We enjoyed a very pleasant few days last weekend in the Little town of Martinborough in the Wairarapa Region and in Wellington, the capital of New Zealand.
We stayed in the little town of Martinborough (about 90 minutes drive from Wellington) for two nights at this very nice boutique hotel. Martinborough is the centre of the wine growing area in the Wairarapa district and is noted for its Pinot Noir. I find that NZ wines are quite expensive. Some of the wines that we tasted at the cellar door sold for over $NZ45 per bottle. (about $A36). They were nice wines, but their price is a reflection of the fact that the wineries there are very small in size and cannot achieve the economies of scale that larger business in other countries would be able to achieve.
On a drive down to a nearby beach, we came across this old shearing shed. It has certainly seen better days, but it reflects the long agricultural history of New Zealand and the importance of sheep in its economy.
This lighthouse at Cape Palliser, has been automated since 1996. It provides a great lookout along the coast and climbing the 250 steps to the top is no mean feat. Originally, the lighthouse keepers had to navigate a slippery track around the rocks and up the cliff face.
In a little nearby cove, we found dozens of New Zealand Fur Seals. They were very active, and many of the young ones were frolicking in the water. It reminded me of my recent trip to South Georgia, where we saw similar seals on nearly every beach, headland and bay that we visited.
Near Cape Palliiser is this little fishing village where the locals launch their boats across the beach from boat trailers using old crawler tractors.
At a place named Lake Ferry is a pub with a wide veranda that overlooks Lake Onoke. Traditionally the publican was required to offer a ferry service across the lake, but that seems not to be the case any more. It is a typical NZ grazing district.
Wellington, with a population of about 210,000m people is a very nice little city. This street, Lambton Quay, used to be the original shoreline of the harbour and is the main shopping area in downtown Wellington.
North of Wellington is the town of Waikanai. People living their seem very fond of their gardens as most of the ones that we saw were very well kept. This is the town beach which provides a safe place to swim..
Further north, is the little town with the simple name of ‘Bulls’. The town is named after James Bull, who founded the town and owned the first general store there. Nearby, we came across this rather run down milking shed. The local joke is that none of the shops in the town sell milk as ‘you can’t get milk from bulls’.