In each edition of Earthed I’m going to be sharing a little more of the Kāpiti Coast. Firstly because I just love it, second, it inspires my creative work and thirdly, so to inspire you to come and explore my corner of the world yourself!
The Waimanu Lagoons are the feature of a walking circuit that I do frequently. They’re just a hop, skip and jump away from the studio. I head out across the Otaihanga Reserve, cross the Waikanae River, head towards the Marine Estuary and then, just before I would otherwise hit the sandy track to the beach, veer off to circle the lagoons. Kāpiti Island is visible along the way, and make for pretty spectacular scenery!
This walk is perfect for when I have 45 minutes spare and just want to get moving but not think too much about it. I know the time it takes to walk the circuit, I know the route and I know it will give me a gorgeous and energising boost of fresh air. I often walk it pretty much on autopilot, listening to a podcast or audio book as I go. I sometimes do this walk first thing in the morning, and the pink-hued shots below were taken at about 5:45am one morning recently. The light just hit the water and gave the whole place this lovely glow – and then it was gone as quickly as it came. I love that about being out in nature – you never know when all of the elements are going to come together to invite you this unique sensory moment in time, space and place. It’s lovely!
Here are some interesting facts, sourced from the council’s Lagoon Management Plan:
- The Waimanu lagoons are part of an ancient river course. In earlier times, the Waikanae River separated into two channels where it entered the floodplain: the Waikanae River and the Waimeha River. At some stage in the 1890’s the Waimeha River dried up, today the lower part persisted as the smaller Waimeha Stream.
- Originally, the lagoons would have been covered in a mosaic of indigenous wetland vegetation. These typically have included sedges, rushes and raupo, harakeke (swamp flax) and cabbage trees around the wet and damp edges, with shrub and small trees such as manuka, koromiko and karamu on slightly higher ground. On the drier dune land, ngaio, kanuka, akeake and taupata would have been typical. Today, most of the reserve area is managed as mown grass with scattered single or small groups of specimen trees including pohutukawa, ngaio, taupata, macrocarpa, karo, cabbage trees, and Norfolk Island pine.
- A number of bird species (both native and introduced) visit or inhabit the reserve, including shags, white- faced heron, various duck and gull species, black swan, and various small birds such as sparrows, blackbirds and welcome swallows. It is likely that the number of bird species that visit the lagoon is boosted by the proximity of both the Waikanae Estuary Scientific Reserve and the Waimeha Lagoon wildlife sanctuary