We’ve made the journey north from Auckland in a couple of legs; firstly an overnight in Ruakaka staying at a beautiful location next to the river estuary looking out over Bream Bay, and now up to Houhora Heads, roughly a third of the way up the narrow ninety mile beach peninsular on the east coast.
The Ruakaka estuary was almost heavenly with amazing wildlife, soft white sand and clear waters. Mark and I couldn’t resist the temptation to try out the kayaks we have with us for the North Island estuary crossings, so we had a little trip out to sea via the Ruakaka River, and tried a few eskimo rolls and practised handling skills in the new boats. They’re different in style to the kayaks we’re used to in the UK, but we soon got the hand of them.
|Heading out for a test paddle on the Ruakaka River|
The scenery on the drive up here was plainly spectacular. Nothing seems quite real in New Zealand; almost cartoony – every hill, field or forest so perfectly formed – or like from a scene of Jurassic Park. But the variety is incredible too; some landscapes you could feel like you’re the UK with rows of deciduous trees marking the field boundaries and herds of cattle grazing, then suddenly you come across the densest of tropical forests, with parrots for company. It’s a pretty mouth watering prospect for the run.
Today is final prep day before the big start tomorrow. Ninety Mile Beach is going to be a dramatic start with the Te Araroa trail running it’s full length but thankfully, contrary to it’s name, it’s less than 60. Even so, that much sand, the relentless sound of the waves and the never ending horizon will be a unique experience to start with. I suspect these sort of experiences will then follow daily. Exciting stuff.
|Van time :o)|