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Posts tagged ‘memorials’

Quick blat around old Plymouth’s waterfront walkway

After leaving Dartmoor we continued south to the coastal city of Plymouth.

You can’t really visit a city in one afternoon but that was the plan, and we had a fairly narrow scope to give it some purpose.

The interest in Plymouth is its historical connection to New Zealand and to our family. In 1840, NZ joined the British empire and ships set sail from Plymouth, as Captain Cook’s vessels did in the 18th century, to take settlers to the relative no man’s land that was then New Zealand. The city on the west coast of the North Island which they would help establish was named New Plymouth.

Aboard the William Bryan, the first ship to depart, was my great x4 grandfather who had lived in Boscastle, along with his wife and their four children. It took them 133 days to reach New Zealand. Ugh.

Fast forward 172 years and I was in search of a car park. It wasn’t the best choice in the end and involved a bit of a walk for parents who had twinges in limbs, but at least we were roughly in the right area.

Our walk took us around past the aquarium, across the footbridge over the entry to one of the marinas (where we twiddled thumbs for several minutes as the bridge was raised to let boats in) to the Barbican area. There are numerous memorials here, including ones to the ships which departed for strange faraway lands.

Cool blue wall – mum and dad had no choice but to comply with my request

Looking over to part of the Barbican area and coastal walkway

Wee sidewalk fishies near the aquarium

This fugly fella, a hybrid of locally found fish and shellfish, was apparently not popular when first erected (no kidding) but he was allowed to stay

Plaque near the spot where a boat load of people left on the Mayflower in 1620 to settle in North America

Another plaque, this one for the ships which left with settlers for New Zealand and the city appropriately named New Plymouth

Memorials to those lost at sea

We continued around the waterfront, kinda winging it from this point. Mum and dad with their aches and pains streaked ahead of me as I dawdled with my point-and-shoot. There were plenty of distracting features – the coastline, historical landmarks, navy ships in the harbour, restored foreshore facilities, abandoned foreshore facilities, and several war memorials. I had a great time.

We wondered what these signs were about… ‘tombstoning’ is where silly youths jump from ridiculous places into the sea, evidently Plymouth Hoe had been a hotspot for it. Deaths and injuries lead to the removal or closure of several features that had been used as jumping platforms

The Royal Citadel, a large walled fortification built in the 1660s. It is still occupied by the military today

Looking along to the foreshore below the Plymouth Hoe

The Tinside Lido saltwater pool was born in the art deco era but closed in 1991, only to have a makeover and reopen a few years ago. It wasn’t yet open for the season at the time of our visit. Drake’s Island is in the background

Royal Marines Memorial

Plymouth Naval Memorial

Big kitty on the Plymouth Naval Memorial

During our tripping around Cornwall and Devon we saw a few places getting ready to host the Olympic torch relay. Judging by the extent of temporary facilities being set up it was clearly a big deal

Smeaton’s Tower – a former lighthouse which was relocated to the Hoe and is now a memorial to its designer. For a small fee you can climb it (I gave this a miss)

We were treated to the sight of a fleet of Royal Navy ships in Plymouth Sound on some kind of exercise

A bonus was seeing a line-up of black boats speed back toward shore. I couldn’t find a clear answer online but I think they belong to the Royal Marines. Their landing craft units are based nearby at the Devonport Dockyard

The coastal route had such appeal I walked back along it, and that was pretty much my experience of Plymouth. By the time I eventually caught up with mum and dad it was time to get back to Boscastle for our final night in Cornwall.

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A great day in Bath

With only one day in Bath we couldn’t really muck around. We walked into town earlyish to find some breakfast.

Near where our hotel was. There’s something about the sameness and uniformity of Georgian buildings that I really like

Pulteney Bridge, though you could walk over it and not realise. Completed in the 1770s to replace the ferry service, it’s one of four bridges in the world which has shops all the way along both sides.

