Belmont Regional Park lies along the watershed between the Hutt River Valley and Porirua/Pauatahanui Streams. The high ridge of open grassed hilltops extends between Belmont Trig and Boulder Hill and ties the subsidiary valley systems together. The bold hills and deep valleys contribute to the park’s rugged topography, which is the resulting interplay of glaciation, faulting, weathering and erosion. 6 watercourses drain form the high points and radiate to the Porirua/Pauatahanui and Hutt catchments. All this geography is well understood from Belmont Trig.
Cornish Street is an industrial area off SH2 just north of the Petone overbridge. Belmont Regional Park is signposted at the roadend.
The metalled track is even and bridged as it crosses the Korokoro Stream many times on its sinuous course up the narrow steep sided valley.
Mill Dam (25 minutes) is one of the concrete structures remaining from the early 1900s. Grabians and abutments, which supported the steel pipeline, border the streamside. Rusting pipes and the occasional valve protrude through the ground in the vicinity of the track.
From Korokoro Forks (25 minutes) and the litter of fallen ‘overmature’ pines, follow the Korokoro Stream right for 20 minutes to the cascades at the outflow of the Korokoro Dam. The rusting pipeline leading from the dam lies in sections on the streambed and track.
After meandering past the small lake, the track climbs to exit the forest (40 minutes), 5 minutes before the junction with the track to Belmont Trig.
It’s a 45 minutes steep climb up the wide grassed track following the ridge to the junction below Belmont Trig (457 metres). Expect conditions to be more severe at the trig.
Climb 5 minutes to the trig at the summit and take in the views. Return to the junction and descend the occasionally slippery track (1 hour) to the junction with the Horokiwi Bridleway. You pass through a low, but sheltering regenerating forest, with views appearing of the more heavily forested Korokoro catchment.
At Baked Beans Bend, the track negotiates many fallen pines and crosses the stream 8 times. If you’re not wearing boots, expect wet feet.
Back at Korokoro Forks (20 minutes), return via the same track to Cornish Street.
The two river systems roughly follow the Wellington (Hutt Valley) and Ohariu Faults, which originally appeared between 2 and 13 million years ago. Despite long periods of quiescence, the original linear fracture of the landscape is still evident, with streams such as the Korokoro Stream following old splinter faults. These have notched the ridges and spurs to create an unusual and attractive landscape.
The forested section after the Korokoro Dam is mainly composed of tawa, hinau, kohekohe, rewarewa and titoki. In the moist gullies pukatea, nikau, karamu and kawakawa become more abundant, preferring the wetter sites. Nearer the summit, koromiko, harakeke, rangiora and hangehange form a lower shrub layer. The more exposed locations are buffeted by the winds and the lower centre of gravity acts as a defence against toppling. Occasional pockets of broadleaf forest survive and create shady enclaves.
Small numbers of brown trout, short-finned eels and long-finned eels inhabit the waters of Korokoro Stream. Both eel species climb the wet dam faces of the upper and lower spillways.
The first Maori settlement of the region concentrated on the coastline and proximity to it’s natural resources. From the 16th Century, cultivation took place on the banks of the Hutt River and Maori settlement expanded along the west coast. Originally 2 Ngati Ira pa were destroyed at Pauatahanui and replaced with palisaded pa in 1840, following the arrival of Ngati Toa.
In 1885 the Wellington Woollen Manufacturing Company located their mill on the western bank of the Korokoro Stream. In 1902 Petone Borough Council decided the Korokoro Stream catchment was the most suitable for deriving the town’s water supply, fuelling conflict with the wool company’s intentions. Reconciliation manifested in the construction of a high level Korokoro Dam and a lower reservoir (Mill Dam) in 1903-4 for the exclusive use of the wool company. In 1964 the water was declared unfit for human consumption and the mill closed in 1968. The remnants of both dams are still intact.
The Korokoro Valley was named in the 1820s by Te Mana, a chief of Ngati Mutunga from Taranaki. He called it ‘Te Korokoro-o-te-Mana’ (the throat of Te Mana), after defeating Wellington tribes by an excursion through the gorge.
North Island ▷ Wellington Region ▷ Hutt Valley
Can you contribute? If you've experienced Belmont Trig Track then please and write a review.