Tag Archives: botanical gardens

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!




Brisvegas baby!

3 Apr

Got back to Brizzie at 11.30pm having gone via Perth (the most economical route – going allllllll the way down South and then allllllllllll the way across the entire country, makes sense!). Our foster cat, Winchester, who technically lives next door but whose heart clearly belongs to us showed up to say hello in his cranky “mraaaaak” voice that we love. He’s clearly missed us


The way I feel about Winchester assures me I will make an excellent mother.

We have been very, very lazy for the last few days – a combination of not wanting to spend money whilst we’re not earning and the pleasure of being able to do absolutely nothing if we felt like it – but we did walk to Manly (via Lota, it’s clearly been a long time and our internal satnav has gone haywire) to see my step-dad’s parents which was a nice afternoon. So was the fact they insisted on giving us a lift home, saving us a two hour walk :)

We therefore felt it was time to peel ourselves off the sofa and watching reruns of ‘Biggest Loser Australia’ (which we were in shocking danger of being in need to be on) so, as our friend Daniel had lent us a car, we decided to visit Brisbane Sculpture Park on the recommendation of a friend. It was a bit nerve-wracking as it’s a manual car and I haven’t driven a manual for ten years (bar a few months in a ute in Alice, a totally different beast), but a few over-revs aside, it was alright. We got to the ‘sculpture park’ to find it was an artist’s house which he used to sell his sculptures and you had to make an appointment beforehand so we binned that idea and took a drive into the Tamborine mountains. These were ridiculously gorgeous – rainforests and wild flowers everywhere. Despite Craig’s enthusiasm to go hang gliding, my chronic fear of heights got the better of me and we went to the skywalk through the rainforest instead. “Ooooh look at that down there!” Through gritted teeth: “Ooooh that’s lovely!” “You probably need to open your eyes to see that” “I’m OK thanks!”

I do not enjoy how much Craig is enjoying my pain here


Then it was off to the botanical gardens close by




which were stunning although we’d obviously just missed their main flowering season. Worth a visit all the same.

After that, we decided to top off our Day of Fun with a visit to the glow worm caves. Sadly they don’t let you take pictures but it was amazing – 3,500 glow worms in pitch black, in little bunches like constellations (a sneaky trick to make flies think they’re flying towards the sky until they get stuck in the worms’ little sticky web-like things they produce). Apparently there’s a big population of them in NZ in the wild so will hopefully be able to get some good pictures there.

Talking of which, after being in limbo for two weeks whilst things like UK references were sorted out navigating a thirteen hour time difference and a ‘breach of privacy’ from the company I’ve applied for which has resulted in their IT systems being shut down, I finally got the news that I have got the job! Comparable money to what I was on in the UK, HOLIDAY PAY and 9-5. So although it means going back to the office, it will enable us to save up some cash before going home.

Next chapter in our Big Book of Adventures: Wellington


Might have to change the name of the blog…