A big boat, driving and a forest walk

Our December family holiday saw us take an early morning ferry from Wellington heading to the South Island. Earlier in the year I had won a return sailing with Bluebridge and our first journey across Cook Strait was taken on the Strait Feronia. We spent a lot of time in the family room which we had nearly to ourselves and Alayna enjoyed climbing over the ride on toys and the furniture.

Climbing into a window

Climbing into a window

Once we entered the Marlborough Sounds it was outside to soak up some sun and wander the many decks. On the top deck there was a large open area that was perfect for running around and jumping. We also had a look around at the different sights and sounds both on the ship and in the Sounds.

Jump!

Jump!

Run around

Run around

Trucks

Trucks

No Entry

No Entry

Marlborough Sounds skyline

Marlborough Sounds skyline

Arriving at Picton we were going to stop to get some supplies but Alayna quickly fell asleep so we just drive onward to Blenheim and did our shopping there instead, Alayna continuing to snooze. Then we were back on the road and heading inland towards the Nelson Lakes region and our destination for the next few nights St Arnaud.

We stayed at Travers-Sabine Lodge which is a tidy hostel. There were not many other people staying which helped keep the place quiet as well. This also meant we could take up a decent amount of shared fridge space without upsetting anyone. We had a private room containing three bunk beds and Alayna had a great time climbing ladders and mucking around on the top bunks. SO while Alayna played we unpacked the car and got ready for a walk.

Heading out the back of the lodge we had direct access to the Black Valley walkway which ran alongside the Black Valley stream towards its source at Lake Rotoiti. Our first wildlife encounter happened soon after we started walking upstream and watched an adult weka walk across the stream closely followed by three juveniles. All four weka seemed none too concerned by us as we watched them wander by.

Lake Rotoiti views

Lake Rotoiti views

After taking in the view down the lake we chose to walk the Honeydew Walk which took us from the lake shore into Rotoiti Nature Recovery Area. A pleasant time was had slowly walking through verdant beech forest listening to the constant chime of bellbirds and marveling at Alayna’s singing from her perch in the backpack.

Lancewood

Lancewood

Out for a walk

Out for a walk

Inspecting the path

Inspecting the path

Trees and sky

Trees and sky

Alayna was walking a lot of the time and enjoying her cruskits and other snacks. We’ve been encouraging her to listen to the sounds of the forest, touch the trees and plants and look at any wildlife we find. One insect that made its presence felt, especially near the lake, was the sandfly. We soon remembered that insect repellent is a must in this area.

Alayna portrait

Alayna portrait

Looking down the path

Looking down the path

Ridgeline

Ridgeline

The rusty gate

The rusty gate

As the evening came one we were on our way back to the lodge, stopping a few times for photos and to check out interesting things like the wee orchids growing next to the track or the lovely old gate that guarded a path leading into a dark grove of trees. Then it was the normal routine of dinner and the “put Alayna to bed” game (I’m sure Alayna thinks its a game anyway).

A photowalk and Bird of the Year

With longer days and the promise of warmer weather we’ve been getting out and about making the most of the opportunities outdoors. Earlier this month was the latest Scott Kelby worldwide photowalk and the Wellington event took place in Petone. This was the first time Keryn and Alayna have joined in and we set off from the Petone wharf as a family.

It quickly became apparent that walking with Alayna meant I would be working any photography around what Alayna wanted to do. Fair enough, as a 2 year old Alayna has a lot of impulses so if Dad wants to take a photograph over there and Alayna would prefer to be doing something elsewhere then Dad needs to adjust. So adjust I did and in the end we adjusted the planned walk around Alayna’s desire to first play in the sand and then play on the playground later on.

Alayna and the sand

Alayna and the sand

Lets all walk on the beach

Lets all walk on the beach

At the playground

At the playground

Taking a seat

Taking a seat

We were never going to make it around the whole walk as planned so we turned back after the playground and made our way back to the end point which was the Sprig & Fern on Jackson Street. There we had a drink or two and ate chips and pizza. Alayna ate chips, lots of chips. Alayna would like everyone to know she likes chips. We caught up with a few friends form the walk and also said hello to Janice and Mike Hay who just happened to turn up as well.

