|Approaching Kare Kare|
Kare KareImmortalised in songs by Crowded House and Salmonella Dub, as well as the movie The Piano, Kare Kare is about 35 miles West of Auckland and where the Waitakere mountain range drops away to a wide flat expanse of dark sand staring ominously at the ocean. It is an area of rugged natural beauty, first settled by Maori people but has since become a popular summer weekend escape from the city for many Aucklanders. In what today is such a peaceful place, it is almost unimaginable but in the early 19th century Ngapuhi warriors invaded and fought the Maori here. According to legend a whole troop of warriors fell off Te Ahua Point to their deaths in the sea below whilst defending their home. It is for this reason that it is considered a very spiritual place. Even without any personal link to any of the history, the beach has an amazing atmosphere. You might find it spooky. I thought is was magnificent. I loved the dramatic scenery, the warm dark sand and the fine salt mist spray of the crashing sea.
|Piha, New Zealand|
Just North of Kare Kare lies Piha which is a larger settlement and the home of New Zealand surfing. As you wind down the narrow access road Piha displays itself before you. North and South Piha beaches are separated by Lion rock in the middle, so-named because of its resemblance to a lying lion when viewed from the shore and an iconic rock. The beach has the black volcanic sand characteristic of the area and Piha's other sights of interest include a blowhole and a small waterfall called Kitekite Falls. Piha's beaches are wide and flat with a hefty breeze and big surf common features.
|Little Oneroa beach, Waiheke Island, New Zealand|
When reaching Waiheke only takes half an hour on a ferry from Auckland, it is no surprise that so many people who work in Auckland commute from Waiheke. What a commute! Who wouldn't live on an island with regular access to life's necessities in the city if they could? Waiheke is a large island in the Hauraki Gulf. It boasts some great beaches with calm waters, none of which felt crowded at all. In fact i wondered if the locals were considering it not particularly special weather or something when i was there (on a beautiful day). The island hosts many activities, with paintballing, kayaking, skydiving, fishing and windsurfing all offered. There are several shops. Olives are grown on the island and there is a collection of around 30 vineyards too. Come to think of it, who needs to go to the city?
|Onetangi beach, Waiheke Island, New Zealand|