Tag Archives: grasses

A visit to Makara Beach

In keeping with my recent posts of rugged coasts in my home region, here is another beach that is rugged, wild and beautiful.

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This Department of Conservation website gives more information about Makara and includes a map showing that the deep arcing Ohariu Bay and the beach are not too far from the most south western point of the North Island.

This is another west coast beach.   The very small settlement can be reached from either Johnsonville or Karori (both suburbs of Wellington). Either route is a narrow winding road with rural views, plenty of surrounding steep hills and roads that require careful attention and care.

After reaching flat, more open land the road suddenly offers a view of the bay. On the day we visited the day was crystal clear. The night before a southerly storm had raged but this beach is relatively sheltered from that wind and these high hills sheltered us from the icy wind that was still blowing.
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The surf was heavy but not as dramatic as it would have been on the South coast.
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The beach here is rocky.

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Banks of these rocks shelve steeply

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and the undertow is sharp and strong.

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This is never a safe swimming beach. The sound of these rocks being dragged back and forwards with each breaker was deafening but exhilarating.

A narrow walking track at the base of the high hills offers views back up the coast to the north and here, in the distance, you can see Mana Island and beyond it, the peak of Kapiti Island. The photo bombing bird is a Cormorant!

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When the predominant north-westerly wind howls this bay will take a pounding. Vegetation reflects the harsh, salt-laden, tough conditions. Flaxes, tufty grasses and Taupata do well but are stunted.

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Ocean currents bring huge logs and tree stumps on to the beach.
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Rock pools offer hidden delights but close supervision of children is needed at all times, given the strength of the sea.
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With so much natural energy via the wind in this remote landscape, there is a controversial wind farm now on the hills and from different parts of the settlement the blades of the turbines are visible. Up near this wind farm on the high hills are recreational options for the fit and energetic.

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I admire the local residents who live in such a remote and harsh environment. Their senses would be sharply alive all the time. I love visiting such wild spots with the exhilaration and beauty they offer but I much prefer a more moderate place in which to find my permanent home.

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Come sit with me and talk awhile

Who would you ask to sit with you on this seat and talk awhile? To sit in the evening sunshine, with the grass long and soft around you and the view pleasant?

This photograph was taken by a family member and kindly shared.

This photograph was taken by a family member and kindly shared.

On a clear day you can see forever

We have lived in this area for over 25 years and naturally many changes have happened in that time. When we first lived here this hill to the northwest of our home was named “Pine tree Hill” by the children because that described it perfectly.
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Eventually the pine trees were felled and the logs that were commercially viable were taken away. The bare sides of the hill were hard to look at. But very quickly mass planting of natives began and they are all well-established along with many flowering cherry trees and other plants that have resulted from birds dropping seeds. The hill provides cover and food for many of the regenerating native bird populations.

Last year our city council spent some money on making a look out area on the most northern part of this hill. Earlier this week these photos were taken from this wonderful vantage point on what is now known as the Spinnaker Lookout.

This is the view back to my “neck of the woods”
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The photo below shows the large area of trees, native and exotic that cover a hillside near my home and which is a great home for our birds and wildlife as well as wonderful places for children to play in the natural world.
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This view is the Lookout at the end of my street and which is currently under the gaze of the city council to perhaps “improve” it in some way. We will give careful thought to our submission as this area is windswept and natural with growing areas of natives and home to visits by the Shining Cuckoo, tui flocks and families and no doubt many other birds. It is a great area for children to play on in a free and natural manner using their imaginations.
DSCF6473 I look out onto these hills from the kitchen window above the sink. The hills are extremely dry at the moment thanks to all the winds we have had this summer and the lower rainfall in the past few weeks. I like the micro-view I have of these hills as I watch the light and shadows change, the weather changes and the movement of cattle from time to time. This photo is much more of a big picture view.
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Back to the east is the Pauatahanui Inlet with the small settlement of Pauatahahui at the head of the Inlet.
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A shift to the west shows the Inlet, then the entrance to the Porirua Harbour and in the distance the Tasman Sea. Somewhere over the horizon is Australia.
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Finally a more western view shows the South Island as blue hills off in the distance.
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Large trees block any view due south into another section of my suburb.
This photograph shows the village of Whitby and some areas of earthworks as development moves apace again.
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At the vantage point high on Spinnaker Hill there are two large signs offering visitors links to various places of interest with a historical reference or two, some ecology information and links to other walking tracks as well as the interesting symbol that smart phones can read and then provide more information.
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There is a large seat to rest on after the rigorous climb to this point and the plantings around this and the signs on the vantage point have been selected to survive conditions in this very windy spot. You can tell which way the predominant wind blows from this tough, drought resistance grass.

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Even on this cloudless day there was a stiff nor’wester blowing.

The path down through the wind tossed exotic gum trees crackling with cicadas and off home for a well earned cup of tea.
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A day to reflect

It is ANZAC day here in New Zealand. A day when we remember the Australian and New Zealand troops who fought so heroically at Gallipoli. The day has been extended to remember all who have served in wars as Defence force members.

I know of 7 men in my family who served in WW1 and WW11. Fortunately all returned home but the cost was very high for some and the experience profound on them all.

I have spent some quiet time today reflecting on them and their bravery and courage.

My daughter and I spent some time this afternoon in our local wetlands, wildlife area at the head of the Pauatahanui Inlet. It was a peaceful place to reflect and remember all who served.

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