I’ve been back in New Zealand for the last few days. We came back mostly for a wedding (in the Coromandel) which has been and gone. After that we drove down the North Island via Taranaki, turning many corners and driving over many hills, which is something else I’ve really missed. Thankfully the frequent Taranaki sunshine relented for a day, providing an unusual day of low cloud and heavy rain for me to hop up towards the mountain and read a few pages my book. I’ll write something more properly about that later once I have a chance.
Now I’m in Wellington for a few days, just hanging around and enjoying the place.
This morning I wandered down into town from Kingston, behind the Brooklyn Hill, getting a nice southerly blast around every second corner or so with the hills of Te Kopahou Reserve in the back-drop. (I like it how the weather here is so directly affected by the landscape. It’s interesting.) I got a hair cut, cruised around some of the various outdoor shops, was reminded of the recent fancy 3D Tararua Map produced by Geographx  when I saw one on the wall in Mountain Designs, and so I walked up to the Dominion Observatory near the top of the cable car and bought my own for $20, decorated with John Pascoe’s famous Tararua-endorsing quote. They were very trusting to a random stranger, along the lines of “yeah, take it, give us an email address and drop $20 in our bank account later on”.
I walked back to the CBD through the University, and bought some replacement shoes. Melbourne doesn’t really do good hybrid-like walking shoes of the sort I like. They have jandals, sneaker-like running shoes, and then it’s straight into the hiking shoes that I don’t really want to waste on hard surfaces, so I’m glad I found some whilst here. I bought a new map case, which might encourage me to actually hold a map in front of me more when I’m trying to navigate (I bet that’ll help), some nice Earth Sea Sky light-weight travel pants of a style which is exactly what I want but is also very hard to get in Melbourne. Then I wandered through the library, dodged the red-light-running traffic on Jervois Quay, and lingered around the waterfront. It feels like home, and it’s nice to be back for a short while.
Anyway, my hair stylist reckoned that with good weather it may be very possible to start at Otaki Forks and get in to the geographically ambiguous Snowy Hut and back within a day. I don’t like my chances, but I may look into the possibility of trying this tomorrow, depending on how things go. Otherwise it’ll have to wait for some other time. I’d probably need to get up early.