Christmas-party crashing… Conquering the Fire-break and Strawberry picking!

Crashing the Christmas party, sort of – I was invited!

Working some freelance means that I didn’t have something stable set up for Christmas. Thankfully I moved in with some friendly flat-mates, and Paula invited me along to join her Christmas do.

If you’ve not experienced it, Christmas in the southern-hemisphere is in summer (and to someone who grew up with cold Christmases, it’s quite odd) – needless to say then, a Christmas do down-under is regularly a BBQ.

Paula’s work had organised for their Christmas party to be an afternoon out at Staglands.

Staglands is a Wildlife Reserve outside of Wellington, where you can see, feed and interact with a variety of farm (and native) animals, close-up. So we had a bit of a BBQ there and toured around to see the animals, including getting rammed by one of the older goats (the two – very cute – kids were well behaved in comparison!)

So… enjoy all of the photos of random animals from a nice, sunny Christmas day out!

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Anyone else ever seen a White Peacock before…? No? Me neither…
And as a comparison to it’s albino counter-part, the standard peacock, up close and personal
This guy was pretty friendly, chewing on food pellets and spreading crumbs across shoulders…
Swans – they’re not as mean as you hear (and definitely not as bad as geese)
Of course there’s an ostrich casually strolling about…
Going to check out the pigs – Paula wanted to take the little one home, but I don’t think we’d get as much bacon off him… ;oP
The goat kids were much better behaved than the adult (who literally kept ‘butting’ in) – bonus they’re pretty cute with their miniature horns!
And it’s only right, in tie for Christmas, to visit with the local reindeer

Conquering the Fire-break!*

*Not for the first time, but it’s getting easier ;o)

At least one weekend each month, my flat-mate Paula, 2 of her friends and I try to head out to the fire-break in the hills overlooking Wellington.

The fire-break track runs up from behind Te Whiti Park, and builds up to an almost vertical rock-face slope after winding round into the hill. It’s quite a challenge, especially as the Wellington wind is usually there to take your remaining breath away…

The hill winds up, past a small watering-hole (which is only suitable for the dogs to swim in) and then continues up, to the summit where you can look out over Wellington harbour and wonder what fool* would possibly go up there to use the paragliding run-off…

*I imagine they’re pretty rare, as the winds in Wellington are fairly standard and also pretty strong…

So – without having to put in the gruelling effort of climbing up the fire-break, feel free to appreciate the view with us.

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Looking down the fire-break (from about halfway) into the Hutt Valley
Looking up the fire-break (from the same point)… so far to go!
Stunning view across Wellington bay from the top
Paula and the guys celebrating our achievement

Strawberry Picking!

After being around Wellington continuously for a couple of months, it was good to have a day out. Paula, one of Paula’s friends, Jen and I headed out mid-morning towards Masterton. So through the winding Wairarapas we went, stopping at Henley Lake to walk around the lake, stretch our legs as well as Chewy’s little ones, then headed in to Masterton centre for a bite to eat.

After lunch we continued out to the ‘Wee Red Barn’ – a Strawberry Farm just off the side of the road. Summer’s peak season for strawberries, and they had a great deal on – $4 entry and then $8 p/kg of strawberries you brought out in a punnet.

We did our best eating strawberries on our way around – but it’s actually really difficult to eat a lot of strawberries in a short time, even with them being my favourite! Never mind though, we came back with some great punnets to work through over the next week or so!

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The Wee Red Barn, just outside Masterton
Easy to spot with this sign on the road!
Some of the produce… I can’t guarantee if they ended up in the punnet… or straight into stomachs
Naturally there’s a goat enclosure outside the barn…