Now that we are back in New Zealand, we have had the chance explore a couple of the areas that have always resonated with Ann and me. On a recent trip, we spent a week wandering around the East Cape without any agenda. This rural area is off most tourist routes and is an amazing piece of countryside. We left the Mount fairly late on a Monday afternoon and enjoyed a scenic drive along the coast before swinging into the Ohiwa Harbor. This area is only 5kms off the main road, but it is a beautiful, isolated bay with some great wee hikes up into the hills around the campground.
Ann also discovered something that made her fall in love with New Zealand campgrounds: air pillows! These playground staples are replacing trampolines as a slightly less dangerous option for kids (and traveling surfers). The stunning sun rise the next day led us to a walk that runs up into the Onekawa Pa site (historic Maori installation) behind the camp where we were treated to unparalleled views up and down the coast and out to White Island (an active thermal island). This pre-European Maori site gives a glimpse of the value of the area to the local inhabitants.
From there, the trip wound around the coast to Waihau Bay where we went kayak fishing. This part of the coast is renowned for its fishing and we had an amazing time paddling the rocky coves and flicking lures into promising spots. I managed to hook a couple good sized fish, with one Kingfish towing the kayak out towards the open ocean. Unfortunately, my skill level wasn’t able to keep pace with the fish, so we had a chicken dinner; but it was an exciting way to welcome the day.
The beaches on the east side of the Cape are covered in amazing amounts of driftwood and other flotsam and jetsam. We found some REALLY old pieces of bone that had developed some interesting patinas. The color that develops within this material is always interesting because the mineralization only becomes apparent when you carve the bone. I will be carving this material soon, and the designs will be posted onto the website and Facebook! Check back for developments.