Pulteney Bridge, River Avon and the top of the weir

And looking down the weir

The Roman Baths were the first priority of the day. The Romans first began to develop a spa in 60AD, give or take, on account of the hot springs. The finished complex, consisting of indoor and outdoor pools, saunas, temple and whatnot, would have been amazing. But after a while they must’ve got bored as the Romans left Britain in the 400s.

The Great Bath. The site is a mix of what the Romans built and what was developed in subsequent ages, e.g. the Romans didn’t build the columns and top level as seen here

In the late 1800s the original Roman Bath complex was discovered underneath the structure built upon it, and in subsequent years archaeologists found how extensive the baths were. They’ve made lots of it open to the public, with various interpretive displays as they do, but our overall impression was amazement really. There was much more to see than we realised.

That modern street level is much higher than in Roman times I find interesting in itself. Easily pleased I guess.

One of the Roman statues on The Terrace overlooking the Great Bath

The hot spring that the original spa was inspired by. The water at the Roman Baths are not considered safe for bathing these days because of the original lead pipes and risk of infectious disease (a girl died in the 1970s)

One of the artefacts I quite fancied

After some gift shop dilly dallying we went next door to the Bath Abbey.

The Roman Baths (right) and the Abbey

A very impressive building which I would probably have labelled a cathedral, but it was home to a monastery rather than a bishop, hence it’s known as an abbey. Over the centuries it has seen its share of damage, most recently in 1942 during WW2 bombing. But it’s in pretty good nick now. While I do not call myself a religious person, I like looking around places of worship – and there would be ‘one or two’ churches to come on the trip (dad would say more like one or two hundred).

In the Bath Abbey. The amazingly detailed stained glass window at the end, which has come up pathetically on this photo, contains 56 scenes of Jesus’ life

Inside the Abbey are tonnes of memorial stones along the walls and floor. This is just one example of the interesting old way with words

The hop on / hop off bus was next up, to give us an overview of the main city features. There’s also another route that takes you out a bit further and higher but we wouldn’t have time for this. We did a full circuit, sitting on top at the front like all good keen people do.

Who’s the cheesy tourist then?

Continuing for a second loop, I got off at The Circus and continued on foot, leaving mum and dad to it for a few hours. The Circus is actually a big circle of lovely Georgian houses. Similarly impressive is the Royal Crescent, not far away. I imagine this would be a very exclusive street, and the cars parked along it certainly helped reinforce that impression.

Part of The Circus

The Royal Crescent (an iPhone stitched panorama)

The Royal Avenue runs in front of these, on the other side of a large field, and at one end of this road are some town memorials.

Town centre wasn’t far away and I doddled around for a few more photos before a mid afternoon appointment.

Legend has made pigs a popular symbol in Bath and there are over 100 arty pigs displayed in the city. I didn’t know this til later (I’m fond of pigs!) and only came across two

A thirsty pidgeon and an obliging statue

Parade Gardens is a pleasant spot alongside the river, though you have to pay a couple of pounds to get in!

King Bladud, from whom the pig association with Bath began. I didn’t realise it at the time, but the pig next to him was placed there in 2008 as part of the arty pigs campaign

From the eastern side of the river. Due to an apparent translation misunderstanding by the Romans, River Avon actually means River River.

The appointment was work related: one of the external companies I have been talking to for a year or so for my project back at work (I vaguely recall that I have a job somewhere?) is based in Bath. So it made sense to have a face to face chat for a change. A couple of wines in the sun made for a great interlude in the day. After six weeks of rain that was apparently the second day of sun, which I was happy to claim full credit for.

I returned to the hotel to find mum and dad and later we made the short walk back into town for dinner.

Great meal at the Thai Balcony Restaurant

We only barely scratched the surface in Bath but it had been a great short visit. It was originally a one night stopover as we had booked a house for a week down south, but decided to arrive there a day late in order to have more time in Bath. Not a bad decision that one.

Gallipoli battlefields tour (part 2)

With tummies filled to capacity we continued the tour, this segment focusing on the ridges. A quick photo stop at this monument was first up. It depicts a supposed event, though there are numerous examples of compassionate interludes to the fighting on record. It is nice to hear about these human elements in an otherwise dismal place.

