Saturday, 28 November 2015

Spectacular Tutukaka coastal walking

Photos on my iPhone just can't do this beautiful coastline justice. Only 3 hours drive north of Auckland and 30 minutes beyond Whangarei the Tutukaka Coast is warm, accessible and spectacular. 

We have rented a gorgeous beachfront Bach which overlooks a sheltered wee bay used by moored yachts and weekend kayakers. The Tutukaka Coast is a mixture of stone and sand beaches, this one is stone with clear water. Imogen and I enjoyed a fab swim yesterday, was warm and remained shallow for about 50 metres or so. 
It is just so much warmer and humid than home, loving it. Our vegan gluten free bbq's are awesome too although Steve did sneaks some chops into the mix. 

Today we walked the Whananaki Coastal Walkway. A fascinatingly diverse track with spectacular vistas along the way. 
The track itself crosses private farm lands, through forests and follows coastline both on rocks and beaches. 
The track quality is excellent. There are gates and styles to navigate and as we moved from farmland into bush and them onto the coast the track moves from vehicle quality to walking. 
The vegetation is diverse with mostly coastal natives. Part of the track goes through what we called the valley of the bees, a grove of Manuka that hummed it was so thick with honey bees. 

The climb is steep so when we got to the Captain Bougainville Monument overlooking Whananaki beach after 2 hour of walking we were very ready for lunch and taking the time to Skype with Don who just got home from the pub in cold London Town - sad he wasn't with us but a cool family catchup location. 

From here we immediately realised why all of the other hikers had poles! Straight down over roots to the rocky cliffs below. Our rock clambering in tramping boots was fun. It was easy at first and progressively got harder. Great fun until we went too close to a sea gulls nest, Imogen who was leading the way suddenly found herself with a sea gull dive bombing her.  
 I was too scared I would drop my camera so no photos of this section of track. 

We emerged on a beautiful deserted sandy Whananaki beach. 
That's Imogen in the distance. The sign told us 5 hours return and we took 5 hours including photo, lunch and Skype breaks. It was pretty steep in parts so we had a good workout. 
The bird song is awesome and constant - other than the valley of the bees. We saw maybe 20 people in that 5 hours so very secluded. 
There are loads of other walks on this coastline so will take many more trips this way. Love it!