Mar 30 2011

Seacliff, Split Rock

Published by under Trampers

46 km from car park.
30/3/2011 Hikers. Seacliff. Russell Road, Enchanted Forest. Leaders: Marjorie and Bruce.
Twenty-two hikers set out up Russell Road at Seacliff at about 1000 on 30 March 2011 after parking near the gates of the Truby King Reserve. After approximately 1 km we opened the double Cyclone farm gates on the left and followed a track to a concrete fertilizer store area for topdressing. We then climbed the knoll north of this to have morning tea, north of Guilds Hill, with a view down to Doctors Point and Purakaunui.

View of Purakaunui from near Guilds Hill. (Bruce pic)


Wendy, Peter, Lex, Fred. (Bruce pic)

After morning tea we proceeded up Russell Road and opened the gate tied by string and a chain which was straight ahead (not the padlocked gate on the right which leads to a residence). We proceeded along this 4-wheel-drive section of Russell Road and then, when the track finished, another 150 metres to a paddock on the left over the brow of the hill where we had a view of Maori Peak below us on the right, Mt Watkin, and the surrounding valleys and hills.

Mt Watkin, Maori Peak. (John pic)

Retracing our steps, we proceeded back down Russell Road for lunch, at 1220, at the site of the Seacliff Asylum.

Lunch. (John pic)

After lunch we toured some of the asylum remains and the Enchanted Forest including the bluestone wall at the northern end of the asylum site where the sinking of the foundations began,

Bluestone wall. (John pic)

the remains of the Medical Superintendent’s house,the Admission Unit, and Clifton House.

Remnants including foundations and a brick chimney at the site of the main asylum building. (John pic)

We noted the heritage apple collection that has been established by the Truby King Reserve Committee which is available, according to the web, for foraging by both locals and visitors. Some of the apples were sampled. We looked out for the Magnolia tree, noted by Janet Frame, in Faces in the Water, to be the pride of the hospital, but did not spot it. Possibly the DCC, who administer the reserve, may be able to signpost it eventually.[(But you can click here for a view of it from another tramp – the tree) and The plaque] We returned to the cars at 1415 having had the benefit of a warm day, with blue skies and no wind, to appreciate the tranquil rural setting. – Marjorie and Bruce.

22/10/2008. Hikers. Seacliff, Split Rock. Medium. Leaders: Joyce S, Lesley G

Elaine, Angela, Barbara, Bill

Tea break at top of Russell Road. In front: Elaine, Angela, Barbara, Bill

At Seacliff, turn left up Russell Road. Park cars at gates. Truby King Reserve sign.
Walk up road and beyond to ridge. past macrocarpa trees is a paper road to end of gorse. Turn right off road to bypass below gorse on right. Beyond and down to right at rocks find a marked track down through trees to split rock. Get permissions.

24 hikers arrived at Seacliff for an enjoyable hike on a pleasant calm day.

Cars were parked on the side of Russell road outside the gates of the Truby King reserve. Peter, Ian’s son and local resident was there to lead us as we hadn’t done this walk for a considerable time. He led us up the road and yet further up to the top of the ridge to see great views on the other side. Over, and down a paddock to avoid heavy gorse and we were on a FWD track leading gently NE to yet a better view NE to Puketapu and NW to Mt Watkins,

Mount Watkins in distance. Lesley, Peter, Fred

Mount Watkins in distance. Lesley, Peter, Fred

as well as the flats behind Karitane. Then it was down and across to the bush lining the ridge on whose other side Split Rock was hidden. But just before we did that, Joyce invited us to enjoy an early lunch on some accomodating rocks in most enjoyable calm sunshine.

Lunch above Split Rock. Wendy, Bill, Joyce, Pat, Chris, Jean

Lunch above Split Rock. Wendy, Bill, Joyce, Pat, Chris, Jean

After that, it was down through the bush following markers through a twisting route to eventually arriving at the rock. Some took the trouble to clamber to its flat top to enjoy magnificent sights up and down the coast. After that, a very careful descent down the side of this huge rock revealed the split halfway down.

Several daring souls squeezed through, others electing to avoid the claustrophobic confines of the 20 odd metre journey. Then it was carefully further down the steep track,

past the rock’s bottom face and on down and across some bush to arrive at a netting fence through which a small gap allowed one at a time to squeeze through into an open grass paddock. A graded 4WD track took us a short distance down to the coastal road where we turned right and walked single file back along towards Seacliff. Opposite Peter’s place we climbed a rise and over a style Peter had built to walk up a track, stepped where necessary to eventually emerge into the wonder of the Reserve, with a beautiful round garden before us to admire. An old concrete bridge on our left introduced us to an ascending grassy road that took us past the foundations of Dr Charles Moore’s house, a bit sunken, but with steps down to the basement still intact. Further yet up the road and we admired the brass plaque inscribed with Janet Frame’s account of a walk, including fond reference to the magnolia tree just behind it. Further up yet and we arrived at a more carefully mown area at the top, centre-pieced with two magnificent spreading elms. The range of wonderful trees around us is beyond description but a huge eucalyptus and a grove of giant pines must be mentioned. A short walk and we were through the gates and back in our cars. Thank you Joyce and Lesley and Peter too for a rewarding day out. – Ian

26/7/2006. Hikers. Enchanted Forest. Easy. Leaders: Jim & Thelma, Graham
29/6/2005. Trampers. Seacliff. Leaders Evelyn C, George, Shirley
23/4/2003. Hikers. Seacliff:  Split Rock. Medium. Leaders: George, Dot T, Betty.


Bob filming Waikouaiti from top of Split Rock.


On top of Split Rock. Hazel?, Barbara, Lex, Bob, Sabina, Arthur.


Split Rock entrance


Split Rock exit

25/9/2002 Leaders: Mary Y, Jean A, Chris

10/7/2002 Leaders:Shirley, George, Hazel

Split Rock exit

Split Rock exit. Ian


26/7/2000 Leaders: Doug J, George, Claude

10/6/2002. Seacliff Area. Medium. Leaders: Shirley McN, George, Hazel.

26/7/2000. Seacliff area. Leaders: Myrie and Doug, Eleanor.
3/3/1993 Seacliff round trip. Leaders: Catherine T, Ria L, Koot, Jean Y
27/1/1993 Seacliff round trip. Leaders: Ria L, Catherine T, Jean, Ria H
3/1988 Leaders: Nancy, Bill H, Lesley S

One response so far

One Response to “Seacliff, Split Rock”

  1.   elaineon 01 Apr 2011 at 8:37 pm

    thanks to bruce we had a wonderful day at seacliff, he had lots of details, and information about the old seacliff,
    I think the best bit was when a few of us went to the blueskin cafe for a coffee after the day, and the lady said to us from behind the counter, “where have you folk come from and I think in one voice we all said SEACLIFF she did look a bit surprised, so we had a hoot of a time at the cafe lots of laughs and stories, a great day thanks bruce cheers elaine

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