Nature pulled out all the stops last weekend for Matariki. All three days of the long weekend were stunners, with temperatures more like mid-autumn than mid-winter.
On Saturday I worked in the garden in a t-shirt, and we had all the doors and windows open for most of the day. On Sunday, with both kids home for the holiday, we headed out for a hike.
Avoiding the snowy mountains and crowded ski fields, we headed to an unlikely spot—the Kate Valley Landfill.
Well, okay, not the landfill itself, but the restoration area next to it on Transwaste land.
Tiromoana Bush Walkway wends through a patchwork of restoration planting, old paddocks, plantation forestry and regenerating bush. An active predator trapping programme has clearly done its job, and the air teems with bellbirds and pīwakawaka.
Access to the beach cuts through a steep valley between limestone cliffs busy with welcome swallows. The beach is narrow and overshadowed by actively crumbling cliffs of limestone and clay—definitely not a place you want to be during a storm, but quite fascinating on the blue-sky day we enjoyed.
The hike was only about three hours long, leaving plenty of time to enjoy the beach, even on a short mid-winter day.
We had relatively low expectations of the hike when we started out, but it ended up being quite a pleasant mid-winter outing. Not very strenuous, but with enough ups and downs to be interesting, and with some intriguing landforms along the coast.