It was pretty hard to get up. Why would I even want to? Sitting on the pure white sand with my legs stretched out before me, facing the ultra-clear blue water of Dead Man Beach and basking in the warm sunshine, I was very content.. Why move? But I had to, because as glorious as that was, I still had a walk to finish by the end of the day, and I had no idea how much further I needed to go.
In summer I can imagine Cook’s Cove Walkway is busy, the short trail well trodden by people drawn to this site that is not only stunning but also has a history dating back to 1769. But Cook’s Cove was deserted at this time of year, the chilly grey weather of late July turning people off driving the hour from Gisborne to come here. It was one of the most quiet and peaceful places I’ve ever been.
The word ‘shipwreck’ invites all kinds of dramatic visions – of raging storms and castaways, deserted tropical islands, and romantic rescues by courageous strapping young sailors. But at Greenpoint Reserve it’s another story. Here you’ll find a ship graveyard – boats were intentionally scuttled here and left to rot. It’s a short, easy walk with lots of birds to see too!
I huffed and puffed up the last few metres of the steep hill, turning my feet slightly sideways and tugging on tufts of grass to stabilize myself. Upon reaching the top I didn’t even pause to catch my breath. I stood in one spot, slowly turning in a circle, admiring the spectacular view of the countryside all around me.
For most people, the Waiau Falls and Kauri Grove walks would be a quick pit stop on their way over the 309 road to the bigger attractions on the far side of the peninsula. But for me and my friends the beautiful waterfall and giant trees were more than a stop along the way; they were the destination.
About 18km from Wanaka, Otago, is the Diamond Lake and Rocky Mountain track, which, despite its spectacular views over Lake Wanaka and stunning mountain surroundings, is remarkably un-trampled! Here’s everything you need to know.
Want a nice day hike on New Zealand’s South Island? How about panoramic views of jagged mountain peaks and surrounding valleys, mirror-like lakes, stunning beech forests, high alpine vegetation, and a 174m high waterfall? Sound ok? Yeah, I thought so. So try this one!
“If there’s an eruption”, the guide said, “stay calm, and stay with your group. We’ll head back to the boat and get you off the island as soon as it’s safe to do so.” I looked around me at the clouds of steam billowing out of the crater, and wondered just how long might it be before it was ‘safe to do so’ in the midst of a volcanic eruption?
Suddenly the ocean was surrounding me on three sides. Ahead, it stretched out for miles, all the way to the horizon and beyond my range of vision, interrupted only by a few small islands. To my right it collided with the steep cliffs, carving narrow caves and crevasses in the soft rock. And to my left it was calm and shallow, lapping gently on the bay’s long sandy beach, and I could see right down to the bottom through the swaying kelp and stands of coral.
Just a short drive outside of Dunedin city is Tunnel Beach. Invisible from the car park, a short walk down a steep path through some farmland gives amazing views. Continue down to the rock arch and through a hand-carved tunnel to a gorgeous cove full of cliffs, boulders, and sea stacks. And keep an eye out for sleeping sea lions!