Our choice to head south in our campervan for the weekend seems to have been a good one, judging by reports of flooding up north.
We decided on the Miranda hot pools for an overnight stay, but stopped off at Tapakapanga Regional Park for a walk on the way down the Firth of Thames coast. We have stayed at this park in the distant past, but when we set of down the coast trail to the south we realised we had never walked this particular track.
The trail passed through some beautiful coastal forest and along low cliffs and ended up at a pretty, remote campsite that would be best accessed by kayak. From there it headed up hill across paddocks to a trig, then connected to the old farm tracks returning to the carpark.
We passed hundreds of new lambs, and a big flock of larger sheep which took to the trees when they saw us coming. They would have been even more nervous if they knew that we had lamb heart on the dinner menu!
Back at the van we ate lunch and lounged about reading our books until mid-afternoon. From the park it is only a short drive down the coast to Miranda, so we spent the late afternoon relaxing in the hot pool.
After breakfast this morning we managed another half hour soak before management evicted everyone so that the pool could be cleaned.
We drove back up the highway for a few kilometers, and went for a walk along the bird-watching trail behind the along the coast. I was interested to read the signs explaining that this area is a Chenier Plain, where shell banks build up until they are high enough to resist the tide, and the coast gradually moves seaward as plants colonise. Since our last visit a couple of decades ago the shells and mangroves behind have extended over a kilometer down the coast to the south.
We saw a lot of sea birds, particularly pied stilts, and one kotuku (white heron). The big influx of birds migrating from the northern hemisphere aren’t due for another few weeks yet, however.
We ate lunch back at the van and spent another hour reading, then headed back to the city and home.