Tuesday 9 November 2021

A very local holiday

This past weekend Martin and I had a 4-day holiday.  We'd been hoping to go camping and tramping in the Waitakere Ranges but, with overnight stays away from home not allowed at the current Covid restrictions, we hatched a new plan.  On the Thursday, Saturday and Sunday we slept in, had a late-ish breakfast then biked to Coyle Park for the day; on the Friday we still had the slow morning, but then we drove to the Waitakeres for a day walk.

Martin's bike, loaded with a surprising amount of stuff for the day:

My bike - much less laden!

Heading off to Pt Chevalier: it took about 20 minutes each way.

Our wee setup.  The tent was really useful to protect from wind the first day and to get out of a heavy rain shower on the Saturday, but Sunday was beautiful weather and we didn't bother.

Detail on the edge of a carving in Coyle Park - telling the traditional Maori story of the creation of Meola Reef.

I was entertained to see a 'stick library' (complete with sticks and a tennis ball) next to the 'little free library'. The fence it was against had many amenities - a bit further along there was even a defibrillator!

Pretty much on the 'point' of Pt Chevalier.  We sat on the rocks here with binoculars for ages, figuring out what all the bits of land were that we could see.  A plane, perhaps military?, made a number of passes, dropping three parachutists at a time.  Shags were fishing in the water.  They stay under surprisingly long!

Day two (Friday) we borrowed Sarah's car and went to the Waitakere Ranges to check out the Karamatura Track.  The side-arm that completes the Karamatura Loop was closed due to Kauri dieback (hence the orange netting), although we think it may have been opened by the time we left.

Towards Huia:

Even the stumps were alive with epiphytes!

These roots were pretty amazing...

Back at the carpark.  We lay by the stream here for an hour or so before we were driven away by rain.  On the way home we stopped off at a couple of lookouts before finally heading home for dinner.

Back at Coyle Park.  Every day we had the same spot to ourselves, right at the back of this grassy patch, tucked in the shade of the trees.

This house at the edge of 'our' patch of grass was just stunning.

The final day, when we didn't bother putting the tent up.

I've never spent so many hours in a row by the same beach.  We were at the top of a wee cliff looking over the water, and were there from maybe 10:30am till 7:30 or 8pm each night.  The water was always just quietly swishing back and forth, but the distance it moved between low and high tide was quite astonishing - swinging right out and gently moving back in.  Here it is at almost low tide:


Whilst we obviously would have preferred to really go away, this worked well as a holiday.  We both turned the wifi off on our phones and stayed away from our computers when we were home overnight, so we had a good break from our usual lives.  Coyle Park was a lovely place to be, and we're so privileged to have somewhere so lovely so close.  Even on the weekend when it was packed with people there was still plenty of space to be 'just us'.  I slept really well.

It was good to go there and back by bike.  Not only was it good for the environment; parking was clearly horrendous!  It was nice not to have that stress.  It was also a very 'affordable' way to holiday, both financially and in terms of carbon impact.  We reckon we generated around 33kg CO2e (1/3 on driving, 3kg on cooking gas and the rest on carbon-intensive meat and dairy) and all-up it cost $100 :-)

I also learned something about my body: I really can't do exercise four days in a row.  Three days of biking 20 minutes each way (as well as going swimming on two of them) and one day of tramping 4km or so was just too much.  On other holidays I've done far more biking in one day than what I did over three days here, but by the afternoon of the third day I crashed.  My body was still strong enough to bike home and to bike there and back the next day, but by the last day it all felt a bit much and I wasn't really having fun any more.  I need rest days, even after fairly moderate exercise.

I'm hoping to go overnight tramping again one day in the future.  I think what I learned this weekend is that I probably should look for tracks that we can do in two days: just stay out one night, and make sure I can have a solid rest day after the two tramping days.  But, if we can find a good two-day tramp, I'm confident now that I'd be able to not only manage it, but enjoy it :-)

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