09/10 Summer Holidays
Coming up to Christmas, 2009, and conveniently both our workplaces were closed down over the same period between the 24th December and 10th January, inclusive. That meant we could have Christmas with the family (and when you're an agnostic that's really "the reason for the season"), and New Year's either also in HB, or elsewhere if we so decided. As it happens, we decided not, but it was nice to have the choice to ourselves.
Many of our adventures back on the home range weren't subject to photography - Splash Planet water park and Kayaking down the Tukituki river obviously not being camera friendly environments. But we also managed to make our way out to Kairakau Beach, and past a little known place called Horse-shoe Lake. Unfortunately the latter was not publicly accessible - I'm greatly envious of the farmer and his family that can take a raft out on those idyllic waters.
Our Hawke's Bay sojourn came to an end on the 4th January, and we headed South down the lesser travelled routes, hitting as much of the East Coast as was feasible on our way to Castlepoint and Riversdale beaches, before then heading back inland to camp in the shadow of Mt Holdsworth, SW of Masterton. Next day we continued South through Martinborough to Lake Ferry, proceeding around the coast to Cape Palliser, the Southernmost tip of the North Island. A steep climb later we backtracked to our intended campsite at the mouth of the streambed leading up to the Putangirua Pinnacles, which some may recognize as the scene of the Paths of the Dead from LotR: Return of the King. We scrambled our way up to be amongst the stony spires, like some geological cathedral, and returned to the campsite to find that it was still too early to be stopping for the night. And so we fast-forwarded to the next days plans of driving the road between Lake Wairarapa, which despite it's size we'd neither of us seen before, and the Rimutaka Ranges, before deciding to forego another campsite for a comfortable bed and a spa in Wallaceville Motor Lodge, a quaintish estate style lodge in one of Upper Hutt's hillside suburbs.
The next day marked the start of another Wellington holiday for us both, but this time we took advantage of our mobility with the car to explore some of the surrounding reaches, including Wainuiomata Beach, Eastbourne, Titahi Bay and Maraka Beach, as well as the customary drive around the Mirimar peninsula through Seatoun. Then finally it was time to head home, having undertaken both the last tour of 2009 and the first of the new year.