Wellington – the ‘coolest little capital in the world’

Wellingtonians are secretly quite chuffed to be known by the Lonely Planet Guide as the ‘coolest little capital in the world’.  Of course, we know that it’s quite true, and it makes a change from being famous as the windiest city in the world (which is also quite true).   In the last couple of months I’ve been adding to my collection of Wellington photos.  So here are a few more.

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Carterton ‘Home Sweet Home’

All towns have their charm and Carterton, in the Wairarapa is no exception. On a recent visit I rode around on my bike and photographed the houses and cottages that caught my eye. They are a fairly representative sample of much of  New Zealand architecture from the late 1800s to the 1950s or so.

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Wairarapa skies

The region of Wairarapa, just over the Rimutaka hills (mountains really) and heading north has a special place in my heart.  The flat plain is flanked by hills to the west and east and the sky overhead is open and often dramatic – particularly at sunrise and sunset.  When there’s a gale blowing. The results can be incredible.

This is a sampling from my recent visit.

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Kapiti Coast (from Paekakariki near Wellington)

About half an hour’s drive north of Wellington you hit the Kapiti Coast – on the western side of the North Island.  It’s a great spot at any time of the year and no matter where you look, you see Kapiti Island – a reserve for native birds and plants.  The beach is great for a walk any time of the year – grey sand and dunes for as far as you can see in either direction.  Out across the water, is the island.

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Picton (upper South Island)

Picton is the ferry terminal for ships traveling between the two islands.  On my last day in the South Island, I drove up to Karaka Point – it was pretty overcast and there was clearly not going to be a decent sunset.  But I just caught the tail end of a yacht race as the sailors headed for home in front of the rain.  There is also a photo of Endeavour Inlet, which is the the passage channel for the ferries.

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Lake Rotoiti area (upper South Island)

A few days based at lake Rotoiti reminded me just how beautiful our bush and lakes are.  The walks around the lake, and along the nearby rivers are alive with birdsong.  The black robins and fan tails (piwakawaka) follow the walkers about, hoping they’ll dislodge a few insects as they brush past branches and twigs.  It was a rainy period, so the skies were lovely and the autumn colours were just at their peak.

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Tata Beach, Golden Bay

So, Easter and another trip with the caravan and the camera.  This time, I saw a bit more of Golden Bay, spending time at Tata Beach before heading down to Nelson Lakes and then up to Picton and back to Wellington.

Tata Beach is a little half moon bay, with golden sand and rocky outposts at either end.  At dawn, each morning, the local cormorants (shags) gather for a bit of a clean up, chatter and organise themselves for a day’s fishing.  They line up almost like soldiers as they get ready to head out.

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