The Return of the Wanderer 2

The Happy Wanderer

I love to go a-wandering,
Along the mountain track,
And as I go, I love to sing,
My knapsack on my back.
My knapsack on my back.

I love to wander by the stream
That dances in the sun,
So joyously it calls to me,
"Come! Join my happy song!"

I wave my hat to all I meet,
And they wave back to me,
And blackbirds call so loud and sweet
From ev'ry green wood tree.

High overhead, the skylarks wing,
They never rest at home
But just like me, they love to sing,
As o'er the world we roam.

Oh, may I go a-wandering
Until the day I die!
Oh, may I always laugh and sing,
Beneath God's clear blue sky!

Yes, I do like to go a-wandering and now we have got over the worse of the pandemic it is great to be able to roam further afield. The last time we were in New Zealand to visit our eldest son was in 2017, so it was wonderful to make the trip again this February/ March.

There is a lot of similarities between Ireland, the U.K and New Zealand…English is spoken in all three, people drive on the left and food is pretty much the same. But there are subtleties of difference in the way people express themselves and local culinary fare.

One thing I enjoyed eating in new Zealand were the beautiful eggs with their bright orange sunset yolks. A favourite were the poached eggs. These were accompanied by a creamy flat white coffee with a fern or such artistically decorated on the surface of the coffee. Morning tea is a big thing there and is probably the equivalent of our ‘elevenses’. A yummy cheese scone or crumpet fits the bill well with a cup of what they call, ‘English Breakfast Tea’. One local dish I didn’t fancy for breakfast was mince on toast, (yes mince as in cottage pie and not mincemeat in mince pies).

Some yummy crumpets in the Beach House café near the Taputeranga Marine Reserve

New Zealand is very conscious of the need to protect the native ecology and are actively pursuing programmes to do this. While in Wellington, we visited Taputeranga Marine Reserve.

‘The Taputeranga Marine Reserve is located on Wellington’s South Coast. Thanks to the convergence of 3 massive ocean currents and a wide range of habitats, the region boasts a high diversity of marine life. Being close to a large population centre, the area has a long history as a place for Wellingtonians to gather food for their families. However, since 2008 when the area was accorded reserve status, the 9 square kilometre reserve has been fully protected and the removal of anything from the reserve prohibited.

The rate of regeneration and recovery of many marine species has surprised scientists and locals alike. Just 3 or 4 years ago Blue Cod would have been an uncommon sight. Now they are seen on a daily basis. The same applies to Blue Moki, Spiny Red Rock Lobsters, Butterfish and many more fish species. Dolphins, Orca and Whales are now regular visitors.

In the middle of the reserve is Taputeranga Island. Just 80m from the shore at its closest point, Taputeranga Island is one of Wellington’s best kept secrets. Huge rock pools are home to hundreds of plant and animal species.

Exploring the massive rocks and deep pools at the southern tip of the island is like stepping into a different landscape. Crystal clear rock pools over 2.4m deep provide glimpses of habitats that no longer exist on the mainland. On a clear day the views extend well down the South Island!’

Taputeranga Marine Reserve area

Another great day out was when we took a ferry from Wellington to Maitiu/Somes Island and then onto Days Bay.

‘Matiu/Somes Island is a predator-free scientific reserve. It is also a historic reserve with a rich multicultural history.Matiu Somes Island is owned by local iwi (Taranaki Whānui) following a Treaty settlement. It is governed by a Kaitiaki Board and managed by DOC’ (Department of Conservation).Since pests were eradicated the island has become a sanctuary for native plants, birds, reptiles and invertebrates including tuatara, kakariki, North Island robin, little blue penguins and weta. It may be a small island but its place in New Zealand’s history is huge. Its harbour location made it an ideal location for New Zealand’s first inner harbour lighthouse, a human quarantine station, an internment camp, military defence position and an animal quarantine station.’

I loved my short trip there. It was an overcast morning but by the time we got to the island the sun had come out and I thought it was a unique and peaceful place and I would like to go back and explore it more.

In the small museum on the island
Looking out from the island towards Wellington

One last trip I must mention is our visit to Greytown. Greytown is a beautiful historical town with beautiful buildings and everywhere you go you can read about the history of the buildings. One place we were very impressed with was Cobblestones museum.

‘Greytown is the Wairarapa’s oldest town, with New Zealand’s most complete main street of wooden Victorian buildings. Greytown was founded in 1854 by the Small Farms Association, which aimed to settle working people in towns and on the land. It was New Zealand’s first planned inland town, although the first settlers were greeted by dense bush. Once this was cleared, the town developed as a market and servicing centre. It was soon the region’s largest settlement, and became a borough in 1878. However, the railway bypassed Greytown in the 1870s because of problems with floods from the Waiohine River. The town never recovered its former prominence. One benefit of the flooding was rich alluvial soils, and a pip-fruit, berry, and market garden industry was established in the 1890s.’,a%20market%20and%20servicing%20centre.

Cobblestones Museum Greytown

If you want to find out more about the culture and history of Wellington and new Zealand the Te Papa museum is a must to visit. They have some great displays, and exhibits of interest for old and young.

Te Papa Museum

The latest display when we were there

To finish I will just just briefly mention some other places we visited…..Shelley Bay, the Sunday market and Raumati Bay

Shelley Bay

‘Shelly Bay is the site of a former air force base long military history began with the construction of the Submarine Mining Depot Barracks 1887. The area was then a navy base from 1907 to 1946, when it was transferred to the Royal New Zealand Air Force. The air force base closed 1995. In 2009 the land was handed over to Taranaki Whanui ki Te Upoko o Te Ika as part of a Treaty of Waitangi settlement.’ 

The Sunday Market, Wellington
Raumati Beach

‘Meaning ‘summer’ in te reo Māori, Raumati really is summertime in a township. Explore playful family spaces at Marine Gardens, fill your plate with a wonderful selection of eateries or relax with unhurried boutique shopping in Raumati Village. This stretch of the coast is vibrant, charming, and ready to welcome anyone looking for something unexpected.’

I will be back next week with some more memories.

2 thoughts on “The Return of the Wanderer 2”

  1. Wonderful trip for you. The chamber of congress should have you write their travel ads. After seeing your blog, I wish I could visit such a charming place.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.