Last Full Day in New Zealand

I only had one thing on my agenda for my last day in New Zealand, a relaxed day of beaches. Piha beach not too far from Auckland had come highly recommended to me by a few friends and even a few Kiwis. I went to bed early to try to outwit my brain with regards to my snoring roommate. It only worked a little, or rather it worked until she got up for the day at 330am for no apparent reason. All of her things were in plastic bags and she was  obviously not trying to be quiet on top of that. Once she left the room I slept till 630 and then was checked out and on the road by 7am, just in time for sunrise.

I had plotted a few stops before crossing over to the west coast to see Piha beach. Sandspit beach was my first stop and it wasn't really anything more than a drive by for me. The tide was way out and the spot didn't make me want to stop. Snells beach just down the road some was a different story. The tide was still way out but I got out for a nice long walk. The beach had tons of broken shells mixed in with sand on it. There was an island to be seen in the distance and some low cliffs at the end. The walk was quite enjoyable and I ended it with a half hour swinging on swings. I am a sucker for a good set of swings. It reminds me of childhood and it is so freeing. I think they are seriously underrated for how great they are.  I swung staring at the beach and water enjoying every last minute of my last day, simultaneously not believing it was the last day and feeling like I had been away for months.

From Snells Beach I made a short ride to the "end of the road" Mahurangi East. A small little park and bay, beautiful but another drive by for me. There are literally just too many beautiful places to stop at all of them. I did see some fishermen pulling in boat loads of musells there which was cool to see. I drove back out the peninusla and down to Orewa. It was a great little beach surf town. The beach was perfect. The sand felt so good between my toes and the water was surprisingly warm. I took another long walk. I know this is like a personal add but I really do love and take long walks on the beach. This beach was obviously more populated than any of the ones I had been on the whole trip, but it was still sparse compared to some of the beaches back home but I think that was just because it was autumn there. I could have stayed at Orewa Beach for the whole day. There were wonderful shells, an interesting sand cliff at one end and some great people watching. I was so at peace.

After Orewa I got super turned around on the Peninsula below it, I just couldn't manage to get off of it. I knew I was going in the wrong direction there just didn't seem to be roads that could help me get to where I needed to go. I ended up back tracking a lot and then cutting over to where I needed/wanted to go. I did see some more great views so it was worth it and I had no schedule to speak of anyways. Perks of traveling without a GPS, you find random stuff. I eventually made it southwest but again not really where I was trying to go. In my brain the outskirts of Auckland start much more South than in reality. I found myself in "West Auckland" trying to go even more west to hit the coast. After some serious traffic and congestion I started getting closer and closer to the coast. Man what a difference from most of the South Island. It was a little reminder how, you know, civilization is. Actually looking back now, I am really surprised how fast I adapted to being in the middle of nowhere.

I finally started seeing some signs for beaches and new I was at least close to the right area. Piha Beach, my final destination for the day and well the trip, was up and over and down another set of mountains. I drove through some nice forests and before it opened back up on the other side to a stunning view. Driving down the hill/mountain I encountered a bunch of people who actually thought it was a one lane road coming at me nearly driving me off the road. I was happy to get to the beach parking lot, take off my shoes and start walking.

Piha Beach is fantastic. It wasn't that busy, the sun was at a perfect point for pictures, the rock all around was so picturesque, the water felt great, the waves were crashing and the sand was fascinating. The tide appeared to be coming in but it was hard to tell because the waves were booming onto the shore, but the time I left I couldn't even see where the horizon was because it was all waves. I walked all along the left side of the gigantic rock in the middle, and then walked to the other side for an even longer walk. The sand kept changing colors from a dark black to a dark brown and every shade and mixture in between. The waves were wonderful to watch and left the foam right on the beach which would then blow across the beach from the wind. The gigantic rock in the middle of the beach actually has some sort of trail/rope climbing situation which I did not explore but other people were. This last beach was walk was pure walking meditation. I drank in everything it had to offer, the fresh air, the sand, the water and spray. I thought I was happy in the morning but after the beach trip which lasted about 3+ hours I was seriously blissed out.

 I spent another part of my time there cultivating a sense of gratitude for my whole trip. It was exactly what I needed it to be. It felt amazing to be on the road me, a map, a camera and a journal. It more wonderful than I had even hoped for.

Piha Beach

Piha Beach

Piha Beach