It’s not much fun at the beach on a rather damp day, so we took a trip into New Plymouth. Walking along the Coastal Walkway I was almost run down by a skate boarder as I gazed up at the 45 metre tall Wind Wand. Designed by sculptor Ken Lye, the Wind Wand has become the symbol of the Coastal Walkway. Topped with a red globe which is lit up at night, it is designed to bend and move in the coastal breezes.
The walkway is concrete with sturdy strong timber constructions protruding towards the sea to take the walker even closer to the water. The walkway is protected against the surging waves by huge anthracite boulders which had been thrown up by the eruption of Mount Egmont. Turning to walk in the other direction along the walkway, we looked out onto the Sugarloaf islands which are the remnants of a volcano which blew asunder a long time ago. Robin spent his formative years in New Plymouth and remembers scrambling up to the top of nearby Paratutu, one of the other remnants of the volcano, several times in his youth.
Across the road from the walkway is the Puke Arike Museum. We peeked into the small theatre which had a continuously running film on the construction of the Coastal Walkway. What was that we were seeing? Rows of “glow in the dark” blue seats – they really looked quite weird. We had the theatre to ourselves as the film unfolded. Three consecutive mayors were involved in the construction, and plans are underway for further extensions. The walkway is extremely popular and well used by walkers, bikers, skaters and runners.
The museum tells of the history of the region and really deserves another visit. We were aware of the time ticking away at the car park meter and got back just in time before the time ran out.