Tuesday: December 20th… Forests and Beaches.

On the road again southwards to Wellington firstly gave us last views of Mount Taranaki. When one sees this mighty volcano rising up out of the flat coastal lands that surround it, you can only think “The Lonely Mountain”. Is that a dragon flying around the peak at the top?

Driving through Hawera we continued onto Patea where we had breakfast at the Red Rock Cafe.

Further south we left the main highway and went to Kai Iwi Beach. This is a peaceful location where a small stream flows into the sea and the beach is bordered by tall sandstone cliffs. A picturesque place that I wished we could have had the time to stay at longer.













Back on the road again and we travelled through Wanganui, then southwards through Bulls and Foxton. Just South of Foxton we turned seawards to Waitarere Beach.

This beach was a contrast to Kai Iwi. A walk through sand dunes brought us to a very wide sandy beach that extended north and south as far as we could see. To the south just off the coast we could see Kapiti Island.














We had another interest in coming to this beach because in the adjacent pine forests more filming of the Lord of the Rings took place. The scene was when Arwen was riding to the Grey Havens and she saw a vision of her son in the future. She then turned around and rode back to Rivendell.

Although the exact location has been reportedly cut down we still went for a walk through the forest and saw areas similar to the movie scene.









Our next detour from the highway was at Otaki. Where we drove along the Otaki Gorge Road. The road, at first bitumen, took us through pleasant sheep farming area and then into a green valley. Soon the road became a narrow twisting dirt one and we slowly made our way through the tree covered gorge with the Otaki River sometimes far below down a high cliff. This was a road for careful navigation, but the surrounding views, forest and river were well worth the drive.

Areas of the Otaki Gorge were used in the Movie to portray the Hobbits leaving the Shire and although we never saw these locations the drive and scenery was still a worthwhile experience.















We were now in the final hour of our drive to Wellington and soon the road followed the coast and we could see across Cook Strait the Northern hills of the South Island.

Finally reaching Wellington we booked into our accommodation, found a nice place for dinner and then made our way to the top of Mount Victoria for a view of the night lights of Wellington.



Location, Location, Location…Wellington… To be continued.

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