Whatipu

In which Miles visits another west coast beach that holds its own very well among like likes of Karekare, Piha, Bethell’s and Muriwai.

To view the full gallery of 17 images on imgur, click here.

It seemed a different route into the Whatipu area than what I took last year, although I’m a bit surprised if there is more than one way.  It is very scenic, and I’ve resolved to return and make use of my Action Cam’s dashboard mount on the way in.  It’s long since time I start a YouTube channel.

The photos in this gallery do justice to the beach, but not to the scenery that starts on the drive in and continues along the way to the beach.  I’ll definitely return soon, and I’ll have a look at my photos from last year as well.

Path to Whatipu beach
Path to Whatipu beach

A friend and I had planned to walk a half hour to the sea caves along the beach, but went the wrong way right from the info board.  We quickly encountered a swampy, reedy dead-end, and opted to cross a bridge that would lead us south to the beach, rather than north.  We had lunch at a picnic table near this dead-end later, and watched as the majority of visitors made the same mistake we did, and also discovered the right way to go from watching these people work it out.

We figured that we’d just walk a little further on the beach, enjoying the south end first before heading north.  We had no idea what obstacles would lie in our path.

The path, the beach, and the first river to cross
The path, the beach, and the first river to cross

We went all the way to the Manukau Harbor to find a place to cross the first river without wet feet.  A log took us across the second.  I think one or more of these may have been actual rivers.  But as we walked we found that there were many serpentine pools of water, and we began to work our way around them.

Manukau Harbor and Manukau Heads
Manukau Harbor and Manukau Heads

The tide must have been very low, because we walked on the beach for hours without ever coming very close to the Tasman Sea – even while trying to find a way around the many water hazards in our way.  Walking in sand always presents additional challenges, but in places it got soft enough to sink in to our ankles before we knew it.  It held on to our boots in such a way as to make me wonder if we needed to worry about quicksand – I believe I’ve seen signs warning of it at nearby beaches, although I don’t hear about it nearly as much as things like rip-tides and undertows.

There was always the option of taking off our shoes to wade, but it was a bit cold, and we hoped to walk quite a ways further.  We also didn’t really want to try the sand beneath these pools or streams or whatever they are.

No dry way forward
No dry way forward

One we reached a point where we could see no way of crossing the water in front of us, we climbed some sand dunes to get a look inland.  We tried a grassy area, but found swampy ground.  We decided our only option was to head back.  First we tried walking along the tops of the sand dunes, then tried the sand just beside them and found it reliably solid.

Sand dunes and deceptive swamp
Sand dunes and deceptive swamp

The sand made it a solid hike, and the scenery was enough that we didn’t leave disappointed.  And we left knowing how to do the thing that we went there for in the first place.  There are also a number of tracks inland left to explore in the future.

To view the full gallery of 17 images in imgur, click here.

 

3 thoughts on “Whatipu”

Comments are closed.