One is in Wellington now!
I drove here via the Manawatu Gorge (which is windy, twisty, perilous, but thankfully brief), and remembered to turn off at the right place in Woodville.
I stopped off at Masterton and visited the museum/art gallery, which was celebrating the Wairarapa Embroiderer’s Guild’s diamond jubilee. A large hall was filled with all manner of embroidered
crap crafts, including the “bag challenge”, in which the guild members were challenged to make a bag with embroidery. My favourite piece was an embroidered scene showing a bride looking in the mirror and seeing herself as a little girl reflected back. I would have taken a photo, but I suspect the guild ladies knew I was up to no good.
I passed through Carterton and Eketahuna. My great-great grandfather (or something like that) came from Carterton. As for Eketahuna, well, it had a really, really big sign with the town name, which appears to be its quirky town feature. (Stratford = Shakespeare; Dannevirke = Vikings!; Eketahuna = has a name).
Then I stopped off at Greytown, which is apparently where Wellingtonians go for weekend getaways. I visited the Shoc chocolaterie, which I highly recommend. Located in a small historic building, the smell of warm chocolate gently greeted me. I bought enough choccie delights to last me a while.
Next I had to contend with the Rimutaka Ranges. It was raining and the road was twisting. Two Mercedes overtook me at points along the way. I listened to the only audible radio station’s broadcast of the Maori Queen’s funeral.
Finally I reached the Hutt Valley and I detoured to Upper Hutt because, um, well, I wanted to see what it looked like. Having seen it, I was trying to get back on SH2, when I found myself going down a road by a school. It was home time and the street was chocker with parents’ cars. Then it started to hail. This will be my lasting memory of Upper Hutt.
Lower Hutt was slightly nicer. My main purpose there was to check out the civic buildings, which are build in a fine post-war modern style. They looked good, even in the rain.
So finally I made it to Wellington. It turns out the best time to come here is the weekend, because hotels have lots of cheap rates. Well, I know that now.