I’m on my eight day break from work and I’ve been figuring out what I should do with my time for a while now. The weather forecast for the coming week is poor but there was a chance of clear skies today and Tuesday morning so I figured I had better get out for some photos. I’ve been meaning to check out some of the wind farms in the region and one of the biggest, the West Wind farm owned by Meridian, looked like a good bet.
The wind farm is situated west of Wellington on the hills south of Makara Beach and I figured that if there was a sunset Monday evening then there was a chance the farm would catch some nice light. The walk itself didn’t look to tough and seemed to get fairly close to the farm so the Makara Walkway was my destination.
The satnav took me from Lower Hutt out through Johnsonville and then along a winding road through hilly farmland. There were a few one way bridges and single lane sections adding to the interesting drive thoiugh I had to remember to watch the road rather than the scenery.
The road ended at the beach, a wide area flattened off on the stoney foreshore. I got my stuff together and headed south down the beach to where a sign advertised the start of the walkway.
The beginning of the Makara Walkway
The walkway heads around Ohariu Bay and then heads uphill towards some old gun emplacements which are remnants of a WWII fort. The path up was easily seen and was obviously also used regularly by sheep. The recent rain left it a bit slippery and it was steep so I had frequent stops on my way to the top. The track followed a fence though the sheep seemed to be on both sides of the divide.
Looking back to Ohariu Bay
There was one wind turbine close to the track but no sign of any of the others until I reached the gun emplacements. There will be 62 turbines once the farm is finished at the end of the year. The sun was getting much lower and while I was looking at the concrete buildings that once housed the guns the light began to get golden. I had a pleasurable twenty minutes or so trying to get shots of golden hills, wind turbines and Opau Bay.
Looking out to the setting sun and the South Island
Wind Turbines over Opau Bay
I continued on the path, stopping to take some shots before the sun disappeared. The track turned down a valley following an old road, the tarmac beginning to break up and now pretty rough. By the time I got to the end of the road the sun had set but there was still some light in the sky.
The setting sun and the South Island
This part of the Opau Bay beach was jammed up with driftwood which looked quite nice so I took a few photos before heading down over the piled wood and stones to the black sand nearer the water. I was able to get a couple more photos before deciding that the fading light meant I should be heading back.
The nice after-sun glow
The walk back took longer than I had imagined, the disappearing light making me slow down to ensure I wasn’t twisting an ankle or worse. I passed another figure down the beach also taking photos and was later caught up by this man whose name was Lance. He told me I had chosen my day well, there hadn’t been a decent sunset here in about a month. It took about an hour to walk from the driftwood at Opau Bay back to the car. I’ll have to come back here again, next time Keryn can come along for the walk as well and there is a cafe at Makara Beach that looks worth checking out as well.
There are more photos on our Flickr photo stream which can be seen here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/brendonkeryn/. The photos can also be seen a lot larger on Flickr.