December 8, 2023 Skyline Walkway (Day 72)

We woke to the prospect of another beautiful day, a day for hiking we thought! We finished our breakfast and drove out to the the Skyline Walkway trailhead, a scant 8.5 km (about 5 miles) from the B&B. We started through the forest and soon broke out into full sunshine. There are some ups and downs on the trail, but a lot of it is on the ridge tops above the suburbs of Wellington. At one point the trail approaches the edge of a Karori subdivision near the Montgomery Ave. playground and the local water tower. We were awestruck as we turned the corner of a switchback to this view:

The water tower is beautifully decorated!

We walked around the structure to admire the artwork.

The breath from the blue figure blew onto the sleeping green beauty.

I realized that this depicts the primal couple, Ranginui (Rangi-Sky Father) and Papatuanuku (Papa-Earth Mother) of Maori creation mythology! And there was no graffiti marring it!

Other paintings depict the Pohutukawa tree and the Kawakawa bush.

We continued on the trail in the full sunshine, enjoying the long views over the suburbs and glimpses of Wellington harbour far below us. As we hiked we noticed that rabbits started appearing everywhere! Most were the typical brown cottontail bunny color and size, then we noticed some huge brown rabbits and and even a few black and a small blond rabbit! There were signs posted warning of poison for rats and possums (introduced in 1837 to establish a fur trade, then again in 1857. They are now a serious invasive pest threatening the natural environment!) but we guess that they have given up on controlling the rabbit populations, here anyway!

How many rabbits are in this picture? Over a dozen! Some are hidden under the bushes, but you can see a few pairs of rabbit ears in the open!

After 3 miles we found shade in a grove of Monterey pines (an imported specie to reforest the hills with marketable timber in plantations) and laid out our picnic lunch.

There were tons of rabbits here as well, but they disappeared into their rabbit holes when we arrived.

After lunch we discovered this old fireplace and wondered at the structure it must have been a part of.

Looking out over the hills towards the ocean, past the windmills, the view that the house must have had!

A six mile hike was pretty good for us, and we headed home for a relaxing evening.

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