Okura Bush Scenic Reserve

In which Miles walks the rest of the Okura Bush Walkway – most of it anyway.

To view the full gallery of 21 photos on imgur, click here.

To read my previous post on Okura Bush Scenic Reserve click here.

To visit the Department of Conservation page on Okura Bush Scenic Reserve, click here.

On the way to Stillwater, I thought I saw horse and deer in the same field. I couldn’t get close enough for a good picture, but was rewarded for stopping by another field of alpaca.

Alpaca en route to Stillwater
Alpaca en route to Stillwater
Alpaca en route to Stillwater
Alpaca en route to Stillwater

These cute and friendly-looking creatures can be seen many places in New Zealand.  They are used as pack animals on guided hikes.

I started on the opposite end of the Okura Bush Walkway this time, to insure that I’d see parts of the walkway that I hadn’t made it to on my previous visit. While the south end of the track feels a bit remote, the north end is just outside of Stillwater.

The Stillwater end of the walkway follows the Weiti River, with views of boats and mangroves, as well as a beautiful landscape when looking inland.

Boats and mangroves on the Weiti River
Boats and mangroves on the Weiti River
Scenery near the start of the Okura Bush Walkway
Scenery near the start of the Okura Bush Walkway

I guess the tide seemed too high to take the Coastal Route, because I chose to take the Overland Track instead. The Overland Track is a very healthy climb through the bush, leading to views over the Karepiro Bay, and offering a first view of Dacre Cottage.

View from the Overland Track
View from the Overland Track
First view of Dacre Cottage
First view of Dacre Cottage

Dacre Cottage is small and quaint.  I couldn’t help but think about what it was like living in these beautiful surroundings.

Dacre Cottage
Dacre Cottage

From Dacre Cottage I walked on the beach a bit, then headed back to Stillwater, this time using the Coastal Route.  It features interesting rock formations, coastal cliffs, and cool trees, as well as views across the bay and river.

Coastal Route
Coastal Route

To view the full gallery of 21 photos on imgur, click here.

Whatipu 2

In which Miles returns to Whatipu, and finds the sea caves.

To view the full gallery of 54 photos, click here.

You can read my previous posts on Whatipu here and here.

Visit the Whatipu page on the Auckland Council site here.

I may never tire of pointing out that I walked over the top of the peaks in the background of the photo below, and at least one more just like them.

View from the start of the Whatipu Caves Track
View from the start of the Whatipu Caves Track

There are a surprising number of caves along the Whatipu Caves Track, and you have to go off-trail to visit most of them. There is a real possibility that I didn’t see them all.  Some are small and taper quickly, such that an adult person might find them inadequate shelter from the rain.  Others can, and signs say have, hosted medium to large parties.

Whatipu Sea Cave
Whatipu Sea Cave
Whatipu Sea Cave
Whatipu Sea Cave
Whatipu Sea Cave
Whatipu Sea Cave
Whatipu Sea Cave
Whatipu Sea Cave
Whatipu Sea Cave
Whatipu Sea Cave
Whatipu Sea Cave
Whatipu Sea Cave
Whatipu Sea Cave
Whatipu Sea Cave
Whatipu Sea Cave
Whatipu Sea Cave
Whatipu Sea Cave
Whatipu Sea Cave

Cliffs and trees combine in interesting ways, as they do in New Zealand.

Whatipu Caves Track cliffs
Whatipu Caves Track cliffs

There was some daylight left, so I went for a look at Whatipu Beach.  Some prominent features are visible from a distance.

Ninepin Rock and its lighthouse and another prominent feature of Whatipu Beach
Ninepin Rock and its lighthouse and another prominent feature of Whatipu Beach

The river that meets Manukau Harbor near Paratutae Island had moved, making access, and even the view, different from my previous visit.

Wonga Wonga Bay, Manukau Heads in the distance, Paratutae Island on the right
Wonga Wonga Bay, Manukau Heads in the distance, Paratutae Island near right

This walkway, apparently carved into  Paratutae Island, was too tempting to resist.  On my previous visit I don’t remember seeing it.  I remember this whole area very differently.  I think it was actually different, due to tide and the movement of the river.

Walkway appears to carved into Paratutae Island
Walkway appears to carved into Paratutae Island

As sunset approached it was starting to seem dangerous to continue on the slippery rocks, but a natural tunnel offered a shortcut to the Tasman Sea.

Natural tunnel through part of Paratutae Island
Natural tunnel through part of Paratutae Island
Looking back at Manukau Harbor
Looking back at Manukau Harbor

The approaching sunset lit the landscape beautifully.

Evening lighting of Manukau Heads across the Manukau harbor, from Paratutae Island
Evening lighting of Manukau Heads across the Manukau harbor, from Paratutae Island
Lighthouse on Ninepin Rock, and another identifying feature of Whatipu Beach, at Sunset
Lighthouse on Ninepin Rock, and another identifying feature of Whatipu Beach, at Sunset

To view the full gallery of 54 photos, click here.