Sunday, February 1, 2009

Destination Wellington

A couple of days ago we arrived in Wellington. A destination rather than a thoroughfare this time. Finally. Its not a bad life the constant holiday we have had for the last 8 months, broken only by a brief spell of work in Arthurs Pass (me) and Welly (PK), but we have been yearning for some sort of routine and the chance to be reunited with some crucial possessions like bikes and kayaks, and some of the other opportunities that go with a settled city life, like gigs and community groups and all sorts of stuff that happens in cities like Wellington.

Yesterday was a settling in day, sorting out a room for ourselves in Crieff Street (staying with the in-laws). We cruised down to the live music at the soundshell (every January the city council provide free music at the soundshell every night) with the hordes. It was packed and we first sat on the path with a view only of several more well prepared groups of people, complete with deck chairs, wine and other luxuries, like blue cheese “mouldy gold”. It was the uncomfortable smell of a Sunday Roast when its someone elses. We moved on just 50metres and by a great stroke of fortune bumped into a group of friends; Kendyl, Ryn and Richard, with Kendyl's flatmate Thomas, who were indulging in similar decadence. There was delicious picnicing, conversation and music to last until the festival of lights struck the silence and darkness with a technicolour force field...

Today, in our first positive action, we joined the Karori Bird Sanctuary, recently rebranded as Zealandia. I'll write more about this as I think I will be spending quite some time there but some first impressions. Saddleback! Choice! A two-tone rasping shriek. And a nimble little bird with those distinctive colours hopping through the supplejack. A kaka swoops us, hooking like a low swinging drive down the track. The Tuatara that Penny nearly stood on is still there, close to the track, in its rootstock burrow. Scaly dinosaur. And the running is great. Awesome!

Sea kayaking in Totaranui; seals, sea, shags and sky...

And then there was the journey, I have plenty to blog about from the last month, but from when we left Arthurs Pass, the last time, we drove hard through the sunstruck Buller to the greyness of Totaranui, to see friends,recently engaged. It was only one night here, camping back up the road to avoid the fine (deja vu), but at least the next morning was sunny and Totaranui was at its golden best, before the families hit the beach. One of NZ's favourite paradises, and apparently the fishing was good this year too. We even saw some when snorkelling, which isn't always the case here. The little mission for the day was sea kayaking out to Separation Point, an easy hour away, the easternmost point of golden bay. The seals out there were putting on a show. Synchronised swimming. The recent pups prodded suspiciously at the water. A nice way to spend the morning. I'm suspicious about heaven, aren't we here already?

Zoe and Nick looking the part

But anyway, we stayed that night at Hang Dog, the famous climbers ghetto out by the Takaka river and two of the best swimming holes in the world, not to mention some outstanding rock climbing. Our new hobby, which we indulged in rather clumsily. Hang Dog was developed by wacky and outstanding local Willie Butler, who died several years ago in a climbing accident, it remains a meeting place and sifty climbers pad, an honour to his memory. All too soon we were dipping in the Pelorus, as custom, and on the Arahura (the older but much superior interisland ferry), and here in scorching Wellington. Further reports to follow.

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