We’ve also been to Zealandia and managed to show Alayna a few interesting animals. First up was a nesting kereru that had chosen a nest site very close to the main track and was easily visible. There was a small group of people having a look and we got to also have a good look and show Alayna the kereru calmly sitting on the nest.

Nesting kereru

Nesting kereru

Moving on we found a chilled out tuatara sunning itself at Tui Terrace. We could get quite close without disturbing the tuatara though Alayna declared she was scared so we made sure to stay at a distance that was comfortable for both wildlife and daughter.

Checking out the tuatara

Checking out the tuatara

More walking took us to bridges that Alayna liked to stomp over and lots of plants and flowers to feel and smell. We saw more birds including a couple of obviously well feed kereru feeding in a small kowhai tree.

Feeding kereru

Feeding kereru

Kowhai in flower

Kowhai in flower

We were running out of time so made sure we were on our way back to the main gate before it closed for the day. Alayna and Keryn checked out the gecko enclosure while I wandered nearby to check out some calling tieke. I was lucky enough to see a pair jumping and flying in-between a couple of trees and ignoring me as they investigated nooks and crannies for bugs.

Looking for food

Looking for food

Tieke calling

Tieke calling

Which leads to the last point, its Bird of the Year time again. Forest and Bird have for a number of years now run a light hearted popularity contest where the public can vote on which New Zealand native bird deserves to be bird of the year. Zealandia has thrown its might behind the kaka this year and currently its a respectable second behind the bar tailed godwit. If you want to see the contestants and perhaps learn a little about our native birds head to the Bird of the Year website and choose a favourite, you’ve got until 5pm on Sunday October 25th to vote.

And now 2

Alayna is now 2 years old which meant a party and lots of celebrating. Alayna recieved lots of cool presents including loads of clothes, many great books and games (the fishing game from Aunty Bridget and the clan Burdett is fantastic). There were a number of gifts that were made rather than bought such as the wonderful rocking horse from Phil and Elaine and the sandpit that I made with a design adapted by Keryn from free plans found on the Internet. Keryn also made a lot of things such as a doll that she’ll detail at some point. In the meantime here are some of Alayna’s new things.

The rocking horse made by Grandad Bainbridge

The rocking horse made by Grandad Bainbridge

Doll outfit 2 - front

The doll Keryn made (including the clothes)

Earl photobombs

Earl photobombs

Happy with her new sandpit

Happy with her new sandpit

With the arrival of spring we’ve had a few lovely weekend days and we’ve been spending some more time outdoors. The weekend just gone saw the annual tulip day at the Wellington Botanical Gardens and we went along to check out the events. Unfortunately (for me anyway) I took my camera but left the memory card at home. So instead of photos from the day we’ll have to make do with photos from the previous weekend visit where Alayna had a grand old time at the gardens playground.

Playground portrait

Playground portrait

Climbing

Climbing

Looking up

Looking up

Sliding

Sliding down

Springtime sniffing

Springtime sniffing

Fun with petals

Fun with petals

Running around at the Botanical Gardens sound shell

Running around at the Botanical Gardens sound shell

Re:Lux

We’ve now visited the Lux festival three times this week. On Wednesday evening there was some rain about so I headed into the city to try and get some photos of lights and reflections. Unfortunately (for me anyway) the rain was light and didn’t hang around so there wasn’t much in the way of pools of water or wet surfaces. Mid week and quite late there were not a lot of people around so I had plenty of time and space to play with.

Rube

Rube by Ian Hammond, Johann Nortje and BMD

Rube was worth spending some time watching. The artwork painted on the wall was given a storytelling element through the use of projected light and sound with different parts of the art lit up and animated. Even on a quiet night there was a small crowd staring up and watching.

Laces

The Laces by Jamie Roberts and Peter Fraser (WCC Urban Design Team)

Probably my favourite lightwork this year is the Tree labelled The Feast of Lights. As intentioned it is first seen framed by a building down a long laneway. Up close it appears like some otherworldly free grabbed from a James Cameron movie. It’s strange and while alone with it I just stood and watched it, slowly moving around and looking at the interaction with the industrial structure surrounding it.

A lack of water

A lack of water

As mentioned I’d hoped for water to allow for reflections. Above is what I ended up with. Better luck next year maybe?

