After our long hike, we caught the bus back to Auckland and hired a car for a few days to explore some of the parts of Northland we had previously walked through. One of our favourite spots had been Waipu Cove, where in November, fairy terns had been on their nests. Although they had finished breeding by late March, we saw a few on the beach, with other terns, godwits and oystercatchers. I shall return another time with my telephoto lens for some photographs of the birds.
|Debris from cyclone|
|Kelp attached to rock|
However, the beach was littered with debris from the recent cyclone. We picked through a large array of shellfish, crabs and other sea creatures, some that we had never seen before. There were many different seaweeds including kelp with large pieces of rock attached, evidence of the violence of the storm.
|Dunes at Waipu Cove|
We stayed at Waipu Cottages and Camping, which borders a nature reserve protecting a stretch of beach along with the lagoon of the Waipu River behind. From our tent, it was a short walk across dunes to the beach. Shags nested in the trees bordering the lagoon.
We drove inland one day to Waipu Cave, which has attractive formations near the entrance. There is also a walkway that goes through forest to a viewpoint looking out over the sea. It is a magnificent coastline.
|Sunset from Waipu Cove|