Author: Mrs A
Saturday: Another spectacular morning welcomed us, the water glistening just metres from the end of the garden. Of course this meant we were again tempted out for a paddle. This time we packed up our boats into backpacks and walked across to the other side of the peninsular to launch. As we reached the other side we noticed the sky darkening, and a quick look at the weather radar showed a major storm heading our way.
We decided the water might not be the best place to be if this hit, and changed our plans to a hike, following the coastal path around Omokoroa’s headland. That’s the great thing about these boats you can carry – they’re so light that it doesn’t really matter if your plans change, it was not too arduous to take them with us.
We tracked around a beautiful walkway, following steps and grassy pathways, all the way around and back to home – around 7km all up. The storm didn’t eventuate fortunately, instead changing direction and heading out to sea.
Sunday afternoon we decided to attempt the backpack-paddle adventure again, with dad and Sue joining us to walk over to Cooney Reserve, where we inflated the boats on a white sand beach and launched off.
The water was shallow and so warm – easily around 30 degrees centigrade – and the local children were having a great time playing in the water and jumping off the wharves.
The Kokopelli boats are so easy to paddle, more so even than our last packrafts – they’re slightly narrower so not quite so susceptible to the breeze on flat water. As we rounded the headland the nor-easterly was quite brisk, but we made it around without too much effort.
This is such a picturesque time of year to visit New Zealand. The Pohutukawa trees (known as the native Christmas tree) are all in bloom, filled with nectar loving birds such as the native Tui and the introduced rosellas. Ever swooping in front of us were a pair of sacred kingfishers, entertaining us with their antics as they caught little fish in the shallows. Apparently kingfish and snapper are common around here.
Our day concluded with drinks and nibbles, as is the civilised way!
Monday dawned and Mr A and I attempted some shopping in Tauranga. The town is looking a little scruffy and sad, with most of the bigger shops having moved out of the town to a big estate. We managed to get a few bits and pieces for our upcoming camping trips, then returned to Omokoroa for the afternoon.
Dad and Sue spent their afternoon in the garden, making their already stunning display even prettier with pruning, feeding and mowing. It is definitely a hobby which displays its rewards. It is hard to believe they have only been moved in since the beginning of May this year, the garden at that stage being more of a building site. Many of these plants started off as little cuttings brought from their old home or gifts from friends and neighbours. It looks amazing today, with much potential ahead too.
Mr A and I decided to walk down to the harbour and explore the bay on foot, picking our way along the beach alongside the golf course.
There’s plenty of bird life here – with literally hundreds of black swans in the bay, white faced herons, flocks of bar-tailed godwits (flown here all the way from Alaska, over 11,000km away) and red-legged pied stilts. All this is surrounded by the stunning Kaimai ranges, making for a very unique location.
We sat a while on the edge of the water, watching the birds circle around nervously before deciding we weren’t too big of a threat and settling a short way away on the sand.
What a very special place this is.