We had a visitor from the homeland – Phil Immelman spent a few days with us on his way
to another assignment in a remote mining town far, far away. He came bearing not gifts but some very precious items we could not fit into our bags when we left – school books for Jules and my funny old brown Harrington jacket. He also brought a bottle of Diemersfontein Pinotage which was a miracle in a bottle. The Kiwi wines are fantastic, but I don’t think there is another wine in the universe like Diemersfontein.
Having Phil around gave us the excuse to show him parts of the city where he might be interested in staying.
We started at Musick Point and walked down to the water’s edge. Phil remembered that he had been here about 10 years ago and had parked his camper van in the Musick Point parking lot overnight. We saw this very dedicated fisherman on a tiny island. He is trapped there until low tide.
So then there was a trip up one tree hill, through the city via the waterfront, across the bridge to the north shore for lunch at Devonport followed by ice cream from the little Italian place, then back past Mission Bay to Saint Helliers which is what we look on to across the strait.
It was interesting to see the world from a different angle. We also went to a small inlet called Karaka Bay. This is truly a hidden gem, tucked away down a side road and difficult to find. At the end of a long, steep wooden walkway one finally gets to a row of very derelict cottages inhabited by “salt-of-the-earth” fishermen who appear to have been living here among the dense coastal undergrowth for centuries.
There was a tourism notice stating that the Treat of Waitangi was singed at this beach. So I was astonished that there was no memorial nor plaque to commemorate the event. Phil and I strolled along the beach on a cool but tranquil autumn evening marvelling at the light. We walked up an alternative route back to the car and found a most beautifully secluded cluster of homes with phenomenal views and private access to the beach – and one of them was deserted and for sale!! Well I was ready to whip out my cheque book and sign on the dotted line. Sadly, it had been sold and was awaiting its new owner. Here are the Google Earth co-ordinates if you are interested: Lat 36°51’2.77″S Long 174°52’40.01″E. Unfortunately you can’t see the elevation, but it is very steep and high up there.
When we arrived home I told Jules that we went to the place where the treaty was signed but there was no memorial. She just rolled her eyes and explained that the treaty was signed at Waitangi (up the coast from here) for the first time and was then taken across the country to various tribes who each signed it, so Karaka was one of dozens of places where it was signed. You see – four months and she is an expert in Kiwi history.