Like most things, going to the beach in New Zealand is different. As a Hoosier drives--carefully--along the roads that lead to some truly amazing, unpopulated, pristine beaches its in the back of the mind to listen for banjos playing or the squeal of distant pigs. But that does not happen and you simply ignore the posted road signs. Four-wheel drive is highly recommended.
The beaches are fantastic playgrounds for young and old. Molly, Camilia, and Nathan found this incredible old tree with rope swing. There were no signs warning of the inherent dangers, probabilities of death or loss of limb, and as I started to say "be careful" I caught myself and I let them have fun. They did. So did I.
When you come to New Zealand, if you plan to swim in the ocean, bring a wetsuit or rent one. The water is cold and its a necessity. Molly and her friend Camilia are creature of the water, so a little chill was not going to stop them. . .
. . . because they could warm up in the sun or lay in some of the tide pools which were warmer.
When you go to the beach, you should pay attention to the tide tables. If you go when the tide is low, you get a glimpse of some interesting biological, geological, and physical phenomena.
I am not a biologist. These are limpets attached to a rock. I understand that they are monovalve shellfish.
This is Camilia's dad, Blair, walking through one of the beach caves. The surrounding igneous rock is basalt, the direct result of volcanic activity in this area millions of years ago. You can easily make out the layers when you are standing next to them.
Sand ripples. Same in both hemispheres, but cool nonetheless.
This is me on the beach. Behind me you can see the caves in the cliff face.
Molly out in the water. There are kayakers behind her in the distance.
The drive to and from the beach is another reason to be thankful for Dramamine. Most of the roads, including the main roads, undulate and reduce to single lane tracks. The coast road above Port Chalmers is beautiful, however, and worth filling a couple of air sick bags.
Port Chalmers from McAndrew Road