Just a quick note to let folks know that the Portobello Paddock Pursuit, our popular muddy, slimy, wet obstacle course fun run, will not be taking place this year. The organising committee lost a few key volunteers this year , and it’s proven a bit too much to get a new team in place in time for this year’s event.
As such, we’ve decided to take a break this year, and we plan on returning in November 2019 with our biggest and best event ever.
Our thanks to everyone who’s been eagerly asking about the Paddock Pursuit’s return. It takes a small army of volunteers to make it a success. If you are interested in helping to organise next year’s event, please contact the Portobello Community committee, or stop by one of our monthly meetings on the third Tuesday of every month at 7:30pm at Coronation Hall.
The weekend of 22-23 September will find Otago Harbour full of celebration as scheduled ferry service returns between Portobello and Port Chalmers. Skipper Rachel McGregor of Sawyers Bay will be launching a new harbour ferry and scenic cruise service, Port To Port Cruises and Wildlife Tours, that will be running twice-daily ferry crossings as well as scenic cruises from September to March, with a special slate of activities planned for the inaugural weekend.
McGregor, a veteran of both the wildlife cruise business and commercial maritime vessels, is starting the new venture to bring together her passions for skippering boats and showing people the wonderful sights the Harbour has on offer. While she enjoys the commercial work she’s been doing, she notes,”Personal skills go to waste on a dredge. It doesn’t care if you’re friendly or not.”
McGregor’s beautiful new metallic purple-blue ferry, christened the MV Sootychaser, was custom built to her specifications and made its way down the South Island this week from the Nelson shipyard (Osprey Boats) where it was built. The craft is designed with a wide beam for stability and comfort and both inside (heated) and outside seating areas for excellent views and comfort. The vessel is expected to be able to carry 24 passengers for ferry crossings, or 14 for scenic harbour cruises.
McGregor is renovating the original ferry ticket shed next to the Portobello jetty as Port To Port’s base of operations on land. Tickets can be purchased in person or booked online (preferable) on the Port To Port Cruises and Wildlife Tours web site. Harbour residents should be on the lookout for half-price cruise and ferry crossing offers for locals during service’s first month starting 13 September, and McGregor hopes to soon add a ten-trip discount card to the mix. Interested passengers should ring 020 416 24250 to confirm dates for these discounted trips.
While she’s excited about showing the sights to thousands of tourists expected this season, she seems even more enthusiastic about getting Dunedin residents out on the Harbour. “Every time I take locals out, they’re amazed at what we have right here. There are ship graveyards that are visible right in the water, and shipwrecks on either side of the mouth of the harbour. Many people don’t know that they are there.”
In the meantime, the launch weekend is expected to be fun for all ages, with day passes available on Saturday 22 September for trips between Portobello, Carey’s Bay, and Quarantine Island Kamau Taurua, with family friendly entertainment at each destination. On Sunday 23 September, half-price discounts will be available for guided harbour cruises. From then until 31 March, there will be two ferry crossings daily (at 12:45-12:55 and 3:15-3:25) as well as multiple harbour cruises. Visit portotoport.co.nz for timetables, prices and other details.
Construction is well underway on the section of the Peninsula Connection between Turnbulls Bay and Portobello. The project includes road widening and construction of a shared path for pedestrians and cyclists. In some areas, the road will be raised to protect it during high tides. The slip next to the Turnbulls Bay wall will also be repaired.
The stone wall has been built from Turnbulls Bay to Edwards Bay and is progressing towards Seaton Road. Sheet piling for a pump station is underway at Oyster Bay. At times, the bus shelters will be out of use as they are being raised to the level of the new road. Buses will continue to stop at all existing bus stops. Work on power and telecommunications services will start soon, but disruption to services is not anticipated.
Short sections of Portobello Road are down to one lane with stop/go signs or lights to manage traffic. If you are travelling along this route, please be patient and allow a bit more time. Please slow down for your safety and the safety of the workers.
Smaller numbers of trucks will be carting from the Clearwater Quarry until the end of the year, using a single direction loop around Weir, Papanui Inlet and Allans Beach Roads. Signs are put up when this carting is taking place. Residents will continue to have two-way access along these roads to their properties. All other traffic (such as tourists and the public) will be required to follow the single direction loop when signs are up.
The official opening of the Portobello Heritage Trail took place on Saturday 14th of October with around 70 people from the Peninsula and city taking place. The opening was part of the 2017 Dunedin Heritage Festival “Harbour City” celebrating the Otago Harbour and its environs. Portobello Community Incorporated created the Portobello Heritage Trail as a legacy project for the festival.
Seven signs depicting the history of places within the township were researched and developed by Paul Pope with the assistance and generosity of the Otago Peninsula Museum who provided the images from its collection. A special thanks must go to the building owners, Athene Stewart, Jack Clearwater, Tony & Sarah Reid, Virginia Marriott, Coronation Hall and the Portobello Yacht Club for allowing the signs to be attached to their buildings. The walk around the trail was finished by the traditional “tea and scones” at the Coronation Hall. A brochure map has been developed to guide visitors around the sites and it is hoped that further signs can be added in the future.
Portobello Community Incorporated are excited to be having the official opening of their new Portobello Heritage Trail on Saturday 14th October as part of the 2017 Dunedin Heritage Festival. The new traill consist of seven interpretative signs giving the history of the main buildings in the township. The opening of the trail will start at the Portobello Jetty at 12.00pm and will be followed by afternoon tea at the Coronation Hall. Below is a sneak preview of the signs. Click on the image to view in a bigger format.
Work to repair parts of Highcliff Road affected by slips will begin on 17 July, requiring its closure from Camp Road to Seaton Road until 29 September, with residents-only access.
Specific access details:
Seal Point Road will be accessible from Pukehiki by residents only. A road closure will be located after the driveway on the Portobello side of 1165 Highcliff Road
residents on Highcliff Road above the township of Portobello will have access via Portobello. A road closure will be located on the Portobello side of 1299 Highcliff Road
Sandymount Road will not be accessible from Highcliff Road. All resident access will be via Allans Beach Road/Hoopers Inlet Road.
The project will repair damage caused by three slips ‑ two of which occurred during a storm event in 2015 and another took place earlier this year ‑ as well as improving the road’s resilience and general safety.
An assessment of Highcliff Road indicates that the landslips occurred due to a combination of steep topography, and poor drainage, as might be expected on a road that was cut into the hillside well over 100 years ago. Culverts in the road closure zone will be replaced as part of this project to bring them up to standard, and the remaining low-risk culverts along other sections of Highcliff Road will be replaced over the next four years as part of general maintenance work.
The Coronation Hall in Portobello has had a major spruce up by the Dunedin City Council Contractors. The painting has now been completed along with some additional outside lighting. The contractors have just completed pulling down the scaffold and tidying up the hall site. What a great job!