Waimarama Beach to Karamea Island, January 19 2011
Trampers: Alison Greer, Vic Bullock, Ken Ross, Keith Moretta, Paul Exeter, Ron Morison, Rosemary Jeffery, John Burrell, John Marshall and scribe Kelvin Shaw
“I thought beach walks were flat and sandy?” “Yeah right.”
We arrived at the Southern end of Waimarama Beach at 8.10 am for what was to be an easy walk along the beach to Red Island (a.k.a. Karamea Island). However, the day was the warmest of the summer so far at 33˚ and despite forecasts of rain it was bright sunshine for most of the day. The tide was receding but still too high to negotiate the first rocky outcrop, so someone said “we’ll go up there and over the top to the other side”. This “going up there” entailed scrambling up crumbly mud-banks, climbing over felled pine trees, walking along logging tracks, and saying “Hi” to bulldozer drivers, hoping we would not be turned back. Eventually we re-emerged at sea level, all very much hotter than when we started.
The beach walk would be over about 80% rocks and 20% sandy beach. The main beach along the way was pristine, with blue sea and a backdrop of dunes and coastal pine trees. We stopped off there on the return to have a shady lunch and (for Alison) a swim.
The island is easily reached at low tide via a sandy spit. The red coloured rock that forms the bulk of the island and gives it its name was very crumbly and unstable. We arrived at about 10.30 just in time for morning tea. Keith defied gravity and the temperature and climbed to the top, several of us took our boots off and had a paddle; a seal was playing in the water nearby and it came ashore later on. Was it to see us or just to bask in the sun?
The rock formations along the way were very interesting. Different colours, strata, shapes and sizes. I am sure a geologist would have a great time there. In several locations, there were hundreds of almost perfectly spherical boulders of various sizes, ranging in size from 100 mm to well over a metre in diameter.
The return journey fortunately did not require a cliff-top scramble as the tide allowed us to negotiate the outcrop.
We got back to the van at around 3 pm and finalised the day with a swim (four of us) and an ice cream at the beach shop. Altogether, a great day at the seaside.