Waking up to another beautiful morning Mum's friend suggested we do an 'easier' walk today... Ha ha, I am not sure where she got the thought it would be easier from! When we got home and looked it up on the DOC website it turns out it was rated 'DIFFICULT'. Mum's legs were already sore from the day before but she wasn't going to admit they were too sore for the walk.
We did the Peach Cove walk.
The timings were a bit contradictory as when we got to the point where you walk or rather climb down to the cove it said it was 40 minutes back to the carpark and 20 minutes down to the cove, so sure that would have been 2 hours return? Not the 2 hours one way it mentions above. The truth of course was probably somewhere in the middle! It didn't take us four hours, but it certainly took us longer than two hours return.
We started to walk up the hill.
The view of Ocean Beach from the hill after we started.
As we were walking up a cicada flew on to Mum's arm...
It's little feet stuck on like glue and it took some convincing to climb off.
Eventually it did - it is almost camouflaged in this picture.
The paddocks looked a fresh green. The recent rain had obviously been good for them as Whangarei had had a drought this year.
In the distance we can see Mount Manaia.
Eventually to our relief we finally got into the shade to walk. It was a really hot day and the initial climb was hard work.
As I walk I keep an eye out for birds, beasties and fauna and flora.
What's this? My keen sense of observation was rewarded.
A bush weta!
Sadly the little thing didn't look too good.
It couldn't stay on the path or it might get trodden on.
I moved it.
I don't think it was long for this world though. It waved its little antenna slightly but that was all.
I took a close up photo of it.
Said my goodbyes and wished it well.
We continued our walk, the views becoming more spectacular the higher we got.
There were lots of steps again dotted throughout our walk...little did we know what faced us though.
We finally got to the point where we were to start the descent to Peach Cove. This is where the sign told us different information as to timings...we thought we were parked at the Peach Cove Car park, but perhaps it was the Ocean Beach Car park, although we were no where near the beach!
Hang on a minute does that say the Cove is 800m?? Down hill?? Doesn't that mean we will have an 800m climb up?? We didn't go that high yesterday! Our friend assured us it wouldn't be that bad. So we forged ahead.
The views were definitely worth it and encouraged us.
As we started to walk down we saw these 'carvings' in the ponga wood trunks...trying to tell us something?
Some of the steps we walked down initially...this can't be too bad surely?
More 'The Scream' carvings....
Through a trunk root system heading down...
and down ....
step after step after step... halfway down Mum doubted she could continue and secretly worried about the getting up again. Going down steps is actually hard work, especially when you are already sore from overdoing it the day before... but as we were 'almost' there it seemed a shame not to continue so continue we did.
Finally we made it.
When we got down to the bottom, this sign said the Peach Cove Carpark was 2 hours away! Someone definitely couldn't do their maths!! In my book 20 minutes, plus 40 minutes (which was what was indicated on the sign and the top of the hill) equals 60 minutes, or one hour. Mind you I think it will take us longer than 20 minutes to get back up that 800m hill...never mind the goodness knows how many steps!
The beach was worth it though.
So beautiful, calm and peaceful.
The sky was blue, the sea blue, it was glorious.
I stared out to sea and imagined what it would be like to camp down here.... there is a DOC cabin near the cove and you can pay a fee to stay in it for as many nights as you would like.
Here I am, I have the beach to myself!
Shall I go for a paddle?
Or maybe a climb?
I'm the King of the Castle.
Spotted a shag in the sea.
Soon though we have to face the walk home.
Near the cabin is a large boulder with trees growing round and on it.
Do we really have to walk back up these. To encourage herself to keep going Mum decided to count how many steps there were on the way up.
Did we really go all the way down there?
More steps! It was exhausting!
We finally made it and Mum had counted 811 continuous steps to climb. Then of course there was the rest of the track and the goodness knows how many steps on the return journey to the car park. But Mum had given up counting by now...the worst was conquered...but it was hard work.
Still there are rewards...we were able to photograph some lovely fantail on the way back to the carpark.
We also saw some brown quail.
These are such wonderful birds and very cheeky and bold.
Next year Mum has resolved to become much fitter in case her friend takes her on any more 'Easy' walks!