|Sunday 28th Feb.
Can’t believe its last day of Feb today, we seem to have been away so long & yet time seems to have flown.
Well bit of excitement here this morning. Unfortunately the poor people of Chile have suffered an earthquake overnight & this has had a knock on effect for NZ in that there is now a Tsunami alert out on all coastal areas around NZ which means that the beach is out of bounds today! Most things here involve the beach so we have to go inland & find some entertainment for the day. Steve fancies a high walk which is fine & i can also find things to do so thats great. We pick up a leaflet from the local info site and head off to Mair pk. Steve goes straight up to a lookout on the top with a war memorial whilst I take a walk by the river. It was very well laid out on paths & a boardwalk through woodland part way up the hillside & occasionally dipping down to the river and also had areas of grassland with picnic tables on them, so all in all a lovