Its time to get your walking shoes on again and explore one of Dunedin’s great natural and historical landscapes. The Town Belt Traverse is an 8.2 kilometre from the Southern Cemetery to Woodhaugh Gardens taking in the heart of the Dunedin Town Belt on Sunday 28th of April and its absolutely free!
The route is a pram friendly (3 wheel buggies with some help) event for people of all ages stopping off at five points along the way. Participants will receive a map and ticket at the car-park inside the Southern Cemetery. The traverse starts at between 10-11 am and all participants must complete the traverse by 1.30. Collect a stamp at all five marshal points and you can be eligible for some great local prizes drawn at the finish. You must be at the draw to collect your prize. The route is marked and there will be marshals at road crossing points along the way. Register on the day at the start of the walk.
You can bring your dog, provided they’re on a lead and you have your bags for their doings! We will have water at various points along the way for them to drink.
This year we have the “Making a Change Expo” at Woodhaugh which have some great an interesting things to see an do.
The Dunedin Town Belt is one of New Zealand’s oldest reserves and plays a special part in the physical and historic landscape of Dunedin. It has a rich history that dates back to the planning of Dunedin before settlers arrived here in 1848. The Town Belt covers 203 hectares and includes the two historic cemeteries and the Botanic Gardens. With its extensive parkland and forest remnants it creates a green corridor through the heart of the city.
Today the Town Belt is an important recreational and ecological asset for the city and provides invaluable habitat for kereru, bellbird, tomtit, tui, rifleman, morepork, and shining cuckoo. The vegetation is an eclectic mix of exotics that dominates the southern area of the ‘belt to the more kanuka and fuchsia dominated ridges and gullies of the northern areas. At Woodhaugh an old stand of kahikatea remains as a reminder of a significant wetland forest that once stood there.
For the Dunedin Amenities Society the protection and enhancement of the Town Belt was the beginning of its foundation in 1888. The Society was founded through the energy of Thomas Brown and Alexander Bathgate to protect, enhance and promote Dunedin’s landscape and biodiversity. The Town Belt Traverse is your opportunity to explore through a self guided walk one of New Zealand’s great reserve sites.
Lining up the observatory
Poets at “the clear”
Not far to go now!
The finish line in sight
Lower Unity Park
The outstanding views from Admiral Byrd’s lookout at Unity Park
Visit the beautifully restored cable cars at Mornington Park
Walking through Jubilee Park (Thomlinson’s Paddock) the site of the foundation of the Society and a temporary camp for miners on their way to the goldfields
Serpentine Avenue where Toitu stream once flowed
Learn about the old tram line running through Robin Hood Park from the High Street cable car group.
Learn more about the cosmos from the Beverly-Begg Observatory
Take a free visit the gardens and grounds of the Olveston stately home
Experience the lushness of the fuchsia dominated forest of Queens Drive to Cosy Dell
Hear local poets perform at the Clear in honour of Charles Brasch at Prospect Park
Enjoy lunch at the old wetland forest remnant at Woodhaugh (Free BBQ supplied)
What to Bring
Comfortable walking shoes
A warm jacket (you won’t need it because it’ll be warm and sunny!)
A drink and a snack for energy (we have a chocolate bar to get you started)
Your inquisitive nature
Your friends and family (dogs on leads thanks)
You can use the Normanby bus from opposite Woodhaugh to return to your vehicle at the Southern Cemetery. Check out the bus timetable here. Or you can catch one of the Heritage Buses from Woodhaugh to the Southern Cemetery for a gold Coin donation.
A fine but frosty start to Sunday 12th and the Society hosted its fourth annual Project Gold Planting at Woodhaugh Gardens in the Town Belt. The date was chosen to celebrate the original date of Arbor Day (August 8th) founded by Society co-founder Alexander Bathgate in 1892. This year the Society were joined by Dunedin Host Lions Club who are celebrating their 100th anniversary. The Lions celebrated in style with three beautiful specimen kahikatea trees and a commemorative plaque. It was very pleasing to have pupils and parents from Arthur Street School and members of the Student Leadership Team from our Town Belt Education Initiative. The Initiative has a new name and are now called the Town Belt Kaitiaki, led by Claudia Babirat. With a few introductions and a quick planting demonstration by Society President Paul Pope, it was promptly into the planting with nearly 300 native trees planted in just over an hour. We had a very pleasant morning in the sun and even had time for a barbecue. A job well done, and a fitting tribute to Alexander Bathgate. (Click on the pictures to see in viewer).
