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Another option is to run away. Or just feel as if you have.
The beautiful new path down the east side of Otago Harbour provides an urban escape. It appears highly wheelchair accessible and cyclists seem to love it. Each step or revolution leaves the city behind.
With cars no longer on the radar, the senses are freed to roam. The even surface underfoot lets the eyes wander over expanses of water and sky. Walking’s slowness means there’s time to watch the hills across the harbour change shape as you go.
Randomly, right beside the footpath near Macandrew Bay you suddenly see what looks like a native turf plant. It’s Selliera radicans, remuremu, ‘‘affectionately’’ known as bonking grass. Although this little toughie is pretty common in coastal areas it’s still a bit of a buzz to see this tiny thing thriving among surrounding standard grass.
The further you go, the fewer cars there are — to the degree that distant traffic sounds from the other side of the harbour become more salient.
Other users whizz quickly past or approach on foot. Thus, it’s the ideal wide open space to listen through earbuds to anthems from your youth and warble along freely. Who cares? As you put one foot in front of the other, nothing matters. All is in perspective. Best keep left though, to allow for other users and avoid a hard dose of reality.
Funnily enough, ideal weather is not necessarily a sunny day. If you’re heading north that would mean the sun in your eyes. Calm stillness is idyllic.
Eventually, the shared path will reach the end of the peninsula. What an asset to the city and what a great way to put your troubles behind you.
The bus shuttles back and forth so often that, towards the end, it felt almost rude not to wave at the driver. Like an idiot, I did and felt immediately dicky.
Nevertheless, it would have made the perfect transport back except for the fact my friend in Broad Bay offered me a ride home in his vegetable oil-powered diesel. When he pulled away, having dropped me off, I think I got whiff of barbecue.