From Karekare I drove to the next beach north: Piha, which is also extremely dangerous (strong rip currents) but much loved by surfers. The beach is split in two by the massive Lion Rock, the remnants of a volcano. The constant rain-fog-clearing no, just kidding-downpour-fog weather made for some dramatic skies and exciting driving on the narrow, twisty roads, but Skylon, Karl and I survived unscathed.
In addition to a long walk on the beach, I did a short walk (about 2 miles) up a wet valley track to the Kitekite Falls, running full force after all the rain. If nothing else, a nice stretch of the legs.
I camped at the Piha Domain and the following morning, while doing Pilates on my mat on the grass beside Skylon, was watched from an uncomfortably close distance by several ducks.
Photos: view of Piha with the Lion Rock dominating the beach; Kitekite Falls, about 135 feet tall (40m); walking along North Piha beach, the Lion Rock near sunset. First cats, now ducks… why must animals stare at me from close range when I do Pilates? Shot of the Waitakere Dam and surrounding lush forests. Karl poses during a moment of brief sunlight at Auckland’s Takapuna Beach, with Rangitoto in the background. Another Rangitoto view with what I thought was a penguin on the rocks in the foreground (a local informed me it was a bird known as a shag) and a tall ship on the water (look at Rangitoto’s coastline, straight down from the summit).
The last photo I just had to take. You know, just a little reminder that Auckland sits on one of the largest and itchin’ for an eruption volcanic fields in the world…