More than 70 student leaders, parents and link teachers undertook a guided walk through the beautiful Dunedin Town Belt on Sunday 18th February as part of the student led Town Belt Education Initiative. With a welcome from the Mayor, the group undertook an 8.5 kilometre walk from Woodhaugh Gardens to the Southern Cemetery. Along the way the group heard short presentations from a range of experts in history, heritage, biodiversity, ecology and communication.
The Town Belt Education Initiative is a collaborative partnership between the Amenities Society, Department of Conservation, Otakou & Puketeraki Runaka, the Dunedin City Council and schools. The aim of the project is to develop a student led education programme using the Town Belt as backdrop, laboratory and classroom. There are no limitations on the potential of the project in many curriculum areas including science, art, language, history and technology. The walk on Sunday was to give students and teachers inspiration and ideas about how the Town Belt can be part of their learning. It is also an opportunity for students to show leadership and to become the future stewards of this very special place in Dunedin.
A great deal of credit in the running of this project must go to Claudia Babirat, who has the task of coordinating the various aspects of this project together for the Society and its partners. As more schools come on board with the initiative we hope that the project will grow and we will see new and exciting developments evolve from the students. (Click on the pictures to view in a larger format)
For three days Craigieburn was alive with the excitement and chatter of the Pakiki Kids visiting the site and learning more about its history as a special place in Dunedin’s cultural and biodiversity heritage. Pakiki Kids is a weekly extension programme for intellectually and creatively gifted children in Dunedin from Years 3-8. The programme is governed and managed by Dunedin North Intermediate School. Under the supervision of teacher Brendan Christie, Society President Paul Pope and faithful canine mascot Toby the group looked at the archaeology, history and biodiversity of the Craigieburn site. It was a hands on opportunity to get out into the bush and feel the atmosphere of Craigieburn. With such a youthful and enthusiastic group the questions and queries came thick and fast. Luckily Brendan and Paul were well supported by a number of parents and of course had all of the answers! Great visit Pakiki Kids.
August 8th has special significance for the Dunedin Amenities Society as it was the official national day of Arbor Day established by our co-founder Alexander Bathgate in 1892. Bathgate believed that in creating Arbor Day New Zealand would create future generations of people who would care about their environment, he wrote “a well-grown tree is an object of beauty, and children would become all the better men and women if they had an eye for the beautiful in nature.” The Society have continued on in that vein with its Project Gold collaboration with the Department of Conservation over the last three years. This year staff and pupils from the Carisbrook School planted around 180 native trees including the beautiful golden Kowhai at Sidey Park in Caversham. It was a pleasure to work with the pupils and to see their hard work in completing the planting on a special day for the Society. Alexander Bathgate would certainly have approved.
When you wake up early on the morning of any event you’re planning the first instinct is to check the weather, and Sunday, April 23rd did not disappoint. With a warm autumn day bathed in sunshine nearly 900 people and 100 dogs explored the 8.2 kilometre route through the Dunedin Town Belt. The Society were delighted and humbled at the massive turn out of participants for the Traverse this year. The conservation expo at the finish in Woodhaugh was also a great success for the community groups involved. This is the first time the Society have partnered the Traverse with Wild Dunedin and it was an exciting and natural fit for our city. The Society loves hosting so many families, children and participants of all ages in the Town Belt. Being able to make it a free event is very important so that we can share our love of this historic space. We have been very fortunate to receive the support of generous sponsors and volunteers to make the Traverse such a success. Its shows a real spirit in Dunedin that cares for this great reserve. So to everyone who participated, donated time and supported the Dunedin Town Belt Traverse 2017 our grateful thanks from the Dunedin Amenities Society. (Click on pictures to view in full screen).