The Coast of Most
Wellington Cable Car
Home is where the heart is – and this past week I’ve been there. Let me show you ‘my place’ – where I lived for the first eighteen years of my life (the formative years).
Zealandia Ecosanctuary in Karori
I grew up in Karori (the only bit of this post that isn’t on the coast). Here we find Zealandia, an ecosanctuary where ornithologists are dedicated to studying and re-establishing native bird populations in the Wellington bush and suburbs. What an inspirational area to visit – and I recommend you do.
A kaka sizes me up.
Matthew and I stay at Island Bay, one of the southern beaches. The view is so different depending on the weather that throughout this post there are several photos of views from our lounge window. The hills beyond are the eastern ranges of Pencarrow. This is a pearl of a morning. (We watch the planes coming in if it is a northerly and going out if it is a southerly.)
Island Bay calm morning (but cold!)
Several times per day the Interislander ferries sail past us commuting between North and South Islands.
Island Bay stroll. (These must be locals because they are dressed as if it is warm – which it isn’t.)
The next beach along is Owhiro Bay. The mountains in the distance are the Kaikoura mountains of the South Island. They have fresh snow on them – gorgeous – due to a sudden southerly blast the previous day.
Owhiro Bay houses
Owhiro Bay life.
Kaikoura mountains, ferry and SPRAY!
Right in the heart of Wellington city is Oriental Bay.
Oriental Bay sky on a breezy afternoon.
Late afternoon lounge view. The end of a sapphire day in Wellington.
The following morning the weather has changed. Clouds and northerly gales are the order of the day.
Island Bay view from the lounge
We drive across the Rimutaka Range to Palliser Bay. To call it windy is a gross understatement!
The coastline at remote and wild Lake Ferry.
Southern black-backed gull
White-fronted terns and black-backed gulls.
Matthew, flying cormorant and tern flock.
Wild windy sky over Lake Onoke.
Further around the coast (another 50 kms) is Ngawi where crayfish are caught. Lack of a harbour means that bulldozers have to haul the fishing boats up onto the sand. “A graveyard for bulldozers” is how it is described to me.
New Zealand fur seals live here.
Cape Palliser is the southern-most tip of the North Island.
We approach the lighthouse
250 steps – rather scary as they are so steep!
We make it to the top! And the wind is screaming!!!
On the drive home the northerly gales are so strong that rubber piping on the roof of our hire car actually peels off and starts to flap about! We have to get out (hold onto the car) and pound it back in with our fists and finger tips.
Sky patterns on the drive back.
Back in the lounge at the end of the day. (We had been on the other side of those far hills.)
By next morning the wind has changed back to southerly – so in our lounge view planes are taking off.
Southerly morning at Island Bay
A ferry pushes through the swell.
We drive over to Makara to see our dear friends Jenifer and George Welch (who used to own Makara Riding School where I spent as much of my teenage years as I could riding horses). Jenifer and George give us a huge treat, a history and geography tour over the hills into Terawhiti Station, completely out of bounds to the general public.
Karori Rock lighthouse at Tongue Point. Kaikouras in the distance.
The wild coast of Cape Terawhiti, and far away a ferry approaches (a distant white dot).
…the white dot has materialized into the ferry…crossing the Cook Strait.
Looking north, wind turbines on the skyline of Makara hills. Mana and Kapiti Islands beyond.
Our dear friends, Jenifer and George with Tick, at their bach.
Later that afternoon, back in Island Bay…
On the move – cruise ship, plane and seagull. (Our view again).
I hope the passengers remembered to take their seasick pills.
Finally it is our turn to fly out of Wellington. We take off to the north. Can you see our Air New Zealand shadow?
Flying over the bays
Goodbye Fair City – for now.
The Coast of Most what? Most hills, cliffs, waves, spray, swells, seabirds, winds, rain, clouds, sun, planes, ships, inter-island ferries, rugged landscapes, distant mountains, seaside cafés with great views, friendly locals, narrow winding twisty roads, and constantly changing light. And because Wellington is just a little bit seismic, what you see today might look different tomorrow. You just never know.