Following our trip to Hobbiton, we drove towards Wellington, the country’s capital. After long drives through the rough weather, I really appreciated being in such an energetic city, famous for its vibrant street culture, art and the best coffee on the planet.
The weather went crazy, they told us it would be the worst storm in 49 years so we thought this would be a good time to reward ourselves with the comfort of a nice hostel in the city center. Due to the heavy rain, we enjoyed relaxing in the many cafes and using their free wifi to upload all our pictures.
The city center is filled with museums and galleries, which was another good alternative to spend time during the downpour. On a sunny day, however, there are even more options like exploring the beautiful waterfront or taking a ride on the Wellington Cable Car (which was built by a Swiss company) from downtown to the picturesque suburb of Kelburn. The view over Wellington is stunning and so is the walk through the Wellington Botanic Garden.
After being in Wellington for two days we continued our drive to Cape Palliser. Due to the storm, some of the roads were flooded and we could not drive to Cape Palliser.
Which was not too bad, considering that we found another fascinating place on our way. We stumbled completely by accident upon another filming location for the ‘Paths of the Dead’ scene in The Lord of The Rings – The Putangirua Pinnacles.
There are three different walks, from 10 minutes to 3 hours. The landscape is lovely and very special – an excellent place to see how mother earth changes within times.
Putangirua or the Pinnacles as they are called are amazing rock formations shaped over time by water and erosion. The gravels are about 12-14 million years old, but they are soft and easily eroded. The Putangirua Stream has eroded a series of deep gullies (Badlands) down which rainwater flows vertically.
The gravel is removed by rain wash, but large boulders shed the water and protect the gravel immediately below, leaving the bizarrely shaped pinnacles ‚an amazing collection of hoodoos‘.
After being overwhelmed by the beauty of those rock formations we intended to return to our car. It was then that we got lost somewhere next to the river. I seriously don’t really know how this happened but suddenly we had to cross the river – there was no other option. Believing just following the river would lead us to our car we kept going. We walked and walked and there was no official way anymore. After a while we heard voices right next to us – the only thing that separated us from the other people were mean thorn bushes. Well, there was no other choice than crossing them and getting stitches all over our bodies.
Driving from Wellington to Cape Palliser is worth a detour. The roads are stunning, right next to the ocean and over the Rimutakas mountain.
After a two hour drive from The Putangirua Pinnacles, we were rewarded with a beautiful sunset in Castlepoint – an extraordinary place.