Saturday, 23 January 2010

Ongaruru Bay Sunrise to Bay View (Hawkes Bay)

Red sky in the morning, travellers take warning? In half an hour most of the cloud overhead had burned off, although on the horizon were piles of cumulonimbus threatening... A trip back to town to the toilet(!) and a couple of pictures, the old boarded up banks seem to carry a feeling of despair or abandonment.The sun shines softly across the hillsides. They look like corduroy as if some ancient civilization had terraced the entire place. I wondered if it was slippage with so many animals wandering across for generations. The light was perfect for highlighting the contour. And sheep, sheep everywhere. The sun rose higher, the day got warmer and the next beach, Waihua, had me swimming and sunning. Lots of freedom campers, the children were in the surf attempting to surf on their little boogie boards, dad watching while dogs frolicked all around. Around another headland and the beaches of Gisborne, endless surf and surfers, fishermen and lots of families camped at the side of the road like strip villages.
Gisborne itself is a fairly decent sized place, a river runs through it (hmm) and being Sunday not much was open. I got on the net, their computer, $5 an hour at the Infocentre. Out front a "Canadian" totem pole (no credit to the carver) presented to the community by the Canadian Gov't a few years ago. This internet thing is a bit of a challenge. On the one hand it is a great way to stay in touch keep you all informed and provide me with a decent record of my journey. On the other, it becomes a compulsive effort to keep up, in affect an interruption (sometimes) to the flow of the day. I get a bit wired by it .
Pulled off the road to harvest some peaches, yum, ripe and juicy. Took a short road to the mouth of the river and regarded Young Nick's Head or Te Kuri across Poverty Bay ( Cook had quite an ethnocentric viewpoint) Continuing on past Mohaka the road goes inland into Whareata State forest where logging the Pines is very much in progress. The straight rows of the recently planted look cute across the hillsides. At Nuhaka I turned left and drove out onto the Mahia Penninsula. Out to Mahia beach, a dramatic backdrop of immense cliffs and a sweeping white sand beach make this a destination worth visiting. The sand on the beach is a mixture separated by gravity and seems to be particles of clay and pumice. It looks like ground down kitty litter. It is cool to walk on while the sand is smokin hot! I couldn't resist jumping in and body surfing in those relentless waves. Surfers sitting out on their boards , waiting for the perfect one... heading back I noticed and recorded how the road seems to have a tenuous existence here, the land is eroding dramatically.
The next leg of the journey took me through some steep and challenging river gorges, the road literally carved into the cliff with hairpins and deep descents, much like Alison Pass in Manning Park. This road is narrower and the pines are green. These words do not begin to describe what it was like hurtling down (and up) this narrow road, transports, tourists and locals impatiently waiting to pass me and each other, with very few opportunities. At one point I came around a corner and there above me at the top of a hill, headstones! A cemetery seemingly in the middle of nowhere. On the map part of this road is called Devils Elbow, I can relate! I felt squeezed, hot in the sun and somewhat frustrated. After an hour or so of that I needed a break.
The Tangoio Falls Scenic Reserve takes one up a steep incline on an obvious labour of love trail to a couple of sweet waterfalls through native bush. I got good and muddy, but it was great to be in the shade listening to the birds, cicadas (?) and the rushing streams.
Westshore Napier: Internet at this campground $10 for 24hrs! Been at it awhile. Time to do some traveling.

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