This monument depicts a Turkish soldier carrying a wounded British soldier back to the Allied trench. It was inspired by a speech in 1967 by the Australian Governor of the time who had served at Gallipoli

This flower is called the Gallipoli Rose

The Lone Pine Cemetery and Memorial is especially significant for Australians and is where the Australian Anzac Day service is held. We were there on May 7th, 12 days after Anzac Day, and temporary seating was still being dismantled. New Zealand has four Memorials to the Missing at Gallipoli, believing soldiers should be remembered close to where they fell. The Lone Pine memorial lists 708 Kiwis; sadly the number of names at Chunuk Bair tops this.

Lone Pine Cemetery is predominantly Australian (there is one identified NZer) though it is home to one of the NZ Memorials to the Missing

We continued making our way along the ridge.

Remains of Anzac trenches just along from Lone Pine. The distance to the Turkish trenches was often surprisingly short

Johnston’s Jolly Cemetery, named for an Australian commander, is an area taken on April 25th but lost the following day. One Kiwi is definitely buried here but there may be others

Mr Çelik drove us down a side road he said is very rarely visited by his compatriots. The grave of a Turkish lieutenant-colonel is there (there are a small handful of isolated Turkish graves on the peninsula) and down in the gully is a mass grave. The majority of Turkish soldiers were not identified and just buried together in mass graves.

Steps leading down to where there is a Turkish soldier mass grave

Back up on the main road we stopped at the Turkish 57th Regiment Cemetery. This is a fairly grand site, on sloping land, topped by a large memorial at the top and smaller ones at the bottom. Given my previous comment about the mass graves, it is maybe not surprising that this is a ‘representational’ cemetery and features the names of soldiers from that regiment who died. The site was busy with visiting Turkish people.

Turkish 57th Infantry Regiment Memorial Park. The cemetery is symbolic

It was a very good thing we were not attempting the tour the day before (Sunday) as Mr Celik said that the roads were clogged with buses. The Chunuk Bair area is very popular due to the numerous Turkish memorials on it, particularly on 18 March which is the main day for Turkish people to commemorate the campaign.

A little further up the road we detoured a short way off to the left. At the end here was a lookout down over a gully to North Beach and south, Walker’s Ridge Cemetery, more trenches, and The Nek Cemetery.

View over Mule Gully toward Ari Burnu

Walker’s Ridge Cemetery, named after Brigadier-General Harold Walker who was in command of New Zealand infantry forces at the landing. His HQ was roughly in this area

Allied trenches in between Walker’s Ridge and The Nek Cemeteries. They were the most authentic we saw with the remains of wood reinforcement and barbed wire still plainly visible

The Nek was a particularly bloody battlefield. Over 300 soldiers are buried here and the very small number of headstones attest to the number of identifications that could be made

View of Suvla Bay from The Nek Cemetery

We parked near Chunuk Bair and walked.

Five huge stone tablets formed the Turkish Conkbayırı Memorial, just along from Chunuk Bair

A little further on we came to the New Zealand cemetery and memorial. As Lone Pine is to Australia, Chunuk Bair is to New Zealand. The New Zealand Anzac Day service is held here, around the big battlefield memorial. In the cemetery rests 632 men, only a few of which were identified. 850 names are on the Memorial to the Missing.

I had really been looking forward to Chunuk Bair and it may have been more significant to me than Anzac Cove. It seemed fitting that our Anzac sector tour would finish here.

I knew that there was a Turkish memorial close to the New Zealand memorial but I didn’t appreciate that this would mean the place would be crawling with huge numbers of Turkish people. Which in itself is fine – it is great they wish to visit these places of significance – but for me, compared with most of the other sites, the crowds and noise detracted from the visit.

Plus they were also still dismantling the Anzac Day seating here too, which added to the distraction.

The cemetery, located a short distance away down the hill, was more peaceful. The Memorial to the Missing features the name of one of my relations, a second cousin twice removed, which we found.

