Railways, fireworks and Christmas parades

Since returning from the East
Cape we’ve been hard at work (Sandie has been at the MOE most of the time),
settling into a routine in our flat, and hoping for the advent of summer. On
Sunday Nov 1st the weather was good enough for us to go out for a long
walk, across the hills on the Rimutaka Rail Trail. This goes through the
Rimutakas from the Hutt Valley to the Wairarapa, and follows the line of the
old railway that used to run over there before they dug a tunnel.


To do the walk we drove across to
the other side and parked at the Cross Creek car park, and were picked up from
there by a taxi company who took us back over the hills and dropped us at the
starting point at Kaitoke. From there we walked up the gentle incline, which is
no more than 1 in 40 (so that ordinary trains could run up this side). The
scenery was amazing, and there were some old bridges to cross and ruins of old
steam trains at the top of the climb, at a place called (appropriately enough)
Summit.  This used to be a station, and a
few railwaymen lived there with their families, the railway their only link
with the outside world. At Summit we had a picnic lunch, and then headed
downhill, at first through a long tunnel. The slope this side is 1 in 15, so there
they had special ‘Fell’ engines which gripped a central rail to get up and down.
We walked back to Cross Creek and picked up the car, and drove back over the
Rimutakas yet again.


Since then we have stayed local,
but attended a few Wellington annual events. On November 5th there
was the usual firework spectacular over the harbour. We went down to the waterfront
early on, but it was very cold (strong winds as usual) so we returned home and
got a splendid view from our 10th floor vantage point. Last Saturday
we attended a concert of songs around the world, performed by the Wellington
Community Choir. Sunday was the Wellington Christmas Parade, so we went down
and watched the floats process along the main shopping street. The weather was
fine, but once again there was a very strong wind blowing all the elaborate
costumes about.


Wellington is gearing up for Christmas and summer. At
the moment we’ve seen more signs of the former than the latter, but we live in
hope that the temperature will pick up and the winds die down.

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