Tag Archives: beaches

A little pictorial history of Makara Beach

Another view at Makara Beach, July 2015
Makara Beach(BJ)

These two photos appeared on the Old Wellington Region Facebook page a day or two after my recent visit to Makara Beach. (Blog post here)
Makara Beach 1907

High St, Makara Beach 1906

“High St” seems a very grand title for this rough, rocky track.

Living right on the edge of the beach back in 1907 was courageous to say the least. Back in this time it was thought to be a predominantly Italian fishing settlement. I note from archival notes that the area was evacuated at the time of WW 11 and gun emplacements from that area are still to be found on the various walkways today.

Advertisements

A visit to Makara Beach

In keeping with my recent posts of rugged coasts in my home region, here is another beach that is rugged, wild and beautiful.

DSCF2880 (1280x960)

This Department of Conservation website gives more information about Makara and includes a map showing that the deep arcing Ohariu Bay and the beach are not too far from the most south western point of the North Island.

This is another west coast beach.   The very small settlement can be reached from either Johnsonville or Karori (both suburbs of Wellington). Either route is a narrow winding road with rural views, plenty of surrounding steep hills and roads that require careful attention and care.

After reaching flat, more open land the road suddenly offers a view of the bay. On the day we visited the day was crystal clear. The night before a southerly storm had raged but this beach is relatively sheltered from that wind and these high hills sheltered us from the icy wind that was still blowing.
DSCF2884 (1280x960)

The surf was heavy but not as dramatic as it would have been on the South coast.
DSCF2891 (1280x960)

The beach here is rocky.

DSCF2889 (1280x960)

Banks of these rocks shelve steeply

DSCF2888 (1280x960)

and the undertow is sharp and strong.

DSCF2885 (1280x960)

This is never a safe swimming beach. The sound of these rocks being dragged back and forwards with each breaker was deafening but exhilarating.

A narrow walking track at the base of the high hills offers views back up the coast to the north and here, in the distance, you can see Mana Island and beyond it, the peak of Kapiti Island. The photo bombing bird is a Cormorant!

DSCF2895 (1280x960)

When the predominant north-westerly wind howls this bay will take a pounding. Vegetation reflects the harsh, salt-laden, tough conditions. Flaxes, tufty grasses and Taupata do well but are stunted.

DSCF2902 (1280x960)

Ocean currents bring huge logs and tree stumps on to the beach.
DSCF2904 (1280x960)

Rock pools offer hidden delights but close supervision of children is needed at all times, given the strength of the sea.
DSCF2898 (1280x960)

With so much natural energy via the wind in this remote landscape, there is a controversial wind farm now on the hills and from different parts of the settlement the blades of the turbines are visible. Up near this wind farm on the high hills are recreational options for the fit and energetic.

DSCF2892 (1280x960)

I admire the local residents who live in such a remote and harsh environment. Their senses would be sharply alive all the time. I love visiting such wild spots with the exhilaration and beauty they offer but I much prefer a more moderate place in which to find my permanent home.

Another wild coastline

Not far from my home on the West Coast of the North Island, New Zealand, there is more wild coastline.

DSCF2875 (1280x960)

Views from above this coastline can be gained from Whitireia Park, a reserve area which some years ago was farmed.

Standing on the high cliffs in the park there is almost always a wind blowing across this exposed site. It is bracing and exhilarating.

DSCF2879 (1280x960)

This high vantage point offers great views of Mana Island, a wildlife sanctuary.

DSCF2874 (1280x960)

The rocks are rugged and treacherous here as the Tasman Sea washes into the Porirua harbour entrance.

DSCF2873 (1280x960)

People use this stretch of coast and this park for all manner of recreational pursuits, both in the sea and on the land.

DSCF2869 (1280x960)

My visit was to record more of the beautiful landscapes that are found in the area in which I am fortunate enough to live.

A trip to the South Coast

A break in the weather meant a jaunt down to the South Coast of Wellington. It was a stunning day but any breeze that was blowing was still bitterly cold. Our climate can be harsh here so any day when the sky is clear blue, the wind low and the sun shining brightly is a day to get out and about.

It has been a long time since we visited this wild, wind-swept and often stormy stretch of coastline. When the southerlies pound in the sea is an extreme and dangerous force.

It is also near the entrance to the Wellington Harbour and around the road to the west is the runway for the airport.

Across the Wellington Heads the land is no less rugged or any more hospitable.

DSCF2847 (1280x960)

The channel into the harbour has many jagged rocks and reefs so navigation is done very carefully, often with a locally based Pilot to steer foreign ships safely into the harbour.
DSCF2846 (1280x960)

There are no safe swimming beaches but plenty of rocks to climb and explore.
DSCF2838 (1280x960)

Diving is a popular past time for the people brave enough to go into the icy waters.

