Island Bay – what a start to NZ

1 May

We decided to take advantage of having a midweek bank holiday and go exploring. What with buying a microwave, setting up broadband, phones, working and cooking we’ve not really had a chance to do much touristy stuff apart from visit the Botanical Gardens, which we try to do in every place we go. That was pretty cool as you get to it via a cable car



Despite the horrendous weather, the gardens were beautiful. The highlight was definitely the enormous rose garden


which had some lovely varieties and smelt gorgeous.



We hopped on to the bus to Island Bay and the friendly bus driver told us which way to walk. We’d picked the walk at random off the massive list on the council website but it turned out to be spectacular – the sun was shining on the bay when we got there


and I was taking a million pictures of the black sand of the bay against the mountains that frame the whole of the Wellington coast when a woman came running up to us and asked whether we were interested in seeing dolphins. Interested? I nearly knocked her running to see where she was pointing. A little way out to sea (sadly too far for my camera lens to deal with – first thing on the list when our Aussie tax comes back is a few more lenses to cope with New Zealand’s scenery better!) there was a fishing boat with maybe 150 dolphins following it. A nice man next to us leant us his binoculars so we could see them jumping out of the water behind and in front of the boat, which was amazing. He also told us the best places to walk in Wellington for views which was nice of him.

 It was then onto the main walk with sadly worsening weather but still very dramatic views


A little marred by the consistent stream of 4x4s on the same track but we felt more than a little schadenfreude when one of them got bogged in the sand after driving off the marked tracks :)

We carried on walking for a couple of hours, enjoying the view despite the rain, when we came to a warning sign about hazards…which included seals. We had unwittingly walked all the way to a seal sanctuary! They were very hard to spot (we were rubbish at it and literally had have them pointed out by nearby six year olds) but we eventually saw four live ones and one dead one on the beach.





An absolutely amazing experience to see seals in the wild lazing about on rocks so close. We couldn’t believe our luck. 

Even the rain was ok as I borrowed Craig’s poncho


Sarah? Or Batman?

But it soon cleared up and the walk back was just as beautiful. We stopped off at a little café and had a drink and a caramel slice before getting the bus back in radiant sunshine – typical! Looking forward to doing a lot more sightseeing if today was anything to go by!




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