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.
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.
There are no safe swimming beaches but plenty of rocks to climb and explore.
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.
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.
After braving the rough, stony beach to take some photos, including this one of one of the regular Ferries that cross Cook Strait
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.
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.
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.