Saturday, June 4, 2016

NZ Day 11 - Wharariki Beach

What a joy to wake up in the morning and see this out the front door!

I went and sat on the front steps and saw a cute little mouse
poke her nose from between these rocks.

Each room at our hotel had a table with umbrella.

And this walkway, right in front of the motel, led along the beachfront.

It was a beautiful, warm morning.

And the sand was extremely fine and soft.

The waves left neat patterns in the sand.

A horse had been here!

And look at these cute little guys,
with their long legs and long beaks!

Lots of funny seagulls.

We picked up some groceries before we headed out:

And they called the carts "trolleys" for the most part,
but this place called them "trundlers"!!!

I saw kumara and wondered what they were . . . so I bought one!
I looked them up online later, and they're a sweet potato grown in New Zealand.

They make kumara chips (called "crisps") and fried kumara french fries
(called "chips").

I also bought a fruit called a feijoa that we had seen advertised on many homemade sales signs in yards.

On our way to Whakariki Beach, Greg got a steak roll and chips (french fries):

I had brought a picnic.
Then we were off!

We did not take the exit to Farewell Spit.
We later saw a nature show about New Zealand (while in New Zealand - cool!)
that talked about how Farewell Spit is for some reason the place that has the most beached whales anywhere in the world.  They can't figure out why,

Once arriving at Wharariki Beach,
we saw signs indicating that it was a "multiple hazard area" - oh dear!

We weren't too worried because the beach had been recommended to us and lots of people were there.  At least lots of cars were parked in the lot . . . we didn't see many people on the beach itself because of the uncomfortably high winds.

The signs talked about high winds, high waves, rip tides, and quicksand!

We experienced the high winds before we even got out of the car.
It was rocking the car slightly.
And then we got out and my hair went immediately wonk-doodle.
After a couple of hours wandering on the beach in hurricane winds, I remember the knots at the end of the day in that mop of hair.  Owie.

I tried a braid, but it blew out after a few minutes.

Wind gusts, yes, okay.

But quicksand?!

There were these cool stairs to get over the fences.
Cows and sheep were hanging out in their fields, and these prevent them from getting out of open gates.  Though I can't help but wonder about the sheep and cows figuring out how to get over the stairs . . . that would make a great "Shawn The Sheep" episode!

We figured them out, even in the huge gusts of wind!

Though a particularly strong gust tried to blow me down.

We really had to lean into the wind and try to stay away from the steep slopes.

We were laughing almost the whole time because the wind was RIDICULOUS.

When I could see through my hair, the landscape was fantastic.
Most of the trees were leaning to one side.

Evidence of cows was available, if one knew where to look.

A rare quasi-calm moment:

We heard tell of seal pups in the area of this beach, but they were probably inside by the fire, roasting marshmallows and reading stories rather than out on the beach in that weather!

At the Te Papa museum, I had read about these weird New Zealand vines that braid themselves around trees and use the tree's structure to wind up towards the sun, eventually taking over and killing the tree.  I saw one!  At this point, it wasn't killing the tree and I thought it was quite pretty.  It looks like decoration.

Swimming NOT recommended:

Braid still intact.

We were walking uphill at this point in sand, which is difficult,
so I took off my shoes even though the sand was CHILLY.

Look at these cool trees!

They were living along this little river.

And then we reached the beach!

And the sand was blowing like nobody's business.

It felt like exploring an alien planet; and not an especially hospitable one.
We could barely see, barely hear, and the sand was whipping our legs and faces and eyes.
See the grit on the camera lens?
It was also in our eyes and skin and teeth.

Braid has failed.


and neat patterns from the wind in the semi-wet sand:

This photo turned out looking as if the footprints are sticking OUT of the sand rather than the truth, which is, of course, that they are depressions in the sand.

This seagull was eating a dead fish and he was quite protective of it as we walked by.

We found some caves (with no seal pups in them).

Initially, I thought this was a chewed up car tire, but it turns out to be kelp!
It's huge and the texture was extremely rubbery and shiny.  

This big rock with the hole through it is the famous symbol of Wharariki Beach.

I think these photos would make great artwork on a brightly colored wall.

Back in the car, I attempted to deal with the hair, but it needed more attention that I could give at the time, so I just knotted it up.

Once we got home, I decided to try the feijoa I bought at the store!

And the kumara!

I also bought some cruciferous veggies: Brussels sprouts.

Here's how a feijoa looks:

Here's the inside of a feijoa!

I also bought some baked beans.
I LOVE the packaging!

And the ingredients list is quite impressive.  Very natural and healthy things in there.

Without thinking much about it, I baked the Brussels sprouts in a sweet and spicy sauce I found at the grocery store and they were the best Brussels sprouts I've ever had!  I guess it's all about the sauce when eating cruciferi!

Here's a little collage from our day at Wharariki Beach:

Next time: more beaches!!!

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