There was an increased interactive element to many of this years lightworks. Circular Ruins looked like a basic henge or simple pillars of light. With movement from the viewer the pillars became a circular geometric enclosure of light. Trying to capture it on camera involved a lot of experimentation and spinning on the spot.

Pulse

Pulse by Daniel K. Brown and Mark K. Johnson

The photo above is only one side of the Pulse installation. I hope if future years more is done with the underside of the wharfs. On a still night the lights on the water were eerie, especially when combined with a stirring piece of music.

The lightwork Vessels of Light reminded me a miniature Weather Project. I think it’d be good to see in a larger space but the small room made out of shipping containers was intimate and interesting to explore.

Tension

Tension by Angus Muir Design and AJ Design Co.

VS 300

VS 300 by Visual System and Thomas Vaquié

More interaction with the little suns that populated this wall. Playing with light was a popular pastime for the passing crowd.

Aura

Aura by Philips Design

Aura was still a lot of fun and there was much experimentation trying to change the sound and light. The sense that people were creating something new and interesting drew in an audience and everyone wanted to have a turn.

Another night and we decided to visit again with Alayna. While Keryn waited in a queue for food I wheeled Alayna around in her pram. We checked out the glowing night time incarnation of Carrello del Gelato with the added bonus of getting away from the light but cool breeze. By the time we decided we actually wanted to sample some incandescent gelato the queues were long enough that the thought of waiting in the cool wasn’t worth it. Thankfully the souvlaki from the Greek Food Truck was excellent.

Glowing icecream

Glowing icecream

Souvlaki anyone?

Souvlaki anyone?

First facepainting

First face-painting

We took the opportunity to see if Alayna would be interested in face painting. Alayna was a little shy but let the woman paint a small flower on her cheek after first watching Keryn receive her own little artwork. We needed a mirror so Alayna could inspect the flower, instead Alayna was happy to play with the chalk and glowing blocks.

Happy at play

Happy at play

Lets go boating!

Lets go boating!

We came across the wandering Light Swan a few times. It was a challenge to get a decent photo and I was rather obsessed at times, something that didn’t help Keryn or Alayna as they had to stay nearby and pretty much just get cold. I need to learn to be faster :)

Playing with chalk

Playing with chalk

Alayna got to spend some time playing with more glowing chalk and she enjoyed crawling over the boards. She also enjoyed watching the nearby incandescent twister, though I think she mainly wanted to just spin the arrow.

Jelly Bloom

Jelly Bloom by Cameron Brodie, Dylan Cole, Ollie Orme-Dudman, Dani Cunningham, and Sam Bazalo

Inspecting one of many suns

Inspecting one of many little suns

And finally there were the mysterious cats. Aloof and constantly on the move I thought we’d missed a good photo opportunity but then as we were nearly back at the car they appeared walking towards us. Alayna was quite taken with the glowing felines, for their part they glanced our way and continued on their way.

Mysterious cats

Mysterious cats

A glowing profile

A glowing profile

Lux is back

A beautiful and calm winters evening last Friday saw the return of the Wellington Lux festival for 2015. I’d read about a free workshop for creating fairies in a jar so while
Keryn went and signed us up Alayna and I took a quick trip to Moore Wilsons to buy a suitable jar. The workshop was set up in a shipping container at the Lux Festival hub in Odlins Plaza. Constructing fairies in a jar was simple. There were a variety of glow sticks on hand and we selected a couple and then emptied them into the jar followed by a generous amount of glitter. With the jar sealed there was some vigorous shaking and then we were done, a jar filled with sparkly, glowing fairies.

Keryn and Alayna admire their work

Keryn and Alayna admire their work

Looking at the lights of Odlins Plaza

Looking at the lights of Odlins Plaza

We had a good dinner from one of the many food trucks encircling Odlins Plaza and then wandered along the waterfront checking out a few of the Lux installations. Alayna enjoyed walking across a bridge and peaking through the holes in the structure.

Blue Bridge Alayna

Blue Bridge Alayna

The neon bridge (TENSION)

The neon bridge (TENSION)

The Feed the Kids too was being treated as a mini-maze by the passing crowd with a constant stream of people pushing through the strung up lunchboxes. The susurrous made by the constant movement was a background soundtrack punctuated by laughter and giggles as children raced around the central tree.

