The night before we went, Mark arrived home and said 'quick get outside with your camera, there's an incredible light on the mountains'. I didn't need to be told twice. I love that I have my family so in tune now that they are scoping out photo opportunities just as much as I am! This shot below is probably one of my favourite ever, ever, EVER taking looking up towards the ranges past Wellington. How cool that this is the view from our house!
That night we all went down to the light festival Lux as a family with another friend of Noah's who was staying the night, and the kids all had a ball running around amongst the crowds on the waterfront spotting the next installation. Early the next morning I had a short opportunity to meet up in real life with a couple of Instagram friends for the first time. We'd hoped to catch the sunrise on Mt Victoria but the weather really wasn't playing ball - when I arrived at the top the wind was blowing SO hard it was rocking the car so we met up on the waterfront instead. It definitely wasn't photo weather and the two shots below are a token salute to the morning out - the lights from Lux were still on surprisingly!
After leaving the kids in Jackie and Heidi's capable hands, we headed over the hill to Greytown to The White Swan. It was pretty miserable weather, and although we'd contemplated a trip to the vineyards at Martinborough, in the end the thought of holing up in the hotel room with our own wine, cheese and crackers won out! Mark had the foresight to pack our hard drive, so we were able to watch two films (The life of Walter Mitty and Dallas Buyers Club) as well as enjoy a lovely meal out at the restaurant.
We had booked on a night of international rugby (which we managed to do last year as well - talk about timing!) so it was fairly noisy in the bar next door, and as our room was above the kitchen that was somewhat noisy too until 10pm. But by then we were fast asleep and it didn't matter!
Those little photographer's itchy fingers had me up at 8am raring to go. We were the first down in the restaurant to have breakfast and then were out the door by 9.15am. Mark was shaking his head at me saying 'the one morning I could sleep in and you're dragging me out on a photo shoot' but I think he's pretty used to it now!
I had the idea to drive around Lake Wairarapa, which I was surprised to learn is the 3rd largest lake in the North Island after Lake Taupo and it's only just smaller than Lake Rotorua. Where it differs from Lake Taupo though is that it's average depth is only 3 metres compared to Taupo's 110 metres, so it's really more like a giant wetland puddle! To be honest, it wasn't THAT exciting at the top of the lake, but I did love the lonely tree shot I captured with the lake and a rain shower brewing in the background.
We headed down the eastern side of the lake through an abundance of farming country, spotting a few little lambies already leaping around paddocks. I took this shot above as I do so love these trees - they remind me of Dr Seuss stories.
And this abandoned old garage just begged to be captured too.
Yelling out 'stop please' became quite the habit, as I also spied this lovely quaint countryside church which is apparently in Pirinoa - although I didn't see any evidence of a settlement to confirm this fact.
Burnside Church seats 60 and although it was sitting all quiet on its lawn here, when we drove back through later they were obviously holding an 11am Sunday service as there were a sprinkling of cars and utes in the carpark next to it.
I can imagine it being a lovely place to get married which apparently you can do for a fee of $300.
I may or may not have jumped the fence into the cemetery next door to get these shots of the church with the daffodils. The skies were rather lovely too!
And then onto Lake Ferry (or Onoke) which is really just a lake that drains into the sea surrounded by a very big sand spit at what feels like the end of the earth. Which I guess it technically is as this is the very southern most point of the North Island.
It was as cold and windy as it looks in these shots believe me!
The seagulls were having no problem just hovering in the air with the wind keeping them alight.
Mark and I both thought the cliffs reminded us of some of the ones from back home in Dorset around the West Bay area. I love the different geological eras that wild cliffs like this expose for us to see the history in them.
There he is. My longsuffering hubby. Freezing his butt off being my trusty photographer's companion.
I remarked that it wasn't as exciting a location as it might have been, but Mark pointed out that it would be an entirely different place on a warm summer's day, whether we ever get back here to check that out is another story.
After calling it a day, we drove around the other side of the lake almost past the famous Wharekauhau lodge and also kept our eyes peeled for any sign of the large properties that James Cameron (the director) has been buying up here but didn't see any sign. After a quick stop for a bite to have on the road at Everest cafe in Featherston, we headed back over the hill to collect the boys who'd had a right royal time with Jackie and Heidi by all accounts, getting wet in the Hutt river, playing loads of LEGO Movie on the Playstation, eating pizza etc. All the fun things you should do when you're being spoilt by lovely friends!