The Dawn Princess cruised into Wellington and we drove down to meet up with Sharyn, from Adelaide. Sharyn, a fellow quilter and a blog reader, was cruising around New Zealand on the Dawn Princess and wondered if it would be possible to meet up. Of course we could, so we started off bright and early joining the commuters on the trip to Wellington. After a bit of a worry about where we would meet up, Sharyn arrived at the pick-up point on a shuttle bus – she had an advantage over us as she had seen our photos on the blog. Greetings over, we set off to show her a little of “the best little capitol city in the world”. That’s not just an idle boast – it’s official!
Wellington was putting on a great day for the visitors from the cruise ship, nice and warm – as the popular song goes, “you can’t beat Wellington on a good day”. Other days can be wet, wild and windy, but this day was a beauty! There was hardly a breath of wind when we drove up the narrow winding road then climbed up the steps to the top of Mt Vic Lookout. What a great view, a panoramic 360 degrees view taking in the city, the airport and Wellington Harbour. We weren’t the only ones up at the lookout - there was a bus full of cruise liner passengers there ahead of us, as well as plenty of others milling about.
Next stop was to find a quilt shop – more about that later. Then with lunch time looming, we followed the quilt shop owner’s recommendation and tracked down “The Spruce Goose” in Lyall Bay – somewhere by the airport, we were told. There it was, with a handy car park just across the street.
What a busy bustling place this, packed with customers and plenty of friendly staff who not only looked after our orders but happily took a couple of photos for us as well.
Then a bit more sight-seeing, we headed off to Petone Beach, where the first European settlers arrived on this very beach all those years ago. We could get good views of Wellington City from here and Robin told Sharyn all about the sad story of Leper Island. This sort of treatment wouldn’t happen these day, thank goodness. On a happier note, we watched as the sea birds went about their business on the beach, there were lots of red billed gulls and a pair of variable oyster catchers looking for something for their lunch.
We continued our coastal trip and drove around the Eastern Bays to Eastbourne. It may be a pricey place to buy a property, but it has a lovely village feel to it. Here we saw the foremast from the Wahine which now stands at Eastbourne as a memorial to the Wahine disaster which took place in April 1968, with a loss of 51 lives. Robin and I can still vividly remember that tragic day, with pictures of the ship stuck fast on Barrett’s Reef playing over and over again on TV. Many of the passengers, both dead and and survivors, were washed up on the rocky Eastbourne coast.
Then it was a short drive back to Days Bay. William's Park has always been popular with visitors, and we called into the Pavilion Cafe for an ice-cream. Sharyn was persuaded to try the great Kiwi delicacy, hokey pokey ice-cream. It was a race against time to get the ice-cream finished before it melted away and ran down our hands!
It was time to head back into Wellington and return Sharyn to her cruise ship, Dawn Princess. Sharyn was certainly enjoying her cruise, and was travelling with a group of like-minded ladies. Who wouldn’t enjoy life on board, with great food, entertainment, and nice rooms. But before we parted, I gave Sharyn a little gift, two fat quarters of batik fabric printed with New Zealand birds, one dark blue and the other brown.
How exciting - Sharyn had a gift for me too. I opened it up once we had returned home to find some lovely Aborigine designed fabric. On closer inspection, I discovered that Sharyn had made me an apron. Just what I need – I always wear aprons when I’m cooking.
It was so nice to meet up with Sharyn and make her acquaintance. Guess this happens to other bloggers from time to time, who get to meet after exchanging emails for a while. (A bit like going on a blind date, she remarked). What a lovely lady, and it was a real pleasure to show her around Wellington. Her next stop was Akaroa, on to Dunedin, then cruising into Milford Sound, before the Dawn Princess then headed back to Melbourne. What a great trip.