Watching people wandering through FEED THE KIDS TOO (CAPITAL)

Watching people wandering through FEED THE KIDS TOO (CAPITAL)

We watched a woman walking around wearing an outfit that seemed to resemble a neon deep sea jellyfish, the organic bouncing of the glowing dress adding to the oddness.

Jellyfish girl

Jellyfish girl

We joined a crowd mesmerised by the sights and sounds of Aura. Stepping into the open container individuals would face a glowing speaker on a stand and conduct an orchestra of sound and light by moving their hands in front of the open speaker face. Quiet and delicate, loud and brash, the emanating audio and pulsating glow would change for each different person and their gesticulating.

Staring at the AURA

Staring at the AURA

Conducting the AURA

Conducting the AURA

There were many interactive installations and the Spreading a Little Sun wall have a magnet for those passing by. A wall of miniature suns that were turned on and off by the crowd the warm glow was inviting and drew everyone in (when they could reach it through the pressed mass).

The crowd interacts with SPREADING A LITTLE SUN

The crowd interacts with SPREADING A LITTLE SUN

The last spot for us was the cicle of lights called Circular Ruins. Alayna stood by one of the pillars and touched the lit surface, perhaps trying to figure out what it was. Soon after we were back at the car and then heading home, Alayna quickly asleep after her late night. We’ll be back for another visit.

Alayna inspects one of the CIRCULAR RUINS pillars

Alayna inspects one of the CIRCULAR RUINS pillars

Swimming and Ballet

Weekends at the moment are organised around activities for Alayna. On Saturday we attend swimming classes in Whitby, we’ve tried a few different swimming classes now and while they’ve all been good the Ally Todd swim school is probably our favourite. Alayna still loves the water and her favourite parts are jumping into and being jumped out of the water. I think its fair to say that Alayna is simply very comfortable in the water but there is plenty for her to learn.

Happy in the water

Happy in the water

and JUMP!

and JUMP!

Sunday mornings we’re been attending Ballet is for Everyone classes in Wellington. Set up by a group of people who wanted to provide ballet lessons without a rigid structure or the requirement of a long term commitment they suit us well as we didn’t know if Alayna would even be interested. The classes are all volunteer run and organised, I ended up volunteering time to take photos at the first lessons and since then Alayna has been to three lessons. Today we were talking about giving lessons a break for a while as Alayna hadn’t shown any interest in joining in and then today we had a breakthrough.

Spin!

Spin!

Center or attention

Center of attention

Dancing with mum

Dancing with mum

The lesson we were booked in for finished and then all of a sudden Alayna was off running around the room and having a ball. We were able to stick around for the next lesson and it was great with Alayna joining in, enjoying herself and starting to pick up on some of the instruction. So we’ll keep going and will have to contribute some more (donations are possible via a Givealittle page).

Taking part

Taking part

Dancing on her own time

Dancing on her own time

Dancing with Daddy

Dancing with Daddy

Zoo portraits

Keryn and I are now zoo crew members with Alayna getting to visit for free until she gets to her 3rd birthday. On a cool and showery Sunday we visited the zoo and checked out (and were checked out by) the occupants. With every visit Alayna is getting more and more engaged and this time she had a good time watching the chimpanzees getting some lunch and the very active cheetah. The otter brothers were also a favourite, diving underwater while Alayna watched from the glass view port. The longest and most enthusiast speech I’ve heard from Alayna took place later that day at home when I asked her about the zoo and she told me about the chimpanzees cuddling and eating their apples and (other stuff I didn’t quite understand but it was really exciting!) :) .

Got to chew first

Got to chew first

Under the rock

Little blue penguins sheltering under a rock

Preening

Preening

The friendly centipede

The friendly centipede

Red Panda youngster

Red Panda youngster

The cheetah stare

The cheetah stare

Center of attention

Center of attention

Orange for lunch

Orange for lunch

A foreign visitor

A foreign visitor

Recycled drums

Recycled drums

Otter sandwich

Otter sandwich

Watching / watched

Watching / watched

Alayna visits Wellington Zoo

Last week Alayna had a couple of days at home as she wasn’t really well enough for daycare. We both looked after her for a day and on my sick day we went to the zoo. This wasn’t perhaps the most obvious choice as it was a cold and wet winter’s day but I had Alayna wrapped up nice and warm with her raincoat keeping the rain at bay.

