Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Hataitai and Wellington Waterfront

On Tuesday 7 October, we decided to bike up the hill at Hataitai, to see if I could manage it better, now that John has changed the gearing on my bike, than I did last August.

We parked on Evans Bay Parade, near NIWA, biked along to Wellington Road and went up Hamilton Road. The top end of this road is fairly steep, and though I was able to manage it better this time, I was soon overtaken by another cyclist. As she slowly pulled past me, I said to her she was doing better than me, and she replied that she was training for the Otago Central Rail Trail. When I mentioned that we had done that last April, she stayed beside me and asked me about it.

Just then, who should come up behind us but a police officer in his patrol car. He gave his bull horn a couple of short bursts and then an amplified voice said “single file please”. He waited for me to drop back and for her to move ahead, before he passed us and disappeared up the road. It was a wide road, and apart from him, there was no car traffic, but we were riding two abreast, next to parked cars, so yes, we were in the wrong (refer to the 6th bullet point in this NZTA factsheet).

In the meantime, John, who was well ahead, stopped to see what the commotion was about, and when we caught up with him we stopped – in a safe place – for a chat. Eve, a nurse, told us she was planning to ride the Otago Rail Trail next autumn, and had questions about our experiences. Before we each went on our way, I gave her one of my little cards with my blog address on it, so she could read about our Rail Trail trip. She was delighted and said she would look forward to reading it.

We proceeded along Waipapa, Arawa, and Grafton Roads, down The Crescent, and eventually down Maida Vale Road, back to Evans Bay Parade. There was only one short stretch where I had to get off and walk. I was glad we came down Maida Vale Road, which is quite pleasant, instead of down Carlton Gore Road, which is rather precipitous.

The view towards the Hutt Valley from Grafton Road (photo by John)

Down Maida Vale Road. The last bit was quite steep (photo by John)

Having “conquered” Hataitai, we headed to our favourite café, Karaka, by the Frank Kitts Lagoon. It was quite busy, but we managed to score an outside table. We were amused to watch, when the occupants of the next table left, the antics of a seagull, which brazenly wandered about the table gobbling up any crumbs, and picking the remaining butter out of a little plastic container.

A seagull with butter on its beak inspects the left-overs (photo by John)

Lunchtime in the sun – what could be better (photo by John)

We carried on towards the Westpac Stadium and cruise ship terminal, where the first of the season’s cruise shipsRadiance of the Seas – was moored. This ship is supposed to be “mid-size” by global standards, with more than 2100 passengers and 858 crew. It seems plenty big enough to me. How much bigger would one want to go?

The cruise ship Radiance of the Seas, moored at Aotea Quay

Reflected “Radiance” on the stadium windows (photo by John)

From the top of the Stadium concourse, we took some photos of the port activities around the logs waiting to be exported. A train loaded with logs was waiting on the city side of the concourse, and it soon came out from underneath it, to cross the road towards the port.

I like the red ends of these logs

Wagons loaded with logs waiting to be taken across to the port

The log train, pushed from behind, crosses the road towards the port

At the city end of the concourse, we rode down the wide spiral, which is designed to take hundreds of people down to the buses after an event at the stadium. It was fun to go round and round, and down and down – a lot of turns – but I declined to go back up it to continue our ride. Instead we rode in front of the Railway Station, and crossed the road to go back to the waterfront.

We rode onto the wharf where Wellington’s four tugboats are moored. Only the last one was a good candidate for photos, as there was fencing in front of the others. They are such a beautiful strong red, a gorgeous contrast with the day’s perfect blue sky. We took a lot of photos.

It appears that Ngahue and its sister tug Toia are up for sale. Built in New Zealand, they were commissioned by the Port of Wellington after the April 1968 storm during which the Interisland Ferry Wahine sank in Wellington Harbour. At the time, the old tug Tapuhi, which was of World War II vintage, was not strong enough to assist the foundering Wahine.

Now these brave little tugs, which have a bollard pull of 28 tonnes, will be replaced by two new tugs, Tiaki and the new Tapuhi, which have a bollard pull of 68 tonnes. They were bought to cater for large cruise liners and container ships.

The tug Ngahue is up for sale

Looking up at the bridge of the Ngahue

Primary colours - red, blue and yellow (photo by John)

We finished our ride by stopping off at Kaffee Eis on Oriental Parade, and we sat in the sun enjoying our icecream cones and watching people on the beach. By the time we got back to our car, we had biked 20 km. 

Bikes, icecream, and sunshine – summer is on its way! (photo by John)

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