Cape Pallister is a bit over two hours drive North and East of Wellington. It’d be faster as the crow flies, but the road system takes you a long way North through a series of hills before heading back South and East.
Even though it was a rainy, blustery morning the Cape looked dramatic with huge waves breaking onto black sand beaches. Fragile shale cliffs line the sea and the road is cut precariously into their base. Precariously enough that there were signs warning of active slips and extolling us to drive with care, although it wasn’t quite clear what we were to do if the road decided to fall into the ocean.
There’s not a lot on the Cape. A couple of tiny townships one of which has as its main claim to fame the fact that the fishing boats have to be hauled in and out of the water by small bulldozers, and some of the bulldozers are veritable antiques.
But then you come to the last bit of coast leading to the Cape Pallister lighthouse. And the coast is home to a huge colony of seals, And the seals have pups. Watching the seals against the backdrop of the crashing waves was an absolute joy.
The lighthouse is also worth a visit. After climbing the 252 steps to its base you get a sweeping view of the coast in both directions that’s worth the effort.
No question though that the seals were the highlight of the day, probably the holiday in fact. I’ve never been so close to seals, within a meter or so, nor seen so many. And the pups are absolutely adorable.