Inspecting a tuatara

Inspecting a tuatara

Alayna liked getting close to any animal that was nearby and was happy enough being pushed in the pram or being carried. We managed to avoid most of the rain and had the zoo nearly to ourselves. At lunchtime we had some hot chips for a snack and the woman who served us was more than happy to have someone to talk to, we were only her third customers of the day.

Captivated by the tiger

Captivated by the tiger

Tiger cuddles

Tiger cuddles

Taking in the view

Taking in the view

Another lizard to inspect

Another lizard to inspect

Alayna's pet tarantula

Alayna’s pet tarantula

The pram!

The pram!

A golden lion tamarin

A golden lion tamarin

The otter brothers

The otter brothers

After a sleep and some proper lunch Alayna was well on the way to good health in the afternoon and we had some good fun at home. Alayna likes putting on hats and clothing when she’s in a good mood and here we have her enjoying putting on her sunglasses and then checking out her reflection in the mirrored finish of the oven.

Afternoon styling

Afternoon styling

Mirror mirror...

Mirror mirror…

The summer had to end sometime

It has been a glorious summer of warm weather, lots of sunshine and little wind. It would appear that this has ended today with the advent of heavy rain and high winds, normal service resuming. That all said some rain will be welcome in the garden.

Over the last month we’ve been out visiting a few fairs and festivals and have also been starting to get into a DIY mindset (while working through some planning differences between what we want to do and what the local developer will allow). First up was the Newtown Fairand we had a pleasant morning walk looking at all the stalls and entertainment on show.

Smiling happy people

Smiling happy people

Dancing with a smile

Dancing with a smile

Balloon entertainment

Balloon entertainment

We also spent an afternoon at the first Cuba Duba festival in Wellington. There were theatrics, music, a huge variety of street food and stages full of interesting entertainment. We didn’t manage to see Spanish hair wizards Osadia at work but their work was always crowd stopping as those who had been worked on wandered the festival turning heads and drawing compliments.

Different festival, more joyful dancing

Different festival, more joyful dancing

Hairdressing at another level

Hairdressing at another level

The dragon and El Matador

The dragon and El Matador

Street parade

Street parade

Red rose petals

Red rose petals

A change of pace had Keryn designing a planter box and after purchasing the required wood and a few new tools I was set the task of constructing the piece. An afternoon and mornings work and we had a new planter box ready for filling.

Watching mum measuring her design

Watching mum measuring her design

Happy days

Happy days

The finished planter

The finished planter

And sometime during all this Alayna decided that crawling wasn’t the transportation be-all and end-all and has started walking :)

Walking!

Walking!

February highlights

It’s been a busy February so far with lots of things happening including my 40th birthday. Rather than go into any detail here’s a few photographic highlights instead.

Walking at Zealandia:

Taking in the view

Taking in the view

Happy wee girl

Happy wee girl

Curious robin

Curious robin

Takahe

Takahe

Camping at Kaitoke:

Testing the bounce

Testing the bounce

The new Kaitoke arch

The new Kaitoke arch

Dragonfly girl

Dragonfly girl

DInner

Dinner

Kaitoke camping

Kaitoke camping

Breakfast

Breakfast

Chinese New Year:

Year of the Snake

Alayna was born in the Year of the Snake and Keryn is decorating a snake mask

Plimmerton fish and chips:

Plimmerton sunset one

Plimmerton sunset one

Plimmerton sunset two

Plimmerton sunset two

Walking in Wellington on my birthday:

Cricket highlights

Cricket highlights

Performance space

Performance space

The start of something

The start of something

Te Papa art

Te Papa art

Daylight flotsam Venice & The Drop

Daylight flotsam Venice & The Drop

Back to Zealandia:

Dragonfly

Dragonfly

Exploring Zealandia

Exploring Zealandia

Tieke

Tieke

P?wakawaka

P?wakawaka

Korimako

Korimako

Night time at the Pauatahanui Inlet:

Pauatahanui night

Pauatahanui night

Stars and harakeke

Stars and harakeke

The Plimmerton kite festival:

Plimmerton kite festival

Plimmerton kite festival

Alayna's favourite

Alayna’s favourite

Killer whale encounter

Killer whale encounter

Miniature Huts – Part three

A beautiful and breezy Wellington Anniversary summers day was the chosen time for us to complete our Miniature Hut collection. We had so far found five and only had two to go. First up was the DOC Hut located on Matiu/Somes Island and that meant a ferry ride.

