weekend was one of the few when we stayed in Wellington without a car. However,
we still managed to explore and make the most of our time here. On Saturday
morning the weather was bright, but windy, and we decided to do the City to Sea
walkway. This starts near the Parliament buildings, and goes up through the Bolton
Street memorial cemetery and then through the Botanic Gardens. From there it carries
on through the city and various parks by a circuitous route. On the way it passes
the house where they invented the colour mauve. It comes through Central Park and
Prince of Wales Park to Hutchison Road, which is very close to home, so we detoured
back home for lunch. Wellington is fascinating: we’ve never known a city built on
such steep hills; and you can go from city streets to what seems like virgin bush
in no time at all.
the afternoon the weather got more cloudy, but it didn’t actually rain. We
pressed on southwards, along a series of steep ridges with some great views. Eventually
we descended into Island Bay and reached the sea. We spent the evening in Island
Bay, a little suburb on the south coast. We had drinks in the local bar, sitting
in front of the fire chatting to the locals. We went to the cinema there, which
is small and cosy with double couches to sit on; as in most NZ cinemas, you can
take drinks in with you. Afterwards we went to the local cafe/restaurant which rejoices
in the name of ‘Cheeky Pipi’ for a pleasant meal, followed by a taxi home as it
had started raining.
Sunday it was sunny and clear, though cold. We left home and walked over the
ridge and down to Happy Valley Road, and then down towards Owhiro Bay, which is
next door to Island Bay. On the way we passed some weird junk sculptures by the
roadside, and we detoured in order to see the Buddhist stupa, from which we
also got excellent views over to the snow-capped mountains of the South Island.
We reached Owhiro Bay, and walked along the sea-edge towards Red Rocks and the
seal colony beyond that. On our return we walked round to Island Bay, stopping
at the Bach Cafe for coffee and cheese filo pastries. We walked back up the
main road from Island Bay and then up Liardet Street to home. We now reckon we’ve
had a good weekend exploring the south coast here. It’s also amazing to think that
we can walk from home and go to see fur seals!