Meandering South – to Winter

So there we were, getting blown about in Masterton. I was feeling a bit worse for wear with my back but was in good hands. Walking around was as good as anything so we went for a bit of an explore around Masterton. We had a look in their nice new museum. The town seemed to close about 4pm so we went back home to Suzi.

Monday we moved on south to Greytown. What a nice little town is Greytown. Very smart and well-looked-after. We parked up at another park-over place there. It was bucketing down over in the Tararuas but most of it didn’t seem to reach to Greytown. We had a walk around the main street. The town seemed to close about 4pm. I know – it was winter and wet and miserable. But surely all the more reason to have a warm cafe to entice people with money to buy a nice hot chocolate? Nope! They all close up and go home and put the fire on there.

More gale-force winds were predicted for Tuesday so we figured on staying put. And having an explore out to the coast. We headed off in the car, through Martinborough and on south. Eventually we got to Lake Ferry with a pub where Lake Onoke meets the south coast. The lake was like a very big and angry cold chocolate. The wind was fierce by this stage – sometimes it was tricky standing and moving. We had some lunch and moved on.

We’d been told to do the walk to the Pinnacles but the day was running out and it was a longer walk (couple of hours) so we passed on that. The road hugged the coast heading south and east. Eventually we arrived at Ngawi, home to the best bulldozer collection anywhere. Including a pink one called Babe. Babe was smaller but there were some very big ones. They are used to launch fishing boats on very big trailers. Having got that far I was keen to see the lighthouse at Cape Palliser and we carried on to there. Imagine if you had some steep steps up to your house. Imagine if you had 250 steep steps up to your house. That’s Cape Palliser lighthouse. Straight up. We debated whether I should be tackling the climb with my bad back but I promised to stop and stretch every 10 steps. So it took a while. The wind at the top was strong and we didn’t linger too long. We headed back to Greytown through Martinborough – which had closed for the day. It looks like another interesting town though.

Wednesday was supposed to be a lull between the storms. So we for Wellington – over the Rimutakas. The electronic sign at Featherston warned of winds and advised Extreme Caution. I’m not sure how you’re supposed to be cautious in high winds – other than not go there. In hindsight we would have been better advised to not go there. The saving grace was that it was mostly straight on head wind. And we were mostly on the inside of the road. On some of the outside bends it was bad and at the top it was very bad. Like blowing small stones around! Descending to the Hutt Valley we ran into a rain storm. Apart from that it was all good!

We parked up at Petone and relaxed. Later we had a walk around Petone but it was all a bit windy and wild. Thursday we took the car into Wellington and played the game of looking for a car park.  Lots of car park buildings to drive up and down. It would be nice if they had a sign at the entrance explaining that they were full.

Friday we were up early and into Wellington and onto the interisland ferry. We thought it’d be a quiet crossing because there were not many vehicles at Bluebridge but by the time we’d driven on most of the seats were taken – they must have been on for a while as many were already asleep. It was windy but not rough and I lounged about most of the time in my sleeping bag.  Once at Picton we lounged about on the waterfront having lunch before heading off to Blenheim. It had been about 4 months since we’d left. It’d changed. They’d built a new i-Site on the way in. And almost finished a multi-story carpark building. We reported in to the motels where we had some work lined up and had tea with them and eventually parked up for the night at the Bowling Club. Sort of our home away from home in our homeless sort of way.


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