We met up with Pauline in Petone and then drove out to Days Bay figuring that it was a shorter journey to the island and we have better luck with parking. The ferry arrived just a little late and it was a short and easy trip over to the island. We were greeted by the DOC ranger and a couple of volunteers from Eastbourne who took us through the quarantine checks (Any seeds? Nope; Any ants? Nope; Anything else like a mouse? Nope) and gave us a quick background on the islands history and what we might expect to see. All done we were on our own to explore.

As suggested we took the track that circled the island and walked in an anticlockwise (and more buggy friendly) direction. There was plenty of wildlife on view with gulls swooping around on the swirling wind, lots of other birds heard but not seen in the low canopy and numerous skinks sunning themselves at the edge of the track and disappearing in a flash as we approached. We also spotted (thanks to a tip from a couple we passed in our travels) a young male tuatara reclining in the shade near one of the lookout points.

A path side skink in the sun

A path side skink in the sun

The relaxed tuatara

The relaxed tuatara

A kakariki hiding in the foliage

A kakariki hiding in the foliage

We diverted to visit the lighthouse and checked out the nearby weta hotel which was fully booked with eleven tree weta all cosy and packed in tight. If we’d been a little more observant we’d have seen the DOC hut in the distance on the track as it continued around the island but it made little difference as five minutes later we were walking right by it perched on the side of the path.

There was a door on the track side of the hut which was unlocked through the use of a small sliding bolt. Inside was the usual log book and a few other bits and pieces including a book called “The Taming of the Crew” which had a nautical theme. Inside was a bunk bed and the huts had windows taking in the view over the little bay below, Wellington Harbour and the city in the distance.

DOC Hut family photo

DOC Hut family photo

A Hut with a smashing view

A Hut with a smashing view

Room for two (dolls)

Room for two (dolls)

Alayna gives the hut scale

Alayna gives the hut scale

Alayna quite liked the pictures of yachts in the Taming of the Crew book and managed to figure out how to open and close the bolt on the door after a bit of playing around. She also wanted to check out the water reservoir that would be filled with rain funnelled off the roof into the guttering if we’d had any rain recently so instead there was a green sludge which wasn’t something Alayna needed to play with.

After a family photo or two we moved on and stopped at the next picnic table in a shady spot for some lunch. Then we spent a few hours wandering around the rest of the island. Alayna’s favourite spot was the concrete fountain in a clearing on the east side of the island that was full of a ducklings taking a swim. They were very trusting ducklings and their mum was unconcerned by our presence so Alayna was able to get very close and watch her favourite birds relaxing in the water.

Alayna, Keryn and Pauline on Matiu/Somes Island

Alayna, Keryn and Pauline on Matiu/Somes Island

The view from the summit

The view from the summit

Ducks!

Ducks!

The ferry ride back to Days Bay was again short and sweet. Days Bay was a hive of activity with a constant stream of people jumping off the wharf and then swimming back to the steps to then repeat their dives. The beach was full of people sunning themselves and the boat shop at the end of the pier had a large line of people queuing for ice-cream. It was summer in a picture so naturally I didn’t take a photo, some things need to be remembered in the mind.

We now had one last hut to find and we ended up driving to an out-of-the-way corner of Aro Valley to follow a path into a leaf strewn forest, it was like entering a sylvan world transported into a corner of Wellington.

Cute Aro Valley House

Cute Aro Valley House

The otherworldly forest

The otherworldly forest

Ethereal butterflies

Ethereal butterflies

The path gently rose up the valley crossing a steam back and forth as the trees got taller and the spots of light passing through the canopy became fewer and fewer. We came to a clearing that had a single chair and a strung rope tied with ribbons and cloth hanging still as there was no wind. In a tall tree we saw fabric butterflies illuminated in a shaft of light. The path continued away from the clearing still following the stream and in a dim area nestled underneath a tree sat the Crystal Hut, we’d found the last one.

As the name would indicate the hut was covered in blocky crystal growths looking like it had grown in place from some strange blue chemistry set. There was a door with a crystal handle and this hinged up to reveal the final log book. Alayna had a go at leaving her mark and then we were done.

