On the sculpture trail in the Botanic Garden of Wellington

When the man of the house has a game of football adjacent to the Wellington Botanic Garden there is no excuse for his supporting ladies not to follow. The weather was calm and dry, seasonably crisp, but nothing to grumble about. We rugged up and trooped along.

View over Wellington harbour from Botanical Gardens

We lingered to watch the start of the game, but quickly got side-tracked by ducks.

We then climbed up to a high vantage point of the football pitch, from the Rose Gardens to the Herb Garden, where we could see the game from a bird’s eye view. The girls called out and cheered for their Dad and his team, with their voices booming off the hills and causing a few jovial looks from passing walkers. The team definitely heard the cheers, as they scored their first goal of the match and waved a greeting back to their loud support crew!

Feeling like the team had the game well in hand we decided to spend some time enjoying the gardens. We meandered through the winding paths to explore the sculpture trail (click here for a map).

Sophie sees if she can shift the boulders!

The sculptures in the gardens are wonderfully tactile, designed to be touched and interacted with. The boulder stack (Peacemaker by Chris Booth) has water running up and over its sides, the copper coned sculpture (Listening & Viewing Device by Andrew Drummond) is a visual and audiological delight for the senses…

Copper rings

The marbled ‘D’ (as the girls call it) begs to be walked through, with dark granite of night on one side contrasting with the white marble and blue stone on the other side (Rudderstone by Denis O’Connor).

Through the void

The fresh air, sensory sculptures, natural setting and sweeping vistas of Wellington harbour combined to lift us all up. Unfortunately a sudden call to nature saw us making a dash from the void to the toilets at the top of the gardens, by the cable car! Thankfully we got to the top in time, though little Miss 5 was left feeling a touch uncomfortable – which made for a good excuse to ride the cable car down to the city to seek out a fresh pair of pants!

The cable car was a favourite of Charlotte’s for many years and I was surprised she didn’t remember the countless trips we’d made in the past – counting the tunnels on the way and waving at the other cable car mid-way. It was a first for Alice and she kept singing, ‘Ding, ding, ding,’ and ‘Beep, beep, beep’.

When we reached the bottom we had a fun little gander around a few shops on a new pant mission. Lambton Quay is all very up market and the only place that sells children’s clothes is Kirkcaldie and Stains (and described as ‘New Zealand’s Premier Department Store’, cheap pants are not an easy find!).

Nevertheless we were pretty successful, finding a $22 pair of leggings, and quickly exited the store before feeling tempted to purchase anything else – or risk Alice breaking any china!

The sculpture themed afternoon continued on the city streets – with Charlotte playing peek-a-boo with Alice around the ‘Invisible City‘ sculpture by Anton Parsons…

Charlotte playing peek-a-boo with Alice

Meanwhile the time was merrily ticking along and as we made our way back up the hill, via a comfortable ride on the cable car, I felt my phone buzz in my pocket with a text, ‘Where r u lot?!’. The man of the family had finished his testosterone release session for the week and was ready to be reunited with his ladies (a hem, well, ladies might be stretching it…!).

As the sky turned pink, we ran on down the hilly landscape of the gardens, briefly pausing to run up and down the steps of ‘Body to Soul‘ (by Mary-Louise Browne), to meet up with our pack leader at the Henry Moore ‘Bronze Form‘ sculpture (all very ‘Sound of Music’).

We all had pink cheeks and clear eyes, feeling totally refreshed from a hearty dose of fresh air, sculpture culture, sensory exploration and exercise!

And the final score (just in case you were wondering) was 2-0 to the man of our house’s team! He was exhausted, but very happy 🙂

Useful links:

City Gallery education sculpture trails teachers’ resource kit

Sculpture NZ – Maps of Wellington Sculpture Walks

Wellington Sculpture Trust