23 October 2012

Right in the middle of Wright's Hill

It's been years since we've explored the fortress on Wrights Hill. Crazy really when it's only a five minute drive away. But it's always made more difficult by the fact that it's only open 4 times a year on public holidays and more often than not we're away gallivanting around the countryside on long weekends.

It really is quite an impressive place, considering that the 620 metres of tunnels, a series of rooms and the 3 gun emplacements were only built over a period of 2 years during World War II.

The guns were never fired in anger, although the main gun was tested in 1946, with 3 rounds fired into the Cook Strait, and a few broken windows were documented in nearby houses further down the hill in Karori. The guns were capable of firing a 172kg shell up to 29km as far away as the entrance to Wellington Harbour, or across towards Tory Channel in the Marlborough Sounds in the opposite direction.

You can see the marks on the wall here of the 360 degrees round that the gun could fire.

The bolts holding the gun turret in place go down over 2 metres into the concrete, and the guns, once complete with turrets weighted 135 tons.

The next shot is looking back down into the bowels of the tunnels, that's 3 steep staircases you can see on the way back down.

The things we do for our kids. I managed to climb up here one step behind Mylo who was dead keen to go up to the top of the ladder and look down on the gun turret.

The tunnels aside, Wrights Hill is also a great spot to bring visitors to the city as we've often done in the past, being one of the highest points around these parts to get a great view of the whole layout of the city. One July I even remember being up here with my brother when there was snow on the ground!

There is an impressive replica of the gun itself down in the tunnels. In the early 1960's the Government made the decision to cut the real guns up for scrap and sold them, ironically to the Japanese.

And we came across a rather impressive looking specimen of a weta on the tunnel wall. Check out the length of those antennae!

These two, Noah and his best mate (whose family visited with us) had a blast running on ahead through all the tunnels to see what was coming next.

Despite the decay and rust, the Wrights Hill restoration society have done a fabulous job at bringing all the history back to life in the past 20 years.

Sorry love, are we keeping you up? Poor Mylo hadn't had a nap all weekend and spent most of the time doing mega yawns throughout the expedition, needing to be carried most of the way, and crashing out the minute we got home! He woke up with a temperature above 38 degrees so has clearly come down with some kind of virus poor poppet.

The tunnels were also a perfect opportunity to capture some fantastic light and dark shots don't you think?

This last one is my favourite from the day!


Nikki said...

Love the photos, I didn't know you could go down underneath it! X

PaisleyJade said...

What a fab place! My hubby would love it there (and the boys... in fact all of us would!!).


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