Signing the log book

Signing the log book

The Crystal Hut

The Crystal Hut

All I can say is Wellington needs more little artworks of wonder such as the Miniature Hut trail and everyone should visit as least one. You’ll see parts of Wellington you probably never knew existed and you’ll meet interesting people and see things you won’t expect. Kemi Niko & Co thank you very much, I can’t wait to see what you come up with in the future!

Miniature Huts – Part two

After a morning of chores and a little bit of footy practice the afternoon was set aside for some more hiking around Wellington in search of Miniature Huts. There are two huts on the south coast so we targeted them, starting with the Robin Hut to be found somewhere near Red Rocks.

Parking at the Red Rocks carpark has become a bit more difficult lately with the influx of tourists taking advantage of the free camping status. We managed to find a spot and after a quick look at the view it was off walking.

Looking towards the Red Rocks walkway

Looking towards the Red Rocks walkway

The instructions for finding this hut said to take a track up from the beach onto the plateau below the old quarry. The landscape was all grasses and low shrubs, no doubt the occasional gale force southerly discourages anything more substantial. This made finding the hut fairly straightforward and we we further helped by the bright orange colour of the wee building. There was another clever spot for the log book, this time the chimney had a roof that came off revealing the book and few other little nicknack’s like a couple of little plastic animals.

The Robin Hut

The Robin Hut

We let Alayna investigate and once again she was interested in the log book, leafing through and then using the pen to have a play (no drawing this time). Keryn showed Alayna the south side window and Alayna was then keen to have a good look, getting up close to see what was inside. The miniature hut them continued on the inside with a tiny table, bunk bed, pots and pans and other things you’d expect to find in your everyday back-country accommodation. All of the huts so far have had fantastic attention to detail and construction, they’d last well beyond the end of March if left I should think.

Alayna going through the log book

Alayna going through the log book

Taking a closer look

Taking a closer look

The wind was picking up so we got all our gear together, helped Alayna into her backpack and headed back to the carpark.

The view back to the carpark

The view back to the carpark

The next target was near the eastern most point of the Wellington south coast road at Tarakena Bay. We knew that the Tarakena Trail hut was the smallest of the seven and there was a note on the website that people had reported that this hut had gone missing so we were ready for a bit of careful searching. The logbook was housed separately and was easily found on the Tarakena Trail itself but as expected it took us quite some time to find the hut.

The Tarakena Trail logbook

The Tarakena Trail logbook

With little to no cellphone reception we were without our maps so we ended up going too far on the trail. Alayna and I wandered the rocks and checked out every nook and cranny while Keryn stayed closer to the trail and tried to find a view that matched the photos we had seen. In the end we backtracked to the log book and searched the coastline back towards the carpark and this finally brought us to the hut which was perched on a rocky outcrop and fairly obviously with its rich red paint job.

Easy to miss

Easy to miss

Nestled in the rocks the tiny Tarakena Trail hut

Nestled in the rocks the tiny Tarakena Trail hut

A wonderful view

A wonderful view

It was a little tricky getting Alayna safely to the hut but we managed it, Keryn taking a few photos of Alayna having a look while I made sure she wasn’t going to hurt herself on the rocks or fall into the sea. Again the wind got up so there was a lot of just holding Alayna securely in place waiting for a good safe moment to move.

It was windy!

It was windy!

Showing Alayna the details

Showing Alayna the details

Rather than putting Alayna back into the backpack we let her have some free time. She has been enjoying trying to put on Keryn’s sunglasses lately and she took her chance to grab them off of Keryn and tried them on for size. We then helped her walk back to the car, though I’m pretty sure she would have happily sat playing in the sand of the path for hours if we’d let her.

Fun with sunglasses

Fun with sunglasses

Walking the Tarakena Trail

Walking the Tarakena Trail

It was getting close to Alayna’s bed time so we made a snap decision to get fish and chips on the way home and ended up finding a good store in Island Bay. Our crumbed fish and home made chips from Bay Takeaways were really good, we’ll be back again I think. Two more huts left to find, hopefully we’ll get out tomorrow and spend some time on Matiu/Somes Island and then in Aro Valley and we’ll have completed the set.