Sunday, January 27, 2008

Holy Makara!

Yep, it's a cheesy Batman-esque pun . But some names just lend themselves to those, don't you think?

Last weekend we took advantage of more lovely, summer weather to go for a short hike in near Makara Beach, on the west coast of Wellington. It's about a half-hour drive from the city through mainly farmland.

The first hour of the walk takes you uphill, until you are rewarded with dazzling views over the Tasman Sea. The water was unusually calm, and stunningly blue.
We stopped for lunch at the old gun emplacements on top of the cliffs. This would have been a good place to defend the capital from a marine invasion approaching from, I dunno, Australia I guess. It was a clear enough day to make out the mountains on the South Island (which is pretty much directly west of Wellington) which don't seem to have any snow left on the peaks at this point. That's good news for our upcoming trip down that way!After descending by an old access road (for the gun emplacements and some barracks I presume) we returned via the rocky beach, which was loaded with driftwood. There were a few brief stops to skip rocks, which were generally deemed "not flat enough." The beach is also a great place for collecting paua shells. Paua is a type of abalone only found in New Zealand, and people take them as food (although this is, in theory, pretty strictly regulated). The shells are traditionally used as decoration in Maori carvings because of their colourful mother-of-pearl inner sheen. But they are mainly made into jewellery these days. However, people diving for paua as food sometimes throw away the shells, leaving them on the beach for scavengers like us. These are the two I deemed worth keeping.

Less than two weeks to go now until we're off to the South Island. I hope this great weather continues!


Frank and Sue said...

Wow, what a great day trip. Those views looked fantastic. The shells look very much like abalone. We snorkle for them while we holiday at Blanket Bay (on the GOW) Great eating when cooked quickly on the barby!

Maple Kiwi said...

Paua is a variety of abalone. So I'm not surprised the shells look familiar. Mmmm, fresh seafood on the barby...