21 October 2017

Waikari, Waipara & Weka Pass

There's a walk in Waikari that leads to Maori cave drawings. Plus there's rock art on the walls of limestone overhangs that dates back to more than 500 years. It's a walk I was keen to do.

As I was about to turn onto the State Highway through Amberley, I saw an American sheriff's car. Fortunately for me it pulled over up the road, so I was able to stop and get a photo.

Just north of Waipara, is the turning for 'Weka Pass Railway.' A steam train leaves from 'Glenmark Station' in Waipara and travels to Waikari on the first and third Sunday of each month.

The train wasn't due to leave for another hour and because I had the dogs with me, I decided not to wait.

The next stop was the Waipara River, so the dogs could have a walk.

After parking in Waikari I walked to the Waikari Railway station to see what time the steam train would be coming through. 

There was no-one at the station but the door was open so I popped my head in and spotted an old luggage trolley.

Hoping I would see the steam train arrive, I wandered along the track. And out of the blue ... WOOSH... right beside my face a magpie swooped at me. Crickey, what is it with magpies wanting to attack me? This manic bird wasn't happy with a single attack, it gained height and then dive bombed me vertically. I was tempted to get a photo but common sense kicked in and I used the camera as a shield.
I turned tail - and headed back to the station.

The cloud formation over Waikari was awesome.

I found the start to the 'Village Walkway.' Halfway along this walk, the 'Weka Pass Walkway' begins. The Weka Pass Walkway leads to the Maori rock drawings. It begins by walking through a short tunnel of trees, it looked inviting. But who should be sitting on the ground looking at me?....Waiting! Yip - a black and white magpie! I wasn't going to tempt fate. That walk could wait until their nesting season was over.

I took a couple of photos of the rock formations while listening out for the train. I was hoping to capture it coming through Weka Pass.

Weka Pass was used in the early 1860's by the first gold miners heading for the West Coast over Harper Pass, and later on by wagons bringing out the first of Amuri wool clips.

I really need to study up on various cloud formations to learn what weather might be coming.

On the way home, I spotted the iconic 'Frog Rock', so I pulled over, hoping to spot the steam train.

I climbed up the grass bank and waited. Most of the bank is covered in wild sweet pea. It'll be stunning when they flower.

I heard a rustle in the grass and noticed another photographer with the same idea as me, patiently waiting.

Eventually I heard a distant chugging.

Then black smoke appeared and the nose of the train eventually came into view.

And, slowly it chugged off into the distance, leaving a trail of smoke in its wake.


  1. We did the Weka Pass rail trip about 5 years ago - it was a wonderful trip. Another amazing short train trip we did was at Charleston on the West Coast, check out Although we didn't do the cave rafting, just the rail trip.
    We are planning another 3 month South Island caravan trip, leaving home mid December. And may well meet up on the road somewhere!
    Robin and Jenny

  2. Beaut photos Katrina. The one of the cloud formation over the railway station reminds me of a Rita Angus painting. Fiona M


Leave a comment - I'd love to hear from you.