Friday, 29 June 2018
Wednesday, 27 June 2018
It was the day to meet up with our SLG friends, and Les had arranged a get-together for us. Les and Anne live “over the hill” in Featherston, one of the small Wairarapa towns. We had something to attend to in Palmerston North, so went the long way round over the Pahiatua Track. It’s not really a track, but a minor road to the Wairarapa, heavily in use now that the Manawatu Gorge has been closed indefinitely, due to massive slips. It was a cold day, and we left to warnings of bad weather and snow fall on the Rimutaka Hill, probably just in time for our return journey.
We were driving along, minding our business, when we came to a sign, “Stock on the Road”. As we slowed down we were directed to the other side of the road, and asked to slowly drive past an elderly farmer with several cows. He was obviously taking them to a paddock across the road.
Stock on the road
We could see the sun glinting on the snow on top of the Wairarapa side of the Tararua Ranges. Of course, home in Levin, we view this mountain range from the other side.
The “other” side of the Tararua Ranges
Meeting up at Les and Anne’s home for a most welcome cuppa, we caught up with all the news from our friends. There is always plenty to talk about, one of our group had recently had a family holiday in UK so she was bubbling over with news about her adventure. We then departed to a recently opened local café for lunch. There was plenty of interesting choices, and the prices were very reasonably priced. And as a bonus, Anne and Les’s grand-daughter was working in the café too. She expertly served us, made the coffee and then took charge of several cameras to take photos.
SLG lunching in the café
Across the road from the café is the sculpture Wind Grass, created by Konstantin Dimopoulos. Since 2001, when Pacific Grass was installed near Wellington airport, Dimopoulos has made many similar works. Seven of these ‘grass’ sculptures have been installed in New Zealand and fifteen overseas. Featherston’s Wind-grass is made up of a series of closely spaced, brown topped, yellow rods made of a carbon fibre composite material, between 6-8m high. Featherston is known to be very windy, with the rods are most often moving.
Wind Grass in Featherston
Returning to our hosts home, Trish cut a banana cake she had brought along to share for her birthday – we all took a slice home to have for supper as we were too full after our tasty lunches. Thanks Trish. Then it was time to get moving, after a quick check on the NZTA website to make sure that the Rimutaka Hill road hadn’t been closed with a heavy snowfall while we were eating our lunches. The neon sign at the bottom of the hill told us that snow was expected.
It looks a bit murky up there
There were a few minor snow flurries as we climbed to the top of the hill, but nothing heavy enough to settle. Just as well we headed for home early, as at the top of the hill we noticed several maintenance trucks ready to get to work if the road needed clearing later on.
Once over the Haywards Hill and onto SH1 heading home up the Kapiti Coast, it was like stepping into another world. The roads were dry, the sun was shining, and there was not a cloud in the sky. And look, here’s Kapiti Island again, looking splendid. I often tell myself I won’t be taking and more photos of this island, but I just can’t help myself, as it looks so different each time we drive by.
Kapiti Island again
We followed a large truck for many miles, as the sky was getting darker, intrigued by this large sign. Anyone need a job? No cowboys need apply!
Looking for drivers
As the sun was setting in the west, it painted the clouds gold – so pretty.
Pretty sunset seen on the drive home
Almost home now, and this is what greeted us, the Levin side of the Taraua Ranges we saw earlier. Nice to see that others fly the New Zealand flag too. We were pleased to be home, as it had been a long day, driving 300km on our round trip.