The coastal cliffs are formed along the Ohariu Fault, one of the three main fault lines that define, and threaten, Wellington. The cliffs are about 180 m tall here, and not so steep that you can’t scramble down them in most places. Still, they give spectacular views up the coast to Kapiti and Mana Islands and westward across Cook Strait to the South Island.
|Looking north from the cliff top. Mana Island with Kapiti Island behind; Pukerua Bay headland (distant right) and Pipinui Point (closer, right)|
East of the cliffs, it’s sheep farming country, but now also a wind farm. The huge turbines were spinning slowly in today’s gentle breeze.
Down on the coast, it's pretty weedy, but a few native plants persist here. Tetragonia is an edible, scrambling, slightly fleshy, plant in the ice-plant family Aizoaceae; this one is probably T. trigyna.
|Looking south to Opau Bay|
|Clematis forsteri male flower|
|Clematis forsteri, infected by rust fungus (right) and not infected (left).|
Some quite spectacular weeds grow in places along the coast. Artemisia arborescens is a common hedge plant in coastal areas and has probably spread here from the nearby settlement.
Aloe saponaria was growing beside one of the gun emplacements. I wonder if it was originally planted there by the gun crews.
Although we had an almost still day, there's no doubt this is a windy coast. First of course, the decision to put a wind farm here reflects that, but also many of the plants are wind-shorn. This Melicytus alpinus was so stunted that it was almost a solid outer shell of wood, with a few fleshy leaves attached.
They say you can't beat Wellington on a good day. I think the statement is deliberately ambiguous; it could refer to the rugby team, or to the weather. Whatever, today was a good day.