Travel around the coast in Wellington, through Lyall Bay and Island Bay going towards Owhiro Bay and you will come to the Taputeranga Marine Reserve on The Esplanade. This was developed to protect the ecosystem and keep it in a natural state. Scientists use the reserve as a natural laboratory and for those of us who love the sea it is relaxing to sit and look out over this area while for the more adventurous it is a great place to spend a few hours. You can dive, swim, snorkel and explore the rock pools, but don’t take any fish or shellfish away. This is not allowed in marine reserves. With the only predators in this area being of the natural sea life kind, that is not human, the sea life is able to grow and reproduce, so we can all enjoy the spectacle before us. It’s wonderful to see paua, starfish and other shellfish at our fingertips in their natural habitat.
Another benefit of visiting a place like this is that it encourages us to climb over the uneven surface of rocks. This is good for the older as well as the young. Our brains are challenged to put our feet in safe positions and our confidence grows as we do so. It’s amazing how quickly you lose your confidence to do these things when you don’t do them regularly, and how young children find uneven surfaces tricky when they haven’t been offered these experiences. They get a buzz when they find they can move over and around the rocks. For the older folk it’s a bit like doing the crossword or sudoku – use it or lose it – physical activity is great for the brain as well as the body.
After climbing around at the beach a coffee and snack seems a good plan. Opposite the marine reserve is a cafe with a great outlook. Sit on the deck of “the bach” and enjoy the fresh Wellington sea air along with the view. You may even see a ferry go past. “The bach” also operates as a function centre. It’s also on the bus route. There is good parking for motorhomes.