Only those who have lived in New
Zealand can know how changeable and unpredictable the weather is here. For the
last two weekends we have been planning a trip up to Tongariro National Park,
to do a day walk called the Waihohnu Traverse. Both times we’ve had car hire
and accommodation booked, because the forecast has looked good, and both times it’s
changed dramatically as Saturday approached, so we’ve had to call the trip off.
Inbetween, we had some quite nice
days, and even at the weekends the weather in Wellington can be quite good when
it’s rough elsewhere. A couple of times we’ve gone down to the harbourside
after work and had drinks sitting in the sun, and enjoyed a pleasant evening
stroll along by the water. The weekends in March when we’ve had to cancel the Tongariro
trip, we’ve managed to do some longish walks locally, in the sun.
The weekend before last we did
the Southern Walkway, which goes from Oriental Bay on Wellington Harbour down
to Island Bay on the south coast, climbing over Mount Victoria and Mount Albert
on the way, and giving good views over the harbour, the airport and the
southern suburbs. On the way we were able to visit Truby King House, on the
slopes of Mount Albert, built by a famous Wellington philanthropist.
Last weekend we did a long walk
in Te Kopahou Reserve, on the south coast, which took us steeply uphill and
then down again to the coast near a place called Red Rocks. The sun shone all
day, but there was a really strong wind, even by Wellington standards, which
made walking more of a challenge. We saw a couple of seals there, although the
signs said this isn’t the season for them (but then, seals can’t read). We
walked back to Island Bay from there.
The most extreme weather came last Friday, at 4.30,
just as we were gathering for drinks in Research Division. A freak storm swept
up from the south and battered the city for short while, blowing the roofs off
two schools in the area. It felt almost like a tornado, and for a while we
thought we were going to be blown over the rainbow. And then other days we get
the most beautiful sunrises to greet us when we get up in the morning.