Tuesday 24 October 2017

Greta Point to Seatoun

Woah, I’m on a roll! Five posts in one day. When I have finished writing up this post, I shall finally be up to date. Just as well, as the next Folding Goldies ride is only a week away.

Last Friday 20 October was one of those perfect days that make Wellingtonians say “You can’t beat Wellington on a day like this”. As it was the day before Labour Weekend, we figured SH1 would be getting clogged with cars wanting to get out of the city for the long weekend. So we didn’t go up the coast, but went into town instead. To Greta Point to be precise. We parked outside NIWA and headed towards Miramar.

Between the end of Cobham Drive and the Miramar Cutting, a new footpath and separated cycleway are being built. I can’t quite understand why this is being done. The shared foot/cycle path that was there was quite adequate – from what we could see. There are other places that could do with a cycle track more than here. But perhaps cyclists commuting between Miramar and the city need this improvement.

A new footpath and separated cycle path in progress (photo by John)

We carried on towards Shelley Bay. There are lots of little stony beaches along the way. We saw a few people enjoying the sunshine, and some people diving for shellfish.

One of the many little stony beaches (photo by John)

We stopped for lunch at the Chocolate Frog Café in Shelley Bay. We sat outside, and watched small children riding trikes and other ride-on toys around the large sealed area. I think it is great that the café provides these trikes for their littlest customers.

Children ride the bikes and trikes provided by the café (photo by John)

Lunch in the sun (photo by John)

The café is continually improving – with the sealed riding area for the children, a lawn out the front with beanbags and other seating, new sturdy fixed tables and benches, more seating and umbrellas alongside the sealed area, and a new outside bar.

I wonder what will become of this delightful area once they let the developers in. The Council is about to embark upon the Shelley Bay development, which will build housing, hotels and retail on the site. It will completely spoil a beautiful, serene area of the city that is a wonderful asset, just the way it is. Not only that, but the increased traffic will ruin a great cycling route.

Said the (now former) deputy-mayor Paul Eagle: “Millions of dollars will flow into our economy during and after construction, with more than 100 full time jobs created when the development is complete.” Why, oh why, do we have to pander to the almighty dollar?

Meanwhile, let’s enjoy the area while we still can. After lunch, we continued around the Miramar Peninsula towards Seatoun. We met a tractor mowing the grass on the steep banks, dislodging bits of the bank in the process, as I noticed when we returned on that side of the road. Little piles of rocky debris lined the road wherever the mower had been.

Mowing the grass on the bank (photo by John)

At Seatoun we sat on a bench overlooking the beach and the wharf, and watched the squabbling and screeching seagulls chasing one another. After a while John decided he wanted “dessert” so we found our way to the local dairy for an ice cream.

Seatoun Beach and Wharf (photo by John)

“Dessert” (photo by John)

After this we decided not to carry on around the peninsula, but to go back the way we had come. Along the way, we saw a bizarre sight – a car that had come off the road and nose-dived onto the beach below. It had not been there when we went past earlier.

What happened? What a strange place to park a car …

There was nobody around. John checked that there was no-one in the car needing help. He thinks that the car must have been parked across the road, but the driver forgot to put the handbrake on before wandering off, and the car rolled across the road and fell over the edge. If there had been any speed involved, there would have been more damage, and the car would have been flung further onto the beach. I dare say the driver would have had a bit of a surprise when he returned …

This lone pinetree on a rock gives the impression of a Japanese landscape (photo by John)

It had been a lovely ride. When we got back to the car we had biked 28 km. It was quite late, and rush hour traffic had started to build up, so it was 5:30 before we got home.

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