We’ve been back in Wellington, New Zealand, a fortnight and are quickly reacquainting ourselves with favourite haunts. The weather has mostly been conducive to outdoor activities and our children are loving playing with their friends.
Here’s five outdoor favourites from the last fortnight…
1. Rock pooling, climbing and beach play at Scorching Bay beach.
This gorgeous gem of a place, on the Miramar Peninsula, with the delightful ‘Scorch-o-rama Cafe’ overlooking the beach, is stunning. My four and eight year old daughters spent a lovely time climbing up and over the rocks, exploring a little cave, examining shells and life in the rock pools (spotting two crabs and some little fish). The soft, yellow sand of the beach then attracted them to build castles (and destroy them just as quickly!), whilst I dipped my toes in the icy spring water and admired the incredible scenery.
Wellington’s Town Belt is public land, extending for 425ha, and accessible from a number of points around the city. The land offers the feeling of being miles from city life, without having to leave town.
We are fortunate to have a part of the town-belt close to where we live. It’s magic to step into the bush and be at one with nature and the native bird life. On this visit I returned with my pockets stuffed with ‘nature treasures’, bestowed upon me by my four year old, from skeleton leaves and wild flowers, to sticks and ‘special’ stones.
We are fortunate to live near some gorgeous bays and beaches. Lyall Bay is a real community hub and there’s always something going on. When the tide is out the sand begs to be drawn and ran on. We popped down one sunshine evening and I joined the children in doing cartwheels, handstands and spinning my four year old around until we both collapsed in a dizzy pile.
The wide promenade near the beach is great for children to practice their wheel skills and a small playground makes for fun, whilst the grown-ups enjoy a really decent coffee from the local Maranui Cafe!
4. Visiting Wellington Zoo
We have always loved visiting this wonderful zoo, set on a hilly landscape overlooking the city, just a short drive from our home (or a walk of just over half an hour). Its tag line is ‘the best little zoo in the world’ and over the past decade we’ve seen it transformed from a zoo of the past to a zoo of the future, with its focus on conservation, education and ecological enclosures that are naturally landscaped to make the animals feel comfortable.
We loved the new ‘Neighbours’ walk through exhibition – where we found the kangaroos hanging out watching the children ‘jumping like kangaroos’ on the trampoline!
We also loved seeing the Caracals, a recent addition to the zoo. We all had fun being small cats with big ears for a moment – and hiding in the ‘grass’… boo!
5. Playing at one of Wellington’s many playgrounds
There’s well over 100 playgrounds in the Wellington region, all of top notch quality. This past fortnight we’ve visited the playgrounds in Houghton Valley, Lyall Bay, Island Bay and Central Park (Brooklyn). One of our favourite, especially on a summery evening, is the playground at Island Bay, with its giant slide, wooden boat and lookout, swings, see-saws, climbing frames and a play area for younger children too.
It’s so wonderful to be back home. Our oldest daughter is delighted to be back at school with her friends and has slotted straight back into her routines, whilst our younger two are learning from home and enjoying playing with our neighbours. The garden is keeping them busy too, with plenty of spring planting to do!
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