Saturday 6 September 2014


John thought we should explore the flat suburb of Miramar, so on Thursday 4 September, we parked the car near Greta Point and headed towards Evans Bay. It was a nice day, though there was a chilly south-easterly wind.

At the corner of Evans Bay Parade and Cobham Drive we looked at the sad remains of the Zephyrometer. This much loved kinetic sculpture by Phil Price consisted of a concrete cylinder holding a 26m tall needle which swayed to show wind direction and speed. On 14 August, Wellington experienced a sudden, brief but violent, hailstorm, accompanied by thunder and lightning. With dramatic accuracy, the needle of the Zephyrometer was hit by a bolt of lightning, and was effectively “fried” with a bang. This video shows the exact moment it was struck. (Note: it was hit only once, the video repeats the moment of impact a couple of times.)

The “fried” tip of the Zephyrometer after being struck by lightning (photo by John)

The damaged Zephyrometer has been tethered and surrounded by protective fencing

This website shows further photos of the damage that was done by the lightning strike (scroll to the bottom of the page). I do hope that the City Council will have this sculpture repaired. It would be really sad if they removed it. It was so indicative of Wellington as the “Windy City”, it should stay.

We rode on the walking/cycle path along Cobham Drive towards Miramar. As well as the official wind sculptures on this stretch, there are some impromptu artworks – or statements, or moments of fun. This one made us smile.

An impromptu artwork (photo by John)

At the entrance to Miramar, the big sign on the hill that usually says “Wellington” has been temporarily altered to read “Wowington” to celebrate the fact that “WOW” is about to take over the city in the next few weeks.

WOW or The ­World of Wearable Art is a fabulous show of the weird and wonderful ways creative people apply art to the human body. The show originated in Nelson, but was moved to Wellington ten years ago so as to reach larger audiences for its annual extravaganza (nearly 50,000 per season!). WOW's mission is to “take art off the wall and out of static display and to adorn the body in wildly wonderful ways. To celebrate this creativity in lavish and unique spectaculars which inspire all.” This year, there will be 14 shows between 25 September and 12 October.

The “Wellington” sign has temporarily become “Wowington” to celebrate “WOW” (photo by John)

Once past the cutting, we turned left into Tauhinu Road, and then up Miramar North Road, which climbs up the hill behind the California Garden Centre and Peter Jackson’s Park Road Post-Production Unit.

Pleasant but unexciting suburbia –- Miramar North Road (photo by John)

Coming down Weka Street, we ended up at “The Larder” for lunch. As we parked our bikes, we were greeted by a local cat. Having recently lost our cat Tim to old age and kidney failure, John immediately wanted to make friends with this beautiful fluffy feline. He has always been a cat person.

A friendly cat greeted us by The Larder Café (photo by John)

After lunch in the sun, we rode down Darlington Road, taking time to stop at a short lane off the main road, where John wanted to look at a house that he had lived in when he was a small boy. Of course, the place has changed over more than sixty years, with an extension and garage having been added.

As an amazing coincidence, we discovered that, a generation later, our son-in-law had also lived in that same house when he was small. And when we got to meet his family, we found that his mother and John had both attended Worser Bay Primary School and, in fact, had been classmates!

The house off Darlington Road where John lived as a small boy (photo by John)

We meandered around Miramar and towards Strathmore, past Scotts College. I thought that John was heading towards Calabar Road, where cars speed down from the airport towards Cobham Drive. I didn’t much fancy biking there, but luckily he knew of a pedestrian-and-cycle underpass that took us under the road and under the runway, and into Kilbirnie on the other side of the airport.

Maintenance being carried out in the underpass below the airport runway (photo by John)

In Kilbirnie we made a (compulsory!) stop at Burkes Cycles, John's favourite cycle shop, which was having a sale. We had a good old browse, but didn’t buy anything.

A stop at Burkes Cycles’ sale (photo by John)

From here it was an uneventful ride back to Evans Bay and Greta Point, with a couple of stops for pretty photos. We had biked 16 km.  

Yachts anchored off Evans Bay (photo by John)

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