The sea here is a mix of Cook Strait (that divides the two main islands of New Zealand) and the Pacific Ocean.
DSCF2849 (1280x960)

Sadly the high, snow-laden Kaikoura mountains at the northern part of the South Island were hazy but they help explain why the air is so very, very cold at the moment.
DSCF2843 (1280x960)

After braving the rough, stony beach to take some photos, including this one of one of the regular Ferries that cross Cook Strait
DSCF2841 (1280x932)

and of this aeroplane coming in to land at the airport, we headed to a popular café in nearby Lyall Bay to enjoy a hot drink.
DSCF2858 (1280x960)

From the footpath near the café the view goes back to the airport and beyond that the beach we had just stopped at to take the photos.
DSCF2860 (1280x960)

In contrast this is a sandy beach and people surf and swim here although the water is never particularly warm.

Bracing and beautiful summed up the experience.

The Intricate nature of natural things

My grandchildren gave me these pieces of Kina to take home and enjoy.

DSCF2584 (1280x960)

I was amazed at the intricate patterns and features, both on the exterior and the interior of what was once a spiny Kina or Sea Urchin.

Taken from

Taken from “Native Animals of New Zealand” by AWB Powell

While I have seen many of these creatures on our local beaches I had never taken the time to learn more about them or to look at the beauty of their shells.

I turned to my trusty “Native Animals of New Zealand” by AWB Powell for his careful observations and information. DSCF2591 (1280x960)
He says “ The Common Sea Urchin or Sea Egg (Evechinus chloroticus) Found towards low tide in rock pools and crevices amongst seaweeds. It grows from 4 to 6 inches in diameter and in life is conspicuous with its dense covering of long dark greenish spines. When the spines are removed there is a depressed circular limy “shell” of light greenish colour, composed of a mosaic of plates, many of which have small rounded knobs, arranged in regular series.
These are the bosses upon which the movable spines are attached. Between the rows of bosses there are perforated plates through which the soft tube feet operate and these are connected with an internal water pumping system characteristic of all urchins and starfishes. The sea urchin moves about by the concerted action of the long spines and the tube feet.
The large circular opening underneath is the mouth, largely occupied by a five-sided bony structure, the jaws, and referred to as Aristotle’s-lantern, for it bears a striking resemblance to an ancient lantern. The animal of a sea-urchin is very fluid except for five bodies, like segments of an orange both in shape and colour. These are the genital glands, which in the breeding season become enormously swollen with eggs. Many people, the Maoris in particular, eat the sea urchin animal in a raw state. It is a taste I have not yet steeled myself to acquire.”

The macro feature on the camera gives a very good replication of the specialised, intricate work of this piece of nature.DSCF2582 (1280x949)
DSCF2583 (1280x961)

DSCF2581 (1280x960) DSCF2585

A stroll along Wellington’s waterfront.

Yesterday dawned hot and sunny again! We had a mid afternoon pick up from the airport to do so we packed a picnic lunch and headed to Oriental Bay. As it turned out we joined many thousands of others who were enjoying the weather and the wonderfully accessible waterfront that Wellington Harbour now boasts.

We ate under the benevolent gaze of St Gerard’s Monastery (the lean is mine, not the buildings, although I think there are concerns over its strength in an earthquake now)
2013_0210Image0001

We watched people enjoying this stretch of beach along Oriental Bay.

2013_0210Image0003

This is an area of very desirable real estate and you can see why from views such as this.

2013_0210Image0002

After lunch we joined the throngs and strolled along the waterfront and found these points of interest. A bollard painted pink.
2013_0210Image0005

Others along here were yellow. A poem by Katherine Mansfield about how windy it can really be in Wellington and along the harbour’s edge.

2013_0210Image0004

This wonderful statue illustrating that at times the wind is sooooo strong that one can lean into it without falling forward. I really like this chap and his flexible back.

2013_0210Image0008

And a new feature on the waterfront for people to leap from into deep water below. This chap was very sure of himself and I captured the marvelous splash he made.

2013_0210Image0009

2013_0210Image0010

On the way back to the car we passed these two buskers who had wisely chosen a spot under a Pohutukawa tree and within the shade of a building. It was a very hot afternoon.

2013_0210Image0013

We are very fortunate to have such a pleasant waterfront to enjoy in Wellington.

2013_0210Image0007

In addition it is a very busy working port. It is interesting and vibrant, containing new innovations and older personalities.

2013_0210Image0011

2013_0210Image0012

And we only managed to walk a section of it yesterday. The photo below shows the part we did not get to yesterday.

2013_0210Image0006

I will go back again and take some more photos to share with you.