Life though my lens

By LauraJaneFyfe

Whangarei Falls

Stuart and I jumped in the car today with no real plan or destination, just a desire to see what lay beyond the next headland. We headed east from Whangarei towards the sea and towards Whangarei heads. We passed through small bay towns one after another, all sheltered in their own harboured bay with small sandy beaches. We stopped at various points along the way to get photos and when we saw a sign to Mt Manaia Reserve we felt we had to turn off and check it out. Within the reserve were numerous hikes, with the star attraction being a hike up to a 420m high rim of an extinct stratovolcano. There was no question of if we were going to do this hike or not (even with the 1130 stairs to the top, someone had counted). We hiked up to the summit and were rewarded with spectacular views, if sadly a wee bit cloudy. From the top you could see islands, white sandy beaches, small coastal towns, a huge oil refinery and with a trained eye the remains of the volcano. I had much pleasure in highlighting the volcano, its position, the volcano rim, the rock (much breccia and andesite) and its history when a friendly dutch couple were asking about the geology.

After the hike we got back in the car and drove literally to the end of the road, where there was a lovely white sandy beach. We were really hungry by this point, after working up an appetite so we stopped at a tavern on the waterfront for some fish soup and a burger, while looking out at the boats all tied up in the harbour. We headed back inland after our coastal adventure and headed towards Whangarei falls, a 26m high waterfall not far from our hotel. The falls were great and on a plus side only a 10 minute walk from the car (an advantage after this morning). We took some photos, dipped our feet in the river, said hello to some local kids who were swimming and enjoying their afternoon then headed back to the hotel to put our feet up.

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