George.

At the farmhouse, we had another debate about the route, which led to some getting to the summit easily and others, “biddibid and bracken bushbashing” to reach it. At the top is NZ’s own ‘stone circle’ a dry stone wall with a ‘gateway’. One imagines it would have been used as a sheep pen, but over lunch, the talk was of ancient barrows and tombs and mysterious rituals. The plaque on one of the stones stating it was a QE II National Trust Protected Open Space added no further explanation.
Varley's Hill

Papanui Inlet and Sandymount from Varley’s Hill

Stone wall

Lunch on Varley’s Hill. Ken, George, Ria, Sabina, Lex

A pleasant descent on the other side of the hill
Cone

Harbour Cone & reflection coming down from Varley Hill

(past a mysterious, bush-surrounded, irregularly-constructed platform that no one could explain) towards Hoopers Inlet Hall led us to Allans Beach Rd, passing the other end of Sheppard Rd and thence into Hooper’s Inlet Rd.
To conclude the tramp, we turned into a farm road by some picturesque letterboxes,
Boxes

Picturesque letter boxes and thence right again onto Leith Track (an old road perhaps an extension of Hereweka St) which took us over the hill to join the top end of Hereweka St again and so down to the cars.

Some great views, good terrain and interesting and varied scenes along the way.
Building

Scene en route

Thanks to George for getting the landowners’ permissions, and the leadership from Lex and George.  Bob M
2. 25/6/2008 Clarks, Sheppards and Varleys Hills. Leader: George
The scheduled tramp for the Hindon Pipe Line was cancelled due to 13cm of frozen snow in the area. Instead, under George’s leadership (co-leader Ria was too ill to come on the day), a small band of 5 trampers met at the foot of Hereweka St, Portobello for a previously perforce cancelled tramp. Here conditions were much milder than those up at the Pipe Line would have been, but there was still a cold northerly wind to wrap up against. We set off along the Harington Pt Rd for a short distance before turning up through a gate to skirt the slopes of Clarks and Sheppards Hills. A track further up led us through several gates. En route, we paused to admire the deeply furrowed trunk of a Ngaio tree, looking for all the world like a mass of thick entwining vines.
Plaited Ngaio trunk

Plaited Ngaio trunk

We eventually arrived at the summit of Weir Rd where McArthny Hill loomed directly ahead of us. George elected, for time’s and effort’s sake, to bypass that part of the tramp and take us down to Dick Rd on the Papanui Inlet. Turning right, we passed the Sheppard Rd turnoff and a short distance ahead reached the steep driveway up to Varleys Farm. We bypassed the farm up a track on the left stepped where necessary to reach the summit of Varleys Hill. Here we found a circular dry stone wall with a plaque on one of the stones stating it was a QE II National Trust Protected Open Space. We late lunched sheltered by wall and bush, enjoying spendid views all around.
Harbour Cone from Varley Hill

Harbour Cone from Varley Hill

Descending the other side of the hill we found ourselves at the Hoopers Inlet Hall
Hoopers Inlet Hall. George, Ian, Lex, Ken.

Hoopers Inlet Hall. George, Ian, Lex, Ken.

where we set off to walk along the Allans Beach Rd, passing the other end of Sheppard Rd.
It was here the highlight of the day occurred.
A cheeky grin (?) from a tagged seal.

A cheeky grin (?) from a tagged seal.

A frolicsome young seal swam up to us, reaching the stone wall of the road and looking right up at us. We remained there, fascinated at its twistings and turnings, for a considerable time.
It capped off its performance by steaming away across the water at a great speed, the water parting and streaming away on either side.
To conclude the tramp, we turned into a track roughly paralleling the sealed road turn-off to Portobello and on its left, which took us over the hill to join the top end of Hereweka St again and so down to the cars, passing a surprisingly well equipped Village Tourist Park and a sleek coastguard rescue vessel.

A great introduction to some Peninsula hills our club hasn’t experienced before. Thanks to George for getting the landowners’ permissions at a moments’s notice and providing this excellent alterative for the day. – Ian

1. 25/4/2008. Trampers. Portobello, Varleys Hill. Easy. Leaders: George, Ria.

One response so far




One Response to “Portobello, Clarks, Sheppards, McArthny, Varleys Hills”

  1.   Hazelon 22 Jun 2010 at 5:54 pm

    Beautiful pictures!

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