Wednesday, 6 June 2012

One Grey Sunday, 27 May

Tapapakanga nicely framed

The kids have been gone a week now and, though it’s not a great day weather-wise, we decide to continue with our Sunday walks to keep the blues away. Heading south towards the Tapapakanga regional park, we stop at Clevedon for the Sunday market and get some provisions. There’s the usual farmer’s market but also a community market selling a lot of homemade jewellery and craft-work, along with jams, cakes etc. Tapapakanga is on the coast just north west of the Hunua Ranges and turns out to be a pleasant mixture of farmland and coastal walking. We see a lot of sheep, and Paradise Shell ducks and also two large flocks of turkeys which we imagine must be wild as they aren’t fenced in at all.

Not such a welcoming sea. The Coromandel Peninsular is just across the water
After our circular walk we move onto the Miranda Shorebird Centre which is a bit further down the coast. It’s apparently quite famous for its migratory birds, has an info centre, and a couple of hides looking out onto the shore. Unfortunately we’re a little late and, as it’s 3 hours past high tide, the feeding birds have moved further down the beach which makes it more difficult to spot them.

Black swans wandering down stream. The Godwits were too far away to photograph

It’s quite a long path through dense fennel (very aromatic) and over sand dunes to get to the main hide and as we approach we pass a woman with a large telescope slung over her shoulder. She tells us what to expect out there but we’ve missed the chance to view through the telescope unfortunately. It’s a bleak wind-swept place on this rather grey day and there’s no-one else around. We see quite a few bar-tailed Godwits which migrate the enormous distance between Alaska and New Zealand, and loads of stilts who fly with their long legs trailing behind them looking like daddy-long-legs in flight.

To warm up we then proceed to the Miranda Hot Springs which aren’t too far away, and soak in the large open air public pool. It’s next door to a holiday park so is pretty crowded but is deeper than most so we can swim and although it’s a dark gloomy day, it’s a pleasant thing to soak in the hot steaming waters as dusk is falling.

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