my life in the land down under

Once Were Houses

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In our part of the world we have gone from drought to flood conditions in the last few weeks. Thankfully we live on top of a hill so have not been affected by floodwaters as many locals have, and as I write this the weather has settled again and we’re enjoying a lovely sunny day.

We were recently introduced to geocaching and find it a great way to explore new places. We appreciate all those who have gone to the effort of placing caches for us to find and wanted to reciprocate. Recently we placed two caches of our own, along a route we walk or cycle through regularly; which is very accessible, has great views and an interesting history.

A severe storm in the Bay of Plenty on 18th May 2005 dumped over 300mm of rain on Tauranga in 24 hours – the heaviest rainfall in 95 years.

Besides major flooding, this caused multiple landslides in Otumoetai, at Welcome Bay and on Mount Maunganui (Mauao). The houses worst hit were in the hilly Otumoetai area of Pillans Rd, Karaka St, Hinewa Rd, Balmoral Terrace, Whitaker St, Vale St, and Estuary Way in Welcome Bay. Many of the houses were so badly damaged they had to be demolished. Amazingly, there were no injuries reported.

Stormwater upgrades undertaken by the council following this disaster cost $11 million. The new infrastructure included a stormwater tunnel at Pillans Point (14 metres below Pillans Rd) to stop floodwaters inundating Bureta, rebuilding the harbour outfall, creating a stormwater flowpath along parts of Vale St and improving the Otumoetai Golf Course as a flood basin.

Two urban parks were created in Otumoetai where once stood 28 homes.  One reserve was created in the amphitheatre-shaped bowl where Lemon Grove and the top end of Hinewa Rd perch above slopes that drop down to Landscape Rd. The other traverses the hillside that completely lost its footing and sent thousands of tonnes of earth into homes built along the stream flats at the end of Vale St.

A loop walk through both parks takes approx 30 mins.


Walkway going up


Commemorative plaque


 View from the top


View from the top, second walkway


Author: Janice

Married to a very lucky man (he sometimes agrees), I'm learning to be a better wife, homemaker, & step-mum to two adult children and their other halves. I enjoy thinking, writing, nature, travelling, reading, photography and other creative pursuits, and spending time with friends & family (not necessarily in that order). I work part-time with children & their families. I have too much stuff (working on that) and am not a morning person... that about covers it for now.

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