Trip Start Jan 02, 2012
12Trip End Dec 14, 2012
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Where I stayed
What I did
Tramping and roller-derbying
Cook set off in 1768 to observe the transit of Venus and ended up exploring New Zealand; we set off hoping to explore NZ and happened to chance upon the transit of Venus. Why the astronomy talk you ask? Well, the pinnacle of Michael's night class came around on the first day of June, as Amy tagged along with the group and headed up the cable car to the Carter Observatory. The planetarium operator was pretty cool, having just arrived back from a simulated mission to Mars in the Utah desert. Our lecturers were slightly less cool, but we emerged slightly more knowledgeable about the night sky with a funky pair of transit-viewing glasses in hand.
That Monday was the Queenie's birthday (a national holiday no less) and so as true Wellingtonians we headed out for a weekend away in the Wairarapa region, a couple of hours north of Welly
Pukaha Mt Bruce wildlife sanctuary was up next. The sanctuary's star attraction is Manukura, a white kiwi! Despite the cuteness, Amy couldn't help but be unimpressed with it's survival instincts- given it's scurrying, foraging, nocturnal ways, white isn't necessarily the most camouflaged of colours. We also saw an interesting video showing the Mt Bruce team transporting kiwis into the region to build a bigger colony, shortly followed by a film talking about how a couple of ferrets had promptly eaten most of them...
That night we found ourselves imitating the locals by tucking into pub fish and chips, watching the rugby and sampling the ales in Lake Ferry's only bar looking out over the Cook straight. The following morning we set off over gravel roads to the lighthouse overlooking Cape Palliser. The lighthouse has around 250 rickety wooden steps leading up to it, and is a great place for spotting unfit tourists
Our homestead for the weekend was a room in a picturesque farm just off the remote and romantic-sounding "East-West Access Road" and was pretty much perfect, apart from the noisy neighbors! Having been subjected to a blaring TV playing until the early hours the previous night, that afternoon Amy and Michael discovered that switching channels on their own set disrupted next door's TV for a few seconds. That night instead of asking them to turn it down (as normal people might) a couple on minutes was spent channel hopping in our room, and after much confusion next door the offending set was retired for the night. A sound sleep was had by all!
On our way back home we took a detour to not one but two of NZ's premier tourist attractions: Carterton's own PauaWorld and The National Museum of Sheep and Shearing in Masterton.
The following weekend we found ourselves back up in the Wairarapa region "tramping" (kiwi for walking!) with Michael's school
Highlights of the rest of the month included helping out at school Benefit Auction evening by working the bar. The top prize was scooped by the year 10 dean on behalf of her husband who wasn't attending. The prize? A vasectomy! We also managed to catch some roller derby action at the TSB arena as Brutal Pageant took on Comic Slams. By the end of the game we just about understood the rules!
Lots of love
Amy and Michael xx
P.S. The day of the transit of Venus was, of course, completely overcast!