The best day out west

I’m staying in Green Bay for a few days which is just a short distance from the magnificent West Coast (it deserves capitals) and  the Waitakere Regional Park. I spent the  day today at Piha and Karekare. Both beautiful sweeping beaches with wild surf, toasty warm black sand (which gets too hot to walk on in the summer) and very few people. Karekare (location for ‘The Piano’)  is totally unspoilt by commerce and on a weekday is empty although there are several cars in the car park but where are the people? Piha is a bigger community with a  popular campsite, a general store, surfing school and a very excellent cafe. It also has the most spectacular approach by road with conveniently positioned spots for photo opportunities.

On the way home, I stopped at the Arataki Visitor Centre where small groups of visitors were engrossed in the fabulous displays of native birds, animals, trees and listening to a video on the pronunciation of Māori words. I bumped into the same groups on one of the bush walks from the Centre where, over a very short distance, it’s possible to see a wide selection of native trees including a grove of Kaurin and one 600 year-old monster. Chatting away in their native languages, I overheard English words like ‘kauri’ and ‘tui’ and ‘possum’ and I felt glad that people who come to NZ perhaps for just a short time, are still able to experience the NZ bush. All of this magnificence sits on the doorstep of Auckland and today I was reminded of how lucky we are to have it.

Categories: New Zealand

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