Muriwai

As we well know by now the west coast of New Zealand is full of beautiful beaches, and when our first visitor came over from the UK we decided it was a good time to check out another of these gems.

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Our destination for the day was Muriwai, a lovely long, west coast, black sand beach. The beach stretches for miles and miles and we could barely see its end but started walking in that direction, this could likely take up a day all on its own. Banked by sand dunes, and well know as a surf beach, Muriwai is a favourite of Aucklander’s and it’s easy to see why as it is more accessible than some of the other west coast beaches.

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With a fine drizzle disrupting our otherwise pleasant stroll we headed back the way we came and at the edge of the cliff there is a cave to venture into, and shelter in. The craggy crevice has a multicoloured rock with smooth purple and yellow layers where the sea has worn it away.

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We wandered in as far as we dare without a torch, maybe twenty metres, letting the rain pass before returning to the beach. Over to the left of the cave is a rocky shelf where the cliff used to be leaving a great fishing platform above the sea. We wandered around on the shelf crossing natural rock bridges and hoping to find something exciting in the rock pools but only dead crabs to be found owing to the hungry residents of Muriwai.

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The residents are a huge colony of Gannets who come to Muriwai each year between August and March to breed and bring up their chicks before heading off again. Heading up the cliff there are a number of viewpoints overlooking the colony, and thankfully the gannets seem unfazed by their fame.

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Being March the chicks were now nearly fully fledged and ready to go. I’m no twitcher but I enjoy a good David Attenborough show so it was surprisingly interesting to watch them going about their business. There were certainly a few squabbles on the go and one particular gannet seemed to be making overly ambitious architecture choices for its nest.

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Gannets aside the best surf seemed to be at the bottom of their cliff, with clean barrelling waves and plenty of braver surfers than us out in the open water. There was some pretty good surfing on display here and a few tricks and slips to keep us entertained, a fine line between the barrels and where the rocks began though so we were happy to be watching and not in the water ourselves.

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And the best way to end a day trip in New Zealand…a barbeque of course. Guy created a feast for us all back at our flat and with food and beer we were left pretty satisfied after our micro adventure.

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