Today was the day to explore the Waitakere (way-tucker-ee) Ranges with Tristan of Habitat Tours. We had a relaxing breakfast and watched the news for the weather (still not good) and went down to wait at 8:50 am. He was on time to pick us up and there was one other passenger, Victoria from Germany, who had spent 5 weeks in New Zealand.
We drove out of the city to our first stop- Lake Wainamu which has black sand dunes from volcanic ash. We walked a narrow trail next to a little stream until we reached an area that was all dunes. We climbed the dunes until we saw the lake and a beach. Tristan said in the summer hundreds of people flock here. Today it was all ours due to the overcast/rainy weather. We spent about an hour here.
We walked back to the van and drove to our next stop at Bethells Beach which was only about 2 minutes away. It reminded us of the Californian Coast with the rocky shore and big surf. There was lots of foam made by the waves and a calm area near the entrance. We walked to the lifeguard stand and took lots of pictures. We spent about 20 min here then back to the van.
On we drove to Cascade Kauri Park where Tristan gave us a choice of lunch first and walk second or vice versa. We agreed to lunch first then walking otherwise we might take naps. So we ate meat pies, a coleslaw, and couscous he made himself. Afterwards we had ANZAC cookies and tea. It was all very good. It started to drizzle again so we packed up and got started on our walk. It was a single track through the rainforest where the Kauri trees and silver fern live. We had to wash our shoes when entering and leaving so we didn’t bring/take any bugs or bacteria in/out with us.
We walked along and Tristan would show us birds/plants/trees that were living in the rainforest. We also saw a slot canyon with a small waterfall. We crossed a few boardwalks and bridges in our path. Then we left and continued on to Muriwai.
Muriwai has a beautiful coast line. The gannets (birds) have a colony here. We were able to see some of them. Tristan said they come over from Australia to mate and give birth and raise young then leave for AUS again. One side of the beach was rocky and rugged with big boulders on the beach with water caves and high surf. When you walked up the trail to see the birds you saw the other half of the beach which was smooth and had no rocks and there was a windsurfer enjoying it. We spent about 40 minutes here. It was really windy and starting to rain again.
We started back to downtown Auckland. Our whole day was 9 am-5 pm. Tristan showed us a beautiful area of Auckland but he was quite dry in his personality/presentation. I wished he’d showed his passion for what he does. We got back to the apartment and rested a while then went out in search of dinner. We ended up at Countdown grocery each getting something different.
Total step count for the day – 16,798