In the mid-1890s the shipping entrepreneur John Williams bought Days Bay for £1,000. He then spent several thousand more turning it into a resort. He built a wharf and introduced a ferry service across to Wellington. He also built a Brighton-styled pavilion – to seat 800 – and an upmarket hotel. As well as tennis courts and hockey fields there was a water chute – a ramp with wooden rails that ran into a pond. Flat-bottomed boats holding eight people rocketed down the chute at a breathtaking 50 kilometres per hour. These thrill seekers faced a long queue before getting a ride – on fine weekends up to 5,000 people travelled on the ferry from Wellington to Days Bay.
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