Waipatiki Scenic Reserve, Local, Saturday 21 April 2018.
I first did this walk about 20 years ago and had never been back since, so was keen to see what the coastal section was like now. Three others were first-timers and John had done it earlier this year.
We left Waipatiki Beach just after 8am in mild, calm conditions – contrary to the forecast strong winds. The cliff path was well trodden and was cut back not long ago. The only downside was the cutty grass.There was little birdlife apart from the odd gull but maybe better pickings were to be had out at a collection of fishing boats off Aropaoanui. The rocks were full of fossils, a reminder of HB’s submerged past.
Morning tea was a leisurely affair on the beach at Aropaoanui. Setting off again, we came across a dead little blue penguin and chatted to a woman walking her dog from a bach up the road.
We headed inland, walking between fields of drying maize. A rusted old Bedford truck made a good pic and confirmed we were on track. A young guy was loading firewood and a couple of us climbed up to an old family cemetery.Recent forestry activity was evident as we walked up the widened road with its new fences, denuded hillsides and freshly planted trees with older trees covering hillsides in the distance. Just as we thought the road would never end, it did (even if some walked straight past the bush reserve tucked off to the side of the road).
We took the high track so John could complete the loop from earlier in the year, and disturbed a few kereru, admired a pair of fantails and some large maroon toadstools on the descent. A large woolly dog bounded up shortly before the junction, where four adults and a contented-looking baby in a backpack were gathered.
Back on the road again after successfully negotiating the stepping stones without getting wet feet (high adventure, this!) we headed for the beach. As we entered the village, a car screeched to a sudden halt on gravel back round the corner and raised voices followed, which we weren’t sure what to make of.Lunch was a civilised affair lined up on a park bench looking out to sea, followed by a walk along the beach. A couple of fishermen were having a slow day and two kids splashed in the water near an impressive driftwood hut.
As we headed out, a police car was parked where the car had stopped in a hurry and a few kms further up the road two more police cars were pulled over with two young guys sitting on the roadside. They’d done a runner, we think … not such a sleepy little place after all!
Trampers: Marie Deroles (Photographer), et al and reporter Jude Paton.