It has been my favourite place since I was old enough to drive there.
OPINION: Once upon a time, arrival at the top of Taylors Mistake Walkway used to herald the midway point of a not-unstrenuous trek from Sumner to Taylors Mistake Beach.
In summer, it used to be the only exercise I wasn't violently opposed to after a day at my casual reception job. I'd leap in the car, pick up a friend and - clad in stretchy pants with togs underneath - we'd begin our ascent up Scarborough Rd to the Whitewash Head track.
The earthquakes foreclosed this particular route when, like a gingernut dunked in tea for too long, much of the track fell into the sea. Now, a sign on a chain-link fence signals you can go this far but no further.
However, Flowers Track offers a worthy alternative route with a consolation prize in the form of Nicholson Park, where there are swings aplenty and one of the best views in Christchurch.
At the top of Flowers there is a stone seat, dusty and warm in the afternoon sun. From it you can ponder the ocean and New Brighton spit below. The seat is dedicated to Jim and Marjorie. The plaque says they, too, loved this view.
A quick skip across the road used to lead you down - if not a garden path, then a grassy one - to the top of Taylors Mistake Walkway.
Now, that's fenced off, too. No matter.
If you wander around the road a bit, you'll come to a pine needle-strewn slope between numbers 121 and 129 Taylors Mistake Rd, where a careworn tyre swing and another chain-link fence await you at the bottom. If you hold your mouth just so, you can sometimes see a rabbit bounding merrily in the grassy no-man's-land beyond.
There's a seat up here too, right on the cliff edge. This one's made of wood. "Rest awhile," its plaque says. "And enjoy the view."
It's difficult not to. Ahead lies the Pacific Ocean. The seascape can anchor you to the seat.
- The Press
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