Off The Beaten Track in Aotearoa

Wellington on a good day

Wellington New Zealand and the South Coast

Getting oriented: Us (Aotearoa/New Zealand), the Tasman Sea, The Pacific, and that’sAustralia in the top left corner. Inset: Wellington’s south coast.

Wellington, New Zealand’s capital, is the friendliest and prettiest capital city in the world. It’s true I could be biased –  some of my favourite people live there. (You know who you are don’t you – all of you.)

Wellington is famous for its cultural life. I’ve attended my share of plays and shows and concerts there. Some might say more than my share, but I say you can never have enough of a good thing.

Wellington is home to brilliant coffee. I’ve drunk rather a lot of it there. I have my favourite cafes, too many to mention in this post.

I’ve celebrated graduations and birthdays and engagements there. And my largest earthquake yet was a Welly quake. I’m not so sure that’s something to celebrate. Other than I was brave and held myself back from leaping out of bed and running down fourteen flights of stairs while the building swayed … hmmm … lurched is the better word.

They say you can’t have everything and I’ll admit to one small Wellington flaw. You see back in 2011 when The Lonely Planet said ours was the coolest capital in the world they may have been hinting at an unfortunate truth. Wellington is the southernmost capital city in the world. And that means weather. Big weather. Wild weather. The sort of weather poets fill anthologies with. This is a favourite.

Wellington weather turns tanned people pasty in a matter of days. It rains horizontally there. And it blows a gale as often as not,  which can make flying into the airport, well, interesting.

But, ahhh, Welly on a good day … there is no where else like it. Experience it and you will never forget the perfection of blue sky, wet rocks, white crested waves, the zing of the breeze on your skin and the zest of sea air. A day like that imprints itself on your mind’s eye much as daffodils did for Wordsworth. (Check out Prior’s comment on my post, Daffodils, for the stanza in question. If you like what she says visit her at Priorhouse Blog.)

But right now come with me on a good day to the south coast, only ten minutes over the hill from the skyscrapers and the hurry scurry of the business centre, to the Wellington Wellingtonians know.

The view from our table at The Bach

The view from our table at The Bach

Skipping breakfast is not a good idea because sea air is to tummies as spring is to wind. So before we did any exploring brunch was necessary.  The Bach between Owhiro Bay and Island Bay is perfectly situated. The food is yummy and nutritious. I ate an entire plate of home cooked beans. Yes, I’m greedy but it was almost 11am and a long time since dinner. The others had the pancake stack and The Bach breakfast (sausages, eggs, rosti). One of us had the seafood chowder and then ordered the largest caramel slice ever seen.  A taste test was required, so I forced myself to try a mouthful. (The things I put myself through for the sake of my blog!)  I then required a second – just to be sure. I can tell you with the authority that comes from two bites – it was truly caramelly, chocolatey delicious.

Who could resist a walk on a day like this. So cameras in hand we set off towards Island Bay. It’s easy walking. There’s a footpath all the way, but if you want and the tide is right it’s possible to walk on the beach.

Follow us in the slide show from the rocks not far from the cafe, around the corner to Island Bay. We walked as far as the flags, you might just be able to see them in the far right of the second slide.

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The return walk took us about an hour. We ambled, stopping often for photos, to admire the views, to watch the locals on the beach, and to enjoy the remarkable spring weather.

For more walks from around the world visit Restless Jo

39 replies »

  1. My cousin lives in Wellington and I was lucky enough to stay there for a couple of nights a few years back. I thought it was a charming place (his flat was on a hill in Northland and had a superb view over the city). We drove out round the bay and had lunch looking out at the point where the ferries round the corner from the sea – it was so beautiful and unspoilt. Your photos are lovely thanks for sharing them, best wishes Rosemary (Le Chic En Rose) 🙂

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    • Around the bays there is always something to watch and often very good cafes. And you are so right, it is unspoilt which adds to the charm. I enjoy watching the ferries but I have to own up – Cook Strait is notorious for rough water. So, when I go to the South Island I prefer to fly rather than catch the ferry.

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      • I was quite worried about catching the ferry for that reason Jill. We’d been staying with my uncle in Christchurch and then went up to Wellington to see my cousin. I’d had a bad bout of sea sickness out in Milford Sound (out in the ocean not the Sound itself) so was still recovering but in fact we had a very calm crossing though it was raining quite heavily. The day we went out round the bay was lovely and sunny we were very lucky 🙂

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  2. Hi Jill, you sum it up so perfectly in this paragraph: “Welly on a good day … there is no where else like it. Experience it and you will never forget the perfection of blue sky, wet rocks, white crested waves, the zing of the breeze on your skin and the zest of sea air.” It sure does take me back to our monthly creative writing visits in 2008!

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  3. Great walk Jill. Love the slide show. Ah beautiful, windy Wellington I have fond memories of hanging onto a lamppost waiting for the lights to change so I could cross the road without being blown into the traffic. Hoping to visit again in 2015

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  4. I know we’ve had this conversation before Jill, but it all looks wonderfully familiar and not unlike some of the coastline around here. Nor is our weather the best…. 🙂 But will you give me a shout when that house with the boat balcony comes on the market? Even though it’s front and centre for storm force winds and I can’t afford it anyway!

    Maybe someday when I take that world trip I’ll be able to make the comparison… I can dream. Meanwhile, thanks so much for keeping me in touch with Down Under. 🙂

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    • The boat balcony is somethiing, isn’t it, Jo! I reckon if you lived there each time you stepped out the door you’d know you were alive! It’s not the place where you’d ever be complacent about the weather.
      I guess that’s probably the same where you are. Your photo of the coastline near Whitby does look similar.

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  5. oh wow = well I was just reading along and enjoying the post and then saw you noted my blog – awe – ❤ hugs for that – you rock! anyhow, had no idea about the wild weather there – and loved little things – like this "Wellington weather turns tanned people pasty in a matter of days." baha
    peace and thanks again 🙂

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    • Hi Lynne, I think Rosti are like hash browns. Caramel Slice is a bit like a brownie but it has a gooey layer of caramel in the middle. And yes we have a lot of earthquakes. New Zealand is on the Pacific rim of fire so we rock and roll like California.

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