Starting Point: New Plymouth, New Zealand
Ending Point: Wanganui, New Zealand
Kilometers traveled: 229
Today we started off the day by spending a bit of time in New Plymouth. We wandered on the coastal walkway. First up we visited the Te Rewa Rewa bridge, which was completed in 2010 and has won several design awards. This is also the site of a sacred burial ground and old Maori Pa, so the bridge needed to “touch lightly” on that side of the river. It’s a beautiful walkway and the bridge is spectacular. Unfortunately, it was bitter cold and blustery when we were out there, so we didn’t walk as far as we would have liked.
After that we headed into New Plymouth to visit Pukekara Park, a large city park, as well as the Wind Wand, a dynamic sculpture on the coastal walkway close to downtown. And then it was time to hit the road and head further south.
We drove through several small country and farming towns on our way to Stratford. Stratford has a strong relationship and connection with other Stratfords around the world, including Stratford upon Avon. To honor their Shakespearean ties, they have named all the roads in their town after characters and places in 27 works of Shakespeare. They also have the only Glockenspiel in New Zealand, and 4 times a day it opens up and Romeo & Juliet emerge to do a piece from that play. Sadly, we arrived at 11:30 am, a full 90 minutes before it was scheduled to perform. Instead, we wandered up and down the main street and stopped in at Broadway Bakery for some donuts. Split custard filled for me and split apple filled for Kyle. Super Yummy! We haven’t had donuts in a while and could have easily eaten ourselves sick on all the wonderful donuts, cakes, and other pastries that Broadway Bakery had to offer.
We hit the road and headed further south, stopping off at several beaches. Our favorite of the day was Cave Beach along the stretch of Black Iron beaches. These beaches have a high content of iron, which makes them black. Very stunning against the frothy blue waters of the Tasman Sea….which was up and choppy due to all the wind and rain today. Cave Beach is called that because it is full of caves along the beach. You park up on the cliffs and then hike down to the beach. The cliffs are made up of a loose clay and are rapidly eroding. The Tasman helps by carving out caves with the tides. We wandered along the beach, climbing on outcroppings and peering into caves. In one we even saw a seal! Although we suspect she was wounded as she was very quietly sitting there and seemed very frightened to see people. We let her be.
Finally, we rolled into Wanganui for a picnic lunch at Rotokawau/Virginia Lake Reserve. After lunch, we wandered around the gardens and down by the lake, then headed into town and on to our campground for the night. We’re expecting more rain tonight and tomorrow morning.
Tomorrow, we’ll head down to Wellington. And it’s Kyle’s birthday as well! So I’m sure we’ll find something fun to do and maybe some cake and beer to finish off the day.