A couple weekends ago, Andy and I had the pleasure of experiencing both a Vallhund walk and a trip to the Zealandia Eco-sanctuary in one day. Can a Sunday get any better?! Of course, each excursion deserves its own post, especially since Vallhunds and native birds don’t tend to associate.
Let’s start with the dogs. The walk was scheduled for Ataturk Memorial Park, which sits on the headland of Miramar Peninsula. I’d never been out to that end, so I was excited to see the views (and the cute Val gang, of course).
Here it is on a map.
The day was beautiful, so there was a pretty good turnout.
We began the slow climb uphill from the carpark with the Vallhunds and some miscellaneous other breeds running in circles around us.
Higgs loved this puppy, since he finally found a dog that could outrun him.
The few other walkers we encountered must have been equal parts amazed and amused when they saw such a large pack of funny short-legged dogs.
When we got to the top of the hill, the views looking towards Eastbourne across the harbor were spectacular.
We meandered along toward the tip of Ataturk Park, with the dogs leading the way.
Higgs’s best buds Ryder and Kepler are to the right of him in that last picture.
As we neared the clifftop, we got great views of Miramar’s south coast and the serpentine road we’d just driven in on.
The memorial soon came into view before us at the tip of the peninsula. This spot was chosen because of its resemblance to the cliffs at Gallipoli, where the ANZAC forces fought the Turks in World War I. Luckily, these peaceful cliffs have seen no such bloodshed.
You could see Pencarrow Head across the way, which was where Andy and I took Higgs a couple months ago to visit the twin lighthouses.
The views of Breaker Bay were also fantastic, with the moody lowering clouds reflected in the harbor.
The memorial itself was very moving. To me, it’s incredibly beautiful that there is a memorial to the founder of modern Turkey in this faraway country. It speaks volumes about the attitude and compassion of Kiwis when even former enemies are given a park in one of the most beautiful spots in Wellington. I find it hard to imagine a memorial founded on such amazing mutual forgiveness being erected in many other nations, especially my own, although I’m perhaps a bit biased.
Those heroes that shed their blood and lost their lives… You are now lying in the soil of a friendly country. Therefore rest in peace. There is no difference between the Johnnies and Mehmets to us, where they lie, side by side here in this country of ours… You, the mothers who sent their sons from faraway countries wipe away your tears; your sons are now lying in our bosom and are in peace. After having lost their lives in this land, they have become our sons as well.” – Kemal Ataturk
It was the perfect spot to rest and enjoy the view, although the Vallhunds may have missed the message of the memorial.
After soaking in the glorious eye-candy that is Miramar and the Cook Strait, we made the slow descent back towards the starting point.
There’s that lovely, coast-hugging road again.
We said our Vallhund farewells, and Andy agreed to drive the long way around Miramar so we could see some more seaside vistas as we headed to our chosen lunch spot.
We’d decided (by we, I mean mostly I pestered Andy for several days) to go to Chocolate Fish Cafe for lunch, since I’d been dying to try it ever since first arriving in Welly and hearing about their wonderful seafood.
Don’t let the sign fool you. They serve real seafood, “kai moana” in te reo Maori, not just the chocolate variety.
The views aren’t too bad, either.
Andy went in to make our order while Higgs and I waited, one of us patiently and the other not so much. Can you guess which was which? I’ve been known to get hangry, but this time it was the canine who made a fuss.
Luckily, his dad soon came back.
In minutes, our order came out. It took almost all the restraint I could muster to not gobble up my crayfish (Kiwi for lobster) fritter sandwich before taking a picture. You’ll see I did have to take a bite first, though.
For only $19, it was a steal, especially considering NZ prices! There was a ton of lobster meat inside, and the flavors were simple and perfect.
We’d also ordered a corn fritter sandwich to split, plus the black pudding sandwich Andy had, so we got a chuckle form the waitress. We hadn’t realized how filling it all would be, but who can complain about cheap and delicious food with a view?
As if that wasn’t enough for one day, we still had an afternoon at Zealandia to come. More on that very soon!