It was hard to drag ourselves away from Manganese Point beside Whangarei Harbour on Friday – it was such a lovely morning. We managed it eventually and headed off with the car in tow. To go north up the coast we had to go back into Whangarei, before branching off almost immediately to the Tutukaka Coast. We passed though Glenbervie, a long-established farming area famed for its stone walls. And the fame is well placed. The stone walls are extraordinary. We’ve seen stone walls on the Otago Peninsula, but these were something else again. It was only over a few kilometres and was once more extensive, but what remains is still a great sight. The walls were used quite intensively.
It wasn’t far back out to the coast – first mangrove swamps and then Nqunguru, a settlement beside an estuary open to the sea. We still have trouble pronouncing the name. There is a private parkover place on the main road with friendly hosts Eric and Georgina, and we were soon set up in front of their house. It was a lovely warm afternoon and sheltered there – at one stage the thermometer outside in the shade hit 22 degrees – nice to see it with a 2 in front. It is only 4kms on to Tutukaka so we went for a bit of an explore in the afternoon, starting with the Te Maika headland in between. This has lots of lovely little bays and lots of old and new housing mostly views good/great views. Along one side road we found a walkway up to a extraordinary viewpoint up and down the coast. This isn’t marked off the main road or off the main side road along the peninsula. Talk about best kept secrets.
At Tutukaka itself there is a big resort that looks a bit empty at this time of year, and a big marina that still looks busy at this time of year. There are a couple of cafes and dive shops offering boat trips out to the Poor Knights islands. The area is famous for its water clarity and diving and snorkelling are big business. Even on the coast of the mainland the water is extraordinary for clarity and colour – is this what all sea water used to look like? We went into one place to enquire about the cost of the boat trips but the guy was busy on the phone ordering something of great interest so two potential customers walked out the door and left him to it. Funny way to run a business though. We headed back to Ngunguru and Suzi and settled in for the night.