There’s a lot going on at the Chunuk Bair site

Dad reading the Memorial to the Missing at Chunuk Bair

Chunuk Bair Cemetery. The big space with very few headstones tells a sad story

Inscription on the Chunuk Bair Memorial, with my poppy

As we left I couldn’t help but feel a bit disappointed. Back in the car we looped round the next ridge and back down.

At one point we got a good view down to Kocadere, where we were staying

There was 20km or so to drive to the end of the peninsula where the Helles memorial is. While it was interesting to get the geographical perspective, the main purpose of the visit was to photograph a name for one of dad’s cousins. The cousin was lucky as we found that the memorial is part way through a three year renovation and the name in question was just about out of sight behind the fence.

One side of the big Cape Helles Memorial cenotaph (the side that was in the sun mentioned the Anzacs). The memorial also consists of a sizeable walled enclosure on which is inscribed far, far too many names. The site acknowledges the involvement of the whole British Empire at Gallipoli

Not far away is V Beach so we had a look over that.

Looking over V Beach, one of the main landing places for the British in the Cape Helles campaign. The cemetery is just back off the beach. A WWII gun emplacement is visible in the foreground

And then we were about done so drove back to Kocadere. It had been a fantastic day and so worth the trip to Turkey. We could not have wished for a better guide and I would highly recommend Mr Çelik. I purchased a guidebook (from the Book Depository website) which we found very useful, Gallipoli: A guide to New Zealand battlefields and memorials, by Ian McGibbon.

NZ soldiers sent to Gallipoli: 8556
NZ fatal casualties: 2721

“Gallipoli, too beautiful a place to die.”

Gallipoli battlefields tour (part 1)

Another bluebird day dawned. We breakfasted in the hotel and filled in time before our guide arrived at 9.30am. During my research I came across a recommendation for Mr Kenan Çelik, and, being some months out, I was able to secure his services for a full day private tour. He is one of Turkey’s leading experts on the Gallipoli campaign and is sought after by visiting Government delegations. I figured he’d be pretty alright.

Fortunately Mr Çelik also offered his car if necessary. I think most people who tour the battlefields have their own rental vehicle, but the during my reading it had been emphasised that driving in Turkey should be avoided! So yes, we would be needing his car as well as his knowledge. It cost 140 EUR for a full day tour, plus 100 EUR for his car.

Mr Çelik arrived while we chatted to an Aussie bloke who was on a motorcycle tour for several months.

The peninsula is split roughly into three battlefield sectors: Cape Helles at the end, Anzac in the middle (also known as Gaba Tepe), and Suvla Bay to the north. You can spend days going around them all on account of how many battlegrounds and cemeteries there are. But we had one day. Being Kiwis we were mainly interested in the Anzac places of interest and Mr Çelik has a fairly standard tour outline focusing on this sector, which excluded Helles and Suvla. I had requested one alteration, to go to Cape Helles, as I had been asked to photograph a name on the memorial out there.

Our tour began.

Our guide, Kenan Çelik, giving us an overview of the campaign

Mr Çelik likes to provide balance and we would visit several Turkish sites in amongst all the others. Our first stop was the village of Bigali, significant because Colonel Mustafa Kemal Atatürk lived there and left from there on the morning of 25 April 1915 to fight the Anzacs. Atatürk later became founder and first President of the Republic of Turkey and is revered in the country. His house in Bigali is now a museum, which we had a look through.

Public space in the middle of Bigali, with mural of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk on one of the buildings

The first NZ stop of the day was the Hill 60 cemetery and memorial, a few hundred metres off the road up a bumpy old track. This is in the northern Anzac sector, heading out toward Suvla Bay. Hill 60 is believed to have been a particularly futile battle on account of it being fairly unimportant ground and the cost with which the relatively low gains (some trenches) were won.

Hill 60 Cemetery, the most important Gallipoli site for NZ north of the main Anzac sector. It contains one of the four NZ Memorials to the Missing

Mike and I saw several Commonwealth War Graves Commission cemeteries in 2010 on the western front and the Gallipoli cemeteries had very much the same flavour. All beautifully maintained and cared for. A common feature is that the majority of soldiers who gave their lives were not identified. Many headstones bear the words “believed to be buried in this cemetery”. Even more names are listed on the Memorials to the Missing. This sad fact is understandable given these were battlefields and given the dire nature of the battles and often the conditions in which they were fought.

