Ahhh, The Beach.
Damn! Vacation really does get in the way, doesn’t it? Or it might be just me because I’m just that easy to distract. Basically, I’ve skipped a couple of posts because there were presents to buy, luggage to pack and reunions to be had. And it’s not even Christmas yet.
Still, I thought, I had a busy day today and needed to just come home, have a glass of wine with the folks and relax for a while; so why not catch up on some writing. I have no idea whether someone actually follows this blog already, but in case someone is, I would hate to disappoint and finish another year with only the good intentions of being serious about a project.
So here it is, a late night update and we’re picking up where we left off. The falls in Piha region west of Auckland. More specifically the second ones we’d planned on visiting – Karekare.
After leaving Kitekite, we continued along another winding road up in order to get to the next cove. From the highest point along the road a gorgeous view opened in front of us and we just had to pull over and have a look:
It was so much more impressive in reality that I just could help but think “Are you kidding me, New Zealand?!” I stared at this for a while and then we started the descend. At the end of it, we arrived at another gravel-covered parking with a Maori sculpture nearby:
But before we saw the beach, we thought we should check out the other waterfall, it was only a few minutes away after all.
So we did. And it was quite nice as well, even with only two levels before the water hit the pool at the bottom. A little more of our attention was absorbed by the very friendly dog of a local who was scanning the ground around the pool for old coins. We even witnessed the joy when his patience was rewarded by an old Newzealand coin he said he’d been searching for for the past few hours with the help of his metal detector.
We left him and the dog in the shady seclusion of the water pool and went in a search of our own – for the quickest path to the beach.
We took the closest one with a sign pointing us to the beach and with just one false start, we reached the wide and flat barren area of ruffled black-and-golden sand. It was vast, it was empty and the sun was approaching its nadir beyond the edge of the Pacific ocean. A few movie scenes came to mind as I was crossing this cool desert.
Not much later, from an information board, I learnt that it was not my imagination that evoked a movie-like feeling at that beach, but my memory as Karekare Beach has been a movie set several times during the years; probably the most famous movie that features it being The Piano.
The sun was slowly setting down on our second day in New Zealand but we needed to make the most of it so we decided not to go back the way we came but go to the other end and find a crossing that would take us directly to the car next to the wooden statue.
As it often happens to us, we didn’t choose the most efficient path. It turned out there is an overflow from the high tide into an area of lower ground. We saw that from the parking when we arrived, but thought it was only twenty or so meters long. The sad reality was that it stretched for much longer than that with different water levels and stages of evaporation. In the end we walked through some beachside bush barefoot (twice!) – scaring a harrier in the tall grass on our way – and then had to go thigh-deep through a good part of the swamp. Our wade was witnessed by a late surfer, whom we followed in order to find a shallower part, because unlike him we did not have wetsuits on. I believe he was almost as amused as I was embarrassed. But I managed to keep my shorts, hence my butt, above water so it was a successful crossing.
It was already past sundown by the time we got to the car and the last remnants of sunlight were quickly dissolving in the growing shadows. We watched a man twirl and toss a burning poi stick for a couple of minutes, and then headed back to the city, to the hotel bathroom, and to our last night in Auckland.