There’s is nothing like a bracing walk along the beach in winter, which is what we decided to do one chilly and cloudy day recently. We live on the Kapiti Coast, just north of Wellington in New Zealand and our beaches can be quite stunning at any time of the year, so we decided to take two cars, leave one at a town called Paekakariki, drive back home and then start our walk from there. It was our wedding anniversary and we wanted to reward ourselves at the end of the walk with a nice lunch!
It took us ten minutes to walk to the beach at Raumati South and we started off by joining the coastal pathway which is part of Te Araroa – New Zealand’s Trail. This unique walkway is a continuous 3,000 km walking track from Cape Reinga to Bluff and takes you through stunning scenery en route.
The sights and sounds you experience as you walk along this coastline are fabulous. Locals walk their dogs along here and it is great to see them running in and out of the water, fetching sticks and chasing seagulls (the dogs that is!). In a quieter spot, we saw seagulls digging for shellfish, then flying up high then dropping the shellfish to try and break the shell so they can eat it’s goodness.
As you walk south, Kapiti Island is to your right and the sand dunes which form the edge of Queen Elizabeth Park are to your left. Walkers and cyclists make use of the many tracks that weave in and around the park, some of which you can see from the beach.
Every so often the sun peeps out from a cloud behind us and the many shells are lit up on the beach like bleached jewels on an endless satin sandbar. Driftwood litters the beach and large tree trunks that have been swept down rivers then ashore by the strong seas lie like sleeping monsters.
In the distance we can see the buildings of Paekakariki, snuggled into the bay, but perhaps still an hour walk away. That’s ok though, we are enjoying walking along, breathing in the sea air while chatting to each other.
Just before you get to Paekakariki there is a small meandering stream, so we walk inland a bit, past a picnic area and public conveniences, then across a bridge and back onto the beach. This is now the start of the town which edges QEII Park. The houses are all different – large modern abodes, small, quaint original baches, family homes – they are all here.
Finally we see our car in the distance, stride toward it and jump happily in, our stomachs groaning for some food. It has taken us about an hour and a half and we have really enjoyed it – now to celebrate our Anniversary with a nice lunch at Finn’s Restaurant.