Edit Blog Post
Published: September 23rd 2008
Awhitu Regional Park
Glynn wonders how long it would take to swim to Takanini.
Spring is here! Yes, it's official and my God are we glad to see it. It's been the wettest winter on record here in Auckland but now that the sun is shining again, it's time to dig out the shorts and t-shirts, dust off the picnic set and get outdoors again. The sea was calling so the only question was - which bit of coast to explore today?
We've been lucky enough to visit many corners of Auckland both on the north and south shores but today I had a hankering to head west for a change. Typically the west coast of Auckland has grey sandy beaches and is more suited to surfing due to the choppy seas and big crashing waves. The east coast on the other hand is generally where you'll find golden sands and calm waters. An area to the west of South Auckland seemed like just the place - a large peninsular with beaches on both the east and west side of the land mass.
The drive was an easy one, especially now that we've invested in a TomTom satnav. Just over an hour away from home we were quite literally in the middle of
Jude gets to be queen of her very own island. Well, at least until the tide comes in.
nowhere with barely another car on the road and only the occasional rickety looking house nestling in the surrounding grassy green hills. In many ways it felt like we could have been back on the sparcely populated South Island again.
Arring in Awhitu (pronounced Afitu) Regional Park, we headed straight for the suggested walking track but were surprised to find ourselves right on the beach just a matter of metres from the carpark. We wasted no time in kicking off our shoe and relished the sensation of the soft sand tickling our toes. Man, it's been too long.
Making a beeline for the water's edge, we found the going actually quite tough as the sandy beach was littered with hundreds upon thousands of shells, many of which were broken, sharp and jagged. There were scallop shells, spiny shells, oyster shells and the kind of shells you hold up to your ear to hear the sea. We carefully manoeuvred ourselves to the sea and dipped in our toes. I had expected the water to be freezing given that summer is still a long way off but the temperature was heavenly - I was tempted to just throw myself in completely!
Care to Join Me?
Free foot wash for the first 50 takers.
Out of the water the shells were a little uncomfortable to walk on barefoot so we popped our sandals back on. I had to laugh as we crunched our way along the beach - it was almost as good as popping bubble wrap!
We stopped at the far end of the beach to sit on a makeshift jetty fashioned from planks of wood and some old tree trunks and basked in the warm sunshine for a while. Then we remembered that we'd come here to go for a walk so we rejoined the track and wandered up towards a lookout which seemed very far away and up an impossibly steep hill. The route took us through wetlands where we found a red river that was allegedly home to lots of eels. For a moment we thought we were back in England when a pheasant flew out of the gorse and a grouse waddled its way across our path.
We passed another beautiful bay with it own shell strewn beach before coming across a historic homestead. New Zealand is really quite a new country and aside from its Maori inhabitants, there was little history here before about 1850. The
Sea of Shells
Check out all the shells under Jude's toes. The water was actually much clearer than in the pic but Jude kicked up some silt at the wrong moment!
homestead, which was just a large old wooden house, dates from about 1872, making it very old by local standards. In the grounds were some wonderfully big, gnarly trees that looked like they might have been as old as the house itself. Heading uphill, it was only steep for about 30 metres before the trees opened out onto some more of the lush green farmland that NZ is so famous for.
The view from the top was pretty amazing. From here we could see the silhouette of the Sky Tower way off in the distance and directly across the wide inlet of water we could see Takanini and Conifer Grove, the Hunua Ranges and we could even just about make out the monolith atop One Tree Hill. It was so peaceful too, the stillness only punctuated by the occasional sound of airplanes coming in to land at Auckland International Airport, also across the water.
The whole day at Awhitu was perfect as can be. There's a campsite there too so it's a sure bet that we'll be back again when summer's here and next time I really will throw myself into the sea!
Tot: 0.082s; Tpl: 0.047s; cc: 8; qc: 23; dbt: 0.013s; 1; m:saturn w:www (220.127.116.11); sld: 3;
; mem: 1.2mb