I also had a personal mission during the Hill 60 visit.

I have included this photo so that Josh and Flynn can see the two poppies I left at Hill 60, from them and their dad, for Mike’s first cousin four times removed, Second Lieutenant Desmond Kettle. Incidentally, also in the same list of names is Helen Clark’s (ex NZ PM) great uncle

We stopped at the 7th Field Ambulance Cemetery and New Zealand No. 2 Outpost Cemetery. Near the latter is Maori Hill, so called because the NZ Maori Contingent took position there.

New Zealand No. 2 Outpost Cemetery

Maori Hill (Turkish flag now at the top!) with the Fishermans’ Cottage on its slopes. The cottage is still standing from 1915; back then it was a well known landmark being the only building in the area

By now we were heading along North Beach. The Canterbury Cemetery is there along with good views to the hills above and around/across the bay.

The Canterbury cemetery is the final resting place of 26 Kiwis, mostly from the Canterbury Mounted Rifles, and one unidentified solider

The Sphinx was a prominent landmark in 1915 and still stands out today. Erosion is very gradually taking its toll on the surrounding cliffs and ridges

From above North Beach looking toward the point which is home to Ari Burnu Cemetery. Beyond that is Anzac Cove

Looking above North Beach over the Agean Sea

North Beach is also where the big dawn service is now held each Anzac Day. The Anzacs landed around the corner but North Beach has more space to cater for the huge crowds that now head to this remote location for April 25th. The area still didn’t seem big enough to fit in the thousands of people it does, so I can only guess they’re wedged in there like sardines! At the end of this short TVNZ video is a quick view of what it’s like on this one big morning each year.

Dad and I at the Anzac commemorative site at North Beach

I asked Mr Çelik if he had been lined up for the 100th anniversary commemorations in 2015. While he had been approached he had not committed to anything as it was too far out and he might die!

At the southern end of North Beach, and the northern end of Anzac Cove, is Ari Burnu Cemetery. This is where the Anzac Day dawn service used to be held until 2000. Over 250 identified soldiers lie here including 35 Kiwis. It is the best place to access Anzac Cove due to the incline further along.

Ari Burnu Cemetery. We could see why the Anzac Day dawn service outgrew this location

Ari Burnu has a beautiful location next to the beach

And finally we reached Anzac Cove, where Australian and New Zealand troops landed. While the Aussies came ashore at dawn, hence Anzac Day dawn service, the first Kiwis did not land until a few hours later. The toll of nature is very evident here when you see old photos – in 1915 the beach was much wider and less stony.

Anzac Cove. A few poppies had been left on the sign including one from dad

Anzac Cove is just a narrow strip of beach now

Along from this is Beach Cemetery, where about 20 identified New Zealanders and 280 Aussies are buried. Another very beautiful place.

Beach Cemetery, as you might guess it too is next to the beach

An inscription noting that the landing spot on 25/4/15 was nearby

It was afternoon by now and we were half way through. Lunch and some respite from the sun was needed – and achieved!

Mr Çelik placing our lunch order, a few dishes for sharing. There was so much food I felt a bit unwell afterwards but it was really delicious

Due to the amount of ground covered during the nine hour tour I have split this post. Part two to follow.

Edinburgh Castle

Edinburgh Castle is Scotland’s number one tourist attraction and well who was I to buck that trend. In typical Hayley fashion I booked a ticket in advance since I had worked out when I could fit it into my limited time in the city.

I made my way up to the castle via the Princes St gardens and arrived at the entrance about quarter of an hour before opening.

This way to the castle! Top of the Royal Mile

Well hello there

Works in progress on the esplanade for the Edinburgh Military Tattoo in August (seems like they’ve got a decent lead time!). Would love to go to the Tattoo one day.

