Wed 27 January – Day 75
Bright and early, but not before 8:00am when Zany Zeus opens, I was pack ready to get a coffee and visit this cheese shop that Scarlett Johansson gave immediate fame to when she mentioned it had the best chocolate cake she had ever eaten. I didn’t have cake but I must say the apricot tart was pretty delicious. There is a pleasant walk to the end of the Hutt River where it flows into the Wellington harbour at Seaview with no fanfare. The view from the shore is phenomenal however as it is the first glance of Wellington city plus a full frontal of the harbour mouth far in the distance. I am fortunate that the Shipwreck Trading store is open and I can browse the fascinating collection of nautical and downright cool stuff that fills every nook and cranny. From here the paved cycleway bisects a marina to join the road down the coast towards Eastbourne. It is only about 5km around the coastline to Days Bay where I will catch the 10:40am ferry across to Wellington and I have around 90 minutes to stroll there. The little bays have much to see and admire; an everchanging sea view, people cooling off in the sea and architectural styles of the decades.
Nearing Days Bay I notice a man in orange Hi-Viz vest who asks me in I am doing the TA. It turns out that he is Mike Rumble, Eastbourne Forest Ranger for Matiu Somes island and shares a passion for wildlife, in particular the little blue penguin. He is involved with council to establish an alternative route to the TA trail that would include the Wairarapa, Wainuiomata coast and return past Eastbourne to Petone. Protecting the penguins is a priority so Mike and wife Gail have embarked on a mission to build penguin hides for the coastline. At the bunker looking water works before Days Bay is a collection of man-made hides where penguins are currently moulting. They will be in the hides for three weeks and are very vulnerable during this time as they do not eat during this process. It was wonderful to experience the results of their dedication but sadly on the news a day later we learn of the little blue penguin chicks that have perished – the cause surmised as being due to starvation from low fish stocks. Not long after arriving in Days Bay, the ferry arrived and we set off for Wellington via Matiu Somes island. The one way fare of $12 seemed steep for a relatively short boat ride. Once in Wellington I went to visit hotel friends, the Fix and Fogg peanut butter outlet and made a point of being in the Old Bank Arcade on the hour to see the Old Bank clock opening to perform its musical narrative of the history of the site. Later in the evening I gathered with other hikers for a catch up on progress since Whanganui and the Tararua ranges.
Tomorrow – visiting Premier House and return to Kapiti Coast