A couple weekends ago, my friend Bríd and I made plans to go for a hike in Porirua, just south of where Andy and I were housesitting in Paremata. Her American friend Anne also joined us, so for once Americans were in the majority here in NZ. I really don’t meet all that many, besides people who are just briefly passing through on vacation. It was nice to chat about home!
I picked the two of them up in Mount Victoria (Andy was kind enough to let me use his car, even though I didn’t bring Higgs), and we made the half-hour drive up the coast to the trailhead. It was a tad bit tricky to find, since there were multiple places to start, but we figured it out pretty easily.
The path we took up the mountain was basically a wide road, which made the incline a little bit easier to tackle.
I really can’t believe how many beautiful weekends we’ve had this summer. Just look at that sky.
We didn’t have to hike very long before getting great views.
The terrain out here reminded me more of Canterbury down on the South Island than the North Island, but New Zealand is so varied that it shouldn’t surprise me anymore. I guess the constant surprises here are one of the main things I love about this country, though.
We passed a few hikers and bikers here and there, but mostly just sheep. As we climbed higher, we got great views of the ocean and Porirua Harbour in the distance. It also got pretty windy!
The valley looked a lot like the Hutt from above, but I think I prefer it out here with the ocean so close by.
It was hard to tell what spot was the actual summit, since the ridgeline had a lot of dips and rises. We stopped at one lookout to get a better view, but only made it for a few minutes before the strong wind forced us to continue on.
We hiked on toward what I now think was the actual summit.
In typical friendly Kiwi fashion, the two guys working at the station said we could come inside the fence and told us where the best viewing spot was. To top it all off, there was a dog!
As we were told, the view was wonderful from this spot.
You can see Mana Island in the distance. Like many islands off the coast of NZ, this one is also a native wildlife sanctuary aimed at ecological restoration.
We said goodbye to our little furry friend and thanked the guys who had let us in. The path began to descend at that point as we hiked through more farmland.
So. Many. Sheep!
I love the way they’ve carved trails into the hillside.
The downhill path was much narrower than the road we’d come up.
Soon after that photo, the trail took us through the forest for the last portion of the hike, until we looped back and intersected with the original road we’d taken up. All in all, the trek was about two and a half hours and we covered about 12 km (7 1/2 miles). Not bad at all.
When we got back to town, we decided to check out the “Old Government Buildings.” Yes, that is the official name. They’re home to Wellington’s oldest wooden staircase, constructed in 1867. The building is only open to visitors on Saturdays, so we wanted to take advantage of the fact that we were in the area.
Pretty impressive, I must say.
We definitely made the most of our Saturday, and the best part is we didn’t even spend a dime. Wellington never disappoints!
This upcoming weekend, Andy, Scott and I are headed down to Nelson for the Marchfest beer festival. I’ll probably be a bit behind on blogs, but much more to come including dogs, birds and most likely beer. Stay tuned.