The advance ticket and time of day was the way to go as there were only a few other punters and a group of school children around. I was in fact the first person through the gate and up to the top – a notable achievement according to the kilted Scotsman who helped organise the gate queues.

Through the Portcullis Gate looking back along the cobblestone road originally built to transport canons

The uphill road leads to Foog’s Gate and the main building shown used to be a water reservoir

St. Margaret’s Chapel, built in 12th century and the oldest surviving building in Edinburgh

I wandered around, mainly focusing on the outside features. It was another balmy single-digit Edinburgh day so there wasn’t much stopping in one place for long.

The Half Moon Battery

View over the Argyle Battery

A panorama experiment with the Autostitch app on my phone

Cemetery for soldiers’ dogs

The stand out feature for me was the Scottish National War Memorial, quite possibly the best national war memorial that I’ve seen. Photos aren’t permitted in there out of respect.

The superb Scottish National War Memorial

Wreaths outside from the Anzac Day service held there. A smaller number of wreaths were Inside and included one from the Government and people of NZ.

Rear of the war memorial

I wasn’t in the mood to linger around the buildings with inside exhibits so swept through those, hence an absence of that kind of photo. You could certainly pad out your visit to the castle by following the audio guide and visiting the regimental museums on site, but I think I was done in about 90 minutes and that’s only because I was fluffing around taking photos.

From one of the windows inside the Great Hall

There is still a military presence but the purpose of the castle has changed so other things have changed with it

You can’t help but notice all the different cobblestone patterns. Well I couldn’t at least

Glad to have seen it, don’t need to go back – other than for the Tattoo one day, I hope!

Vietnam: 19~Site of the massacre at My Lai

Everyone else had a low key sort of day planned, a very sensible idea after the previous night’s activities. But one thing I wanted to see while based in Hoi An involved a day trip by car, and I had scheduled that into this particular day. What I didn’t plan was doing this on three hours sleep, especially as the day began with a three hour drive south! Read more

A monumental city

I love Washington DC and its proliferation of monuments and memorials. I’d had a fleeting visit once before and this time had a whopping two days to reacquaint myself as I made my way south to Florida.

My hostel was centrally located and my feet were ready to do some serious walking. (In fact too much walking in not entirely appropriate footwear gave me a blister which required medical intervention a few days later.)

These are just a few visual snippets of the many things I saw.

One of the most stunning memorials is the combination of the Lincoln Memorial with the reflecting pool in front. Symmetry is another strong feature of the city and the way the Washington Monument lines up here is a prime example of this.

The Korean War Veterans Memorial is impressive, constructed with much thought and symbolism. It includes this low wall of names from the 22 contributing nations.

The Vietnam memorial was at the top of my list to see. Unfortunately half of the wall was under wraps, undergoing a spruce up or something. But you could still appreciate the size and significance of it. I left the poppy that Dad had given me.

The World War II memorial is appreciably massive. This again is just a small portion.

I walked around the beautiful Arlington Cemetery. As well as the changing of the honour guard at the Tomb of the Unknowns, I sought out the grave of John F Kennedy.

Looking forward to a planned return visit in 2013!

Quick stop-off at Ground Zero

This wasn’t where I started my North American odyssey but is where I will start this collection of retrospectives!

After Niagara Falls I took the bus to Washington, DC. The route was via New York City so I planned a couple of hours on the ground there to go and see the former site of the World Trade Centre.

I had visited Manhattan before and therefore didn’t make it a big feature this time. But I was keen to see Ground Zero, almost three years after it became known as such. On my previous visit the twin towers were still well and truly there but low cloud thwarted the full experience.

After arriving in Manhattan I embarked on a routine I would become very familiar with – navigating solo while humping around a heavy pack. Somehow I managed to catch a subway train and popped up not far away from the site. It was early morning and there weren’t many people around.

It was still very evidently a place of major upheaval and some works were also underway on neighbouring buildings. The honour roll was as you might expect: long.

The rebuilt subway station.

View of the site from the station.

