Starting Point: Waipoua Forest
Ending Point: Piha
Kilometers traveled: 304
Today we woke up to dreary cloudy weather and blustery winds. So we piled into the car and headed South….very far south. Today was by far our longest day, as far as kilometers go…close to twice as many as any other day so far.
First stop of the day was the Kai Iwi lakes, a group of three freshwater lakes supplied completely by rainfall. It was cold and windy and rainy while we were there, but the lakes were still so beautiful and we had them pretty much all to ourselves. White sand beaches & beautiful blue waters. These would be a real treat to camp next to, especially on warm and sunny day. We wandered around a bit along the shoreline then hopped back into the car to warm up as we headed over to Baylys Beach.
At Baylys Beach, we took the Spaceship for a spin on the beach. Baylys is really beautiful but the waters there are fierce. We watched some lifeguards doing water rescue training and several crazy surfers while we were there. Apparently, the break there is really good for surfing…you just have to watch out for the rips.
From Baylys, we headed down into Dargaville for a bit of petrol and groceries and then on to the Kauri museum. The museum was nice but just not what we were expecting or felt like doing today. It tells the stories of the pioneers of Northland through the use of their experiences with and usage of the Kauri tree. Lots of antiques, lots of old photos, lots of Kauri gum (New Zealand amber), and lots of displays with creepy mannequins. Northland was settled by folks who were there to participate in the logging industry or as gumdiggers and this museum tells their stories. Not horrible, just not what we wanted and definitely not our best use of money at $25 pp. We originally had planned to spend at least a couple of hours there, as the people at our campground last night raved and raved about it. But we were done after an hour. Our plan had been to spend the night close by, but we were so far ahead of schedule due to lack of interest in the museum and poor weather that we decided to push on and head for the black beaches of Piha.
We drove around Kaipara Harbor and down into the Auckland district and then shot off to the west down a winding country road that ended at the beach in Piha. Our holiday park is right on the beach with a wonderful view of Lion Rock and the black sand that Piha’s beach is famous for. It’s still windy and rainy here, but that didn’t stop us from taking a stroll on the beach. Then we wandered over to the cafe for homemade meat pies and coffees. Kyle had bacon & egg in his and Kat had mussels & potato in hers. Super yummy.
And now we are tucked away all cozy and warm on the couchette in our spaceship. We’ll get up early tomorrow morning for a sunrise walk on the beach and then climb Lion Rock before hitting the road for a bit more hiking in this area and then the drive further south and then east to the Coromandel Peninsula. Hope you have a great weekend!
Oh, and we saw a Kiwi on our hike last night! So cool!!! We stumbled upon him in the final minutes of our hike, hanging out on a bridge near a field. We turned the corner and there he was! Such funny birds.