Four days of escapism. I really felt a need for it, too. Chris and I planned to once again take a mid winter break in the north – but didn’t get around to making any plans. But what are plans other than more restrictions and this break was about being free to go wherever we pleased. We got as far as arranging for Chris to pick me up on Friday morning and agreeing we would head north through the inland road, then see where we ended up at the end of the day.
The weather hasn’t been all that flash for the past couple of weeks and we drove through intermittent rain and at our first stop at Twin Bridges the normally clear stream was anything but that. We couldn’t get close enough to get a decent shot; it was raining lightly and we tip toed through the mud to get this close.
But the air was fresh and that away from it all feeling was kicking in. At every point where we had to decide which way to go we chose the most direct route north. After a break for coffee and something to eat around mid afternoon, just north of Kerikeri, we carried on north and just kept on going.
Finally, quite late in the day we reached Pukenui - “last accommodation north”. This is a place I have only whizzed through in the past, taking visitors to Cape Reinga, to see the lighthouse at the northern most point of NZ. Now I know what I was missing! The lady who said she certainly did have some beds for us as at the harbourside motel couldn’t have been more charming or welcoming. The main road north was right beside us but at this time of year was quiet. We both slept well without a thought about what the weather would be like the next day or what we would do with ourselves.
Saturday morning looked quite promising, a bit breezy but a lovely blue sky, a few clouds but nothing too threatening.
The wharf was just down the bank from the motel grounds and we chatted to a local family who were fishing there. A working boat was tied up alongside the little wharf . A weekend off for the crew or is it out of season for whatever its purpose is? Don’t know.
At least the seagulls had the sense to hunker down out of the wind.
Not us. There were beaches to be walked and no beach is complete in winter without wind in the face.
I love that moment I catch a glimpse of a beach for the first time.
The anticipation…..could this one be really something? Will it be worth the while, finding a negotiable track down to it – and the haul back up.
Yes, of course it is. There were little baby mussels growing on those rocks and when we walked some distance around to the right we came to a lovely little fresh water stream. We don’t mind a bit of rain and wind but getting our feet wet is not part of the plan.
We were happy with the two beaches we had found just north of Pukenui but what was to be, for me, the highlight of our trip was waiting for us across on the west coast. The North Island is very narrow up here and it’s easy to enjoy one coast in the morning and the other in the afternoon. The east coast has a profusion of lovely harbours and gentle beaches but the west coast! Ahh, there’s nothing to compare to the wild untamed beauty of the west coast. Hopefully I will tell you about it tomorrow.