Before heading back to catch the next Greyhound I wandered over to Battery Park to eat a sandwich. While I was enjoying views across to the Statue of LIberty, a bold squirrel seemed quite keen that I share my breakfast.

Coastal goodness close to home

Wellington is a great place to visit and to live. I’m not born ‘n’ bred but have been here a few years now and the best thing about for me is its rather epic location. Tucked at the bottom of the North Island, Welly as it is fondly known sprawls over rather brutal hilly bush-covered terrain until it hits the CBD on the waterfront. This is the eastern-most part of the fabulous Wellington Harbour which gives the city the coastline that partly typifies it.

I live on the Miramar Peninsula located in the south-eastern corner of the city. It is a peninsula thanks to an earthquake in the 15th(ish) century which changed its former status as an island. As well as coughing up the flat land on which my house sits, the earthquake also gave Wellington an ideal place for its airport. We’re supposedly overdue for another Big One – however we won’t dwell on that.

I love living so near to the coast and being able to see the harbour every day. The peninsula has a perimeter road which is popular for sightseers, cyclists, runners and their much slower counterparts, and people seeking kaimoana (seafood). Opportunities exist for motorsport enthusiasts too, with sprint events a couple of times a year. My own running days are now behind me but I take in the occasional walk locally and was recently seized by the idea to complete a full circuit of the peninsula. So last weekend armed with camera I set off on the 17km journey.

A dull day but there's always something to love about this place

The weather gods were in a bit of a grump this day giving me dull overcast light and misty rain, however I love Welly in all her moods – especially dare I say it when she’s mightily ticked off. (Most locals agree though, the often present wind can make you a bit batty.) In my favour was that the weather blahness reduced the general levels of activity around the road, a good thing when I lingered in the middle of it a couple of times to take photos.

In some parts I found quiet moments to take in the surrounds with no buildings, vehicles or people in earshot or sight. Blissful, though by no means unusual around Wellington. Around the peninsula there is always something interesting to look at and a few of these features are:

  • Old military installations. A few still have decent remains to look at, though sadly none are being actively preserved. The road takes you through the old Shelly Bay airforce base, and with short deviations you can also find Fort Ballance and Fort Dorset. This is a bit of an interest area of mine and I’ll do some separe posts on these places.
Wharf remains at the old Shelly Bay base
  • A rather beautiful memorial to one of NZ’s prime ministers. I have since found out that there are gun battery remains above it, so will definitely be heading back there. Located above the road and access via a short easy walk, it would normally offer nice views and while visibility on this day was poor, the sound travelled easily from the international rugby sevens tournament being staged at our main sports stadium across the harbour.
  • Cafes in Shelly Bay, Scorching Bay and Seatoun. Coffee is never far away in Wellington!
  • The Ataturk Memorial. This monument arose from a reciprocal agreement between NZ, Australia and Turkey in return for the naming of Anzac Cove on the Gallipoli peninsula. Involving quite an uphill trek, the views alone are worth it. I enjoy attending the service here on ANZAC day.

Wellington Harbour from the Ataturk Memorial, Anzac Day 2010

  • Memorials to the Wahine sinking. The harbour has claimed numerous vessels including the inter-island ferry Wahine in 1968 with large loss of life. The main culprit is usually visible – Barrett’s Reef, a rocky obstacle in the entry to the harbour.
  • Naturist beach! The peninsula road is blissfully flat aside from a relatively gentle rise over the Pass of Branda through to Breaker Bay, a great place for watching southerly storms … and if you’re so inclined, a walk along the beach to find a secluded area to sunbathe in ‘clothing optional’ fashion.
  • Penguins, supposedly. There are a few signs warning that these little fellas could cross the road but I’m yet to see one.
  • Airport. As well as the regular presence of aircraft, the whiffs of aviation fuel being carried on the wind may also give this away.

My route home on this occasion took me via the airport through road, with suburbia then replacing coastline as I made the final homeward trudge, legs sore from four hours of activity and feet dying to be freed from grit-filled socks. Spirits tired but happy.

Wharf on Seatoun beach

Tarakena Bay, situated below the Ataturk Memorial

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