As time continues to march us all ever-forward into the impending Christmas break, I’ve been contemplating what I might end up doing on December 25. The day itself has never held any type of religious significance for me, and these days my own personal circumstances also mean that it actually holds very little social significance either.
Sure – I have people I’ll honour during the holiday period, and we’ll do stuff, but on Christmas Day I plan to be out…
My Mum passed away last year, and Dad the year before; we were close, and so life in general looks and feels very different than it has done at any other time.
But no melancholy here. Touching on this is quite simply an acknowledgement on my part that I’m not alone. There are screeds and tonnes of peeps just like me, who choose to boycott these kinds of profit-oriented occasions for their own reasons and instead do something that’s steered and geared more towards filling-up one’s cup. Something satisfying to the soul.
That’s us, eh.
So, I thought I’d put a wee suggestion out there, and talk to my favourite picnic spot here in Wellington: Eastbourne’s ‘Butterfly Creek’. That way, if you’re reading this and I’m speaking directly to you (*and I truly believe you will find this post if you are meant to), you’ll forever have this bush-clad nirvana, this serene landscape that you can explore at your own leisure – Christmas Day, or whenever suits.
Absolutely zero pressure, and no harm done.
Okay. So, back to Butterfly Creek. Located within East Harbour Regional Park, the Creek can be accessed from any one of four track options – you simply choose according to the distance and time that suits your needs.
On my first visit I took the shortest, sweetest route, the ‘Kōwhai Street Track’. I’d just returned from Singapore and was feeling pretty jet-lagged, and this was the perfect little blow-out for me.
This year I also decided to enter the annual ‘Butterfly Creek Night-time Madness’ endurance race, and this takes you into “The Creek” from the ‘Muritai Park Track’ entrance – a slightly longer jaunt, but substantially more of a must-do, IMO. Give yourself 1.5 hours each-way if you’re moving at-pace, and a fraction longer if you like to stop, look, and appreciate, like I do (*not that much of this happened in the dark – I went back and re-traced my steps during the day, another time).
The coolest thing about Butterfly Creek is the sense of true isolation the place provides. You feel as though you could be anywhere on the globe, out there, which to me is pretty darn exceptional given you’re simply climbing to the top of a ridge and down the other side into a gully, essentially. Magical, though.
The landscape is ever-changing, too. One minute you’re winding your way upwards through tree-root staircases, the next you’re admiring the creek alongside you and marvelling at mamaku ferns.
Equally impressive is where you end up.
“Secluded” and “spectacular” are just two words that come to mind, and there are so many more.
This is one incredibly special place-cum-picnic spot, and totally an authentic picnicking space – there are tables there and everything, so feel free to pack some food and fill-up here at the trail’s turn-around point.
Where clearly, you are totally free to pull your own light-hearted and silly facial expression/s too, should you feel anything less than serious in that particular moment (^).
Can’t be serious all the time, eh. And let’s be real – it’s actually all about that bush-clad view behind me.
So whatever you do, have a truly superb Christmas break. My heartfelt wish is that yours is all you need, at the very least. And should you choose to experience a Wellington trail on the day, I may well see you out there…