Rediscovering the town belt

The view across Dunedin from the town belt. PHOTOS: CLARE FRASER
The view across Dunedin from the town belt. PHOTOS: CLARE FRASER

It’s quite fun to imagine a Dunedin so small that the town belt ringed the outer urban edge. Nowadays, the town belt’s almost "outer inner city", writes Clare Fraser.

The town belt seems like the bushy part above the university and town but in reality it extends from the Northern Cemetery through the city to the Southern Cemetery. In these times of keeping things local, it makes a neat short walk.

Woodhaugh Gardens is a good warm up, then the bullock track off Malvern St takes you up to Prospect Park. From there, you can look over North Rd going up Northeast Valley and see it’s not as flat as it feels on foot.

Queen’s Dr starts here, with its native regrowth forest mixed in with introduced species and some quite stunning single specimen trees. This time of year is great because you get the last of the orange leaves along with views over the city seen through stark, bare branches. Morning is best to catch the wintery sun.

After Moana Pool and Littlebourne Park, there are side tracks into the bush, some official, others more informal.

A sealed path just before Preston Cres takes you down to Maori Rd and Jubilee Park, an autumn stunner. Otherwise, to keep going you might want to avoid an awful corner by nipping down the path that leads to Parkhill Ave and Mornington.

Queen’s Dr runs through the town belt.
Queen’s Dr runs through the town belt.
It feels as if the good bit’s over but head diagonally across Mornington Park, across High St, down Alva St then up the bush path marked "To Eglington Road". Another view stretches out from Unity Park, this time looking over the southern city and up the harbour.

Excuse my ignorance, but at this point I had fun discovering the top of Stafford St. You have to cross over it to the massive sloped grassy park on the other side.

Moana Pool
Moana Pool
At the bottom a track heads right and once again, after 50 plus years in my home town, I had the buzz of discovering a new bit: a tidy wee gravel path through the trees high above Maitland St.

Take the steps down to a series of tracks through bush that, believe it or not, includes a few tree ferns. Follow your nose downhill and suddenly you’ll pop out in the Southern Cemetery which, at this time of year, is sombre and sobering with the gravestones’ silent stories of past lives.

Here’s another fun bit: every few minutes buses go past, taking you back to your starting point.

Preston Cres Park.
Preston Cres Park.

Comments

At least it's not the Belt you get on the edge of Auckland for not being white. Flatbush City Limits.

 

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