Saturday, March 8, 2008

A We Bit of a Road Trip

Dragon Boats practicing in Wellington Harbour

The Explorer contemplating the Tasman Sea

Must be back from the Golden Shears!

It had been a few days since we have driven the modest Mazda, so we decided to see if we could go get lost. The backside of the crescent, that is Wellington, is a rim of high hills. We thought we would go up the hills and see how the suburbs looked. You know, I really am getting good at getting turned around in people’s driveways when we obviously are heading nowhere.

The mountains are charming with a lot of homes built into the hills, and which have grand views. They are however, not ostentatious and most of the homes seem to have been built thirty or more years ago. New Zealand really is not a “show off” place. As we wound our way up and down the narrow roads, we were generally headed in a northwesterly direction towards the Cook Strait and the Tasman Sea. You soon leave the neighborhoods of Wellington and found ourselves in rugged canyons and on to farming country. Wellington, although the capital of the country since 1865, still has a population of only about 180,000 people. You can check out all of this and much more trivia about Wellington on their city government website found at

Our wandering took us to Makara, Johnsonville, Makara Beach, Porirua (dead ended in a parking lot) and on up the coast to our destination in Waikanae Beach. We walked on the beach, ate in a nice local restaurant (avoiding MacD’s and BK) and returned to the city by about 3 p.m.

The weather in the late afternoon turned warm and sunny so a long walk was in order along the waterfront. The good weather brought out the natives, including all the rowing enthusiasts. There is a large rowing club near the Te Papa and they were all hitting the water. The photos above can give you an idea of what a wonderful evening it was. Back at the apartment Mary Ann was heating up dinner in the microwave and all of a sudden the smoke alarm went off. We could not believe it as there was no smoke! We were madly running around waving at the alarm, opening the windows, and hoping it was not directly connected to the fire department. It did eventually turn off, and a few minutes later we had a knock at the door. Two guys (local fire assistants?) wanted to know why we did not vacate the building when the alarm went off. We all had a good laugh as we did not cause the alarm, and we promised to skedaddle in the future. Whew, for awhile there I was afraid Mary Ann would never cook here again.

Quirky Living Note: On our daily walks we pass by a store that may be a very high class pawn shop. The name of the store is Cash Converter and across the front of the store are the signs: “If you love it…buy it” and “If you don’t love it…sell it.” They must be successful as a check in the phone book shows several branches around Wellington.

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