A very pretty walkway it is too!
Saturday morning brought with it blue skies and bright winter sunshine. The weather couldn't have been more different from the yesterday - nor more welcome.
We started our day with bike ride through Pauanui town and across to an area of canal-like waterways that looked interesting on the map. We came to a stop at a wooden octagonal showroom which had a sign offering free views across the canals. A lady sitting inside the sales office came out to say hello and instead of giving us an unwanted sales pitch, she kindly produced a bunch of maps and leaflets about the area for us to take away. She suggested we bike along the boardwalk nearby which we hadn't seen on any maps but sounded like a grand idea.
The road to the boardwalk took us downhill and past some swanky looking houses towards a wooded area. Peering through the trees, we saw the waterfront and a pretty, man-made wooden walkway leading through the wetlands. We tentatively steered our bikes onto the planked path and marvelled at the beauty all around us as we rode. Mangroves provided dense green foliage at the water's edge while the sun shimmered and sparkled
Jude is ready to ride!
like diamonds on the water's surface. The wetlands are home to numerous types of birds which waded, waddled and winged their way around, singing happily as they went. It was pure joy to cycle along this track and be so at one with nature, all the while basking in the unusually warm winter sun.
We looped around and cycled back along the boardwalk and then headed to the other side of town. We cycled as far as the start of the trig track which we were planning to walk along later today and then wheeled through the course and bumpy grasslands along the beach back to the house. In all we cycled for a good 2.5 hours! We stopped for a milkshake and muffin at the local cafe, then once back at the house we changed into our walking gear before making our way back along the beach to the start of the trig track.
The first stretch of track was called the Ocean View walk which led out and around a rocky headland at the south end of Pauanui Beach. It was fun to scramble across the big boulders and hunks of driftwood strewn along the shoreline.
Glynn zooms off along the wetlands boardwalk.
My favourite part of this trail had to be where a dark section of volcanic looking rock extended out into the sea creating a natural kind of basin. Caught in the basin were thousands of big rocks that rolled and crunched around with the waves. The sound of it was phenomenal, like listening to God's Laundry at work! It certainly explained why so many of the boulders were rounded off like giant pebbles.
As we walked on, I stole glances back over my shoulder of some of the loveliest views I think I've ever seen. Sunlight dancing on the waves, the dark volcanic rocks contrasting against the endless golden beach and the islands dotting the horizon out to sea - all of it was truly beautiful. The track took us as far as a little cave before rounding a bend and leading us uphill.
As you may have gathered from previous blog entries, I thoroughly enjoy a good trek but I'm not very good at the uphill bits. Glynn was off up the path like a mountain goat in its element while I clamboured a little more ungainly behind him. Numerous times he ventured off so far in
Gotta wear helmets in NZ which I still can't get used to!
front of me, I could no longer hear him never mind see him. Every so often, when I began wondering why I subject myself to all this hard uphill walking, I would come to a clearing and be rewarded by stunning views. The higher we got, the more breathtaking the view until we reached the first summit and could see far out across the ocean and far inland across the mountains.
Our locally made, hand-drawn map of the trig track was quite vague and at times it was hard to tell exactly how far along we were. Up and up we climbed until we reached another clearing. Here someone had kindly installed a wooden bench so that if the climb up did't take your breath away then you could sit in awe while the view most certainly did. Glynn spotted a sign indicating the the Trig was only a further 5 minutes away and before you could say 'race you to the top' he was off again. I debated whether to follow as I was quite enjoying my sit down but I'd climbed this far and a few more minutes to reach the highest summit of Mount Pauanui would
View of Tairua's Twin Peaks from the other direction to yesterday.
be worth it.
From the Trig, it was possible to see even further across the Coromandel. Pauanui town was sprawled lazily at the base of the Mount, enveloped in a haze of sea spray like early morning mist. To our left we could see the wetlands boardwalk from our bike ride this morning. Beyond that, light and shadow cut through the mountains as far as our eyes could see. We hadn't passed a single person on our way up to the summit and it was incredible to have this view in this moment all to ourselves.
By the time we had reached the Trig it was getting on for 4pm and the daylight was beginning to fade. Sunset in winter takes place just after 5pm so we only had an hour to make it back down. Once again, Glynn was off through the forest like a gazelle while I more slowly and carefully picked my way through the gnarled tree roots and loose scree. We made it back to the beach just in time for sunset and were treated to the warm glow of the last of the sun illuminating the distant islands in crimson and gold.
What a big improvement on the weather!
I can honestly say that this has been one of the single best days out since coming to New Zealand. In fact, we liked it so much that we've already booked to come back for a longer stay in summer next year. Want to join us?
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