Driving along the surf highway is great, except you don't see the surf! Every other road it seems leads to a surf beach, 3km or more. I felt the need to make some mileage (kilometerage?) and proceeded past. Wasn't sure I could trust the old guys memory but I found it, after backtracking cause the sign faces the other way! sign on the door says "park anywhere. I will find you in the morning. $10 to camp"
I walk along the black sand beach without my hat, I didn't even think of what might happen to my ears... Tranquility with pounding surf and a couple of Maori fellows here for a swim. We sit and they make jokes about just about everything, they are quite friendly and we shoot the breeze till they go threatening to return with beer. Unlikely. I go make some dinner and stand at the microwave with the laptop on it typing away till it is dark outside. Have a beer myself sitting at a picnic table overlooking the river mouth while the golden light fades over the Tasman Sea.
Morning comes and Taranaki is still visible so I snap another, walk down on this side of the river to survey the remains of the fishermen's detritus. Why is it folks will haul in full bottles but can't be bothered to remove the empties? When I took the sunset pictures, they were still down there casting into the rising tide.
When it came time to leave brush teeth etc, I discovered the shampoo bottle had opened up and everything was yuck. Clean-up and then on the road again. Lucky for me my kit is so small. No phone service till I got back up on the highway. I call the hostel hoping to catch Ben before he leaves to thank him for the tip. I spent too much time dawdling on the beach.
On the way to Wanganui I saw a homemade gypsy wagon and another couple on arrival here. Check out Gypsy Fair NZ. Unfortunately I will be on the South Island. Sounds like a very cool event.
Next stop Levin and the Organic River Festival.