Brett picked us up from our accommodation, and we headed off on our west coast tour of Auckland’s North Island. We were the only ones on the tour but that was no problem for him, he is more than happy to mix things up and tailor the tours an individual need, wants and desires. Below are the places we went and the experiences we had there.
Arataki Visitor Centre sits high on the ridgeline and the most incredible views of both coasts, we stood there in awe of the breathtaking views. It wasn’t the most, sunniest of days, well not at this time in the morning but we could still make out the coastal lines. The centre has displays of the areas Fauna and Flora; this was fascinating to see the various exhibits of the early settlers of New Zealand too.
This waterfall was stunning; we saw some waterfalls in our time but this was defiantly stunning, the cascading crystal clear water was a beautiful sight. There were too duck just swimming underneath it; it was a very picturesque scene. Brett told us the locals use the surrounding pools in the summer for a bit of a dip and that the water is completely and perfectly fine to drink.
Quick tea break
We a quick lunch break before our next destination, we admired the rather rickety house perched on the side of the hill, a house that had been extended and extended again in an almost cartoon fashion. Brett’s partner had made us some lovely little lemon cakes for the occasion too, and they were scrumptious with my tea.
Karekare is a small coastal settlement in northern New Zealand, sandwiched between the Waitakere Ranges and a large black sand surf beach. It is located 35 kilometres west of Auckland city centre, south of the larger beach of Piha. Karekare beach is also the film location for Jane Campion’s film “The Piano” and I could see why the beach felt like it had its presence.
The sand is something I had never seen before, although not jet black you wouldn’t expect, I have no scientific evidence for the reasoning behind it other than it was very cool. The shells on the beach were a complete comparison to the sand, the almost pure white swirl shapes, stood out like sore thumbs. It was quite windy, and you could see the top layer of sand being whisked anyway, it was quite mesmerising and as if the beach was hypnotising you.
The Piha Cafe was our lunch stop and a real little gem it was too. Ooo the food was good and filled with locals, so you know it’s a winner.
See our full review of this place here …….
Now I’ve been known to do some walking in my time, but even I wasn’t ready to walk up the side of this sharp cliff, okay so I got to the top in the end, even if I was huffing and puffing. Hehe
But although I hated that climb to the top the view was astonishing, I just wish we could capture the vastness of this place. It wasn’t as quite as Karekare Beach but alas we were going where a lot of other people weren’t. We walked down the gradual path that took us into a smallish cove, where the waves were crashing and breaking against the weathered rock. Brett took us up onto one of the rocks the waves were crashing against, the climb again made my heart race and I would never have climbed those wet rocks if it was just Lee and me but we kept climbing. And once again the view, oh my days the view was fantastic, it felt like we were getting to experience the waves rocking against the rocks below our feet, scary yes! But awesome too!
We then climbed down and back into the enclosed cove, we came across a split in the rocks, and as we got there a surfer appeared behind us and climbed the rocks (with bear feet) using absolute no caution and with a speed the was astonishing, Brett told us they were using the split gap the rock to get out into the ocean without having to fight the waves.
We then continued to walk out of the cove, which involved whaling over some rather wet rock again but although the terrain looked wet and slippery it wasn’t that bad as we came off onto the beach again. A tiring walk but a great one too, we defiantly sore sights with Brett that we wouldn’t with anyone else, it was awesome.
The Cascades Kauri Park
Our last stop was to walk through the Cascades Kauri Park. To see some magnificent trees that are over 1000 years old! The sheer sight of the humongous Kauri tree was excellent, the size of these huge ancient trees is breathtaking. No wonder in ancient times they chopped them down for boats and houses, they are tall and sturdy beasts, but it’s such a shame there is so few of them now also.
I enjoyed our day with Brett, he an awesome tour guide, very knowledgeable and flexible too. The day was one I will never forget, and I would defiantly recommend if you do any tour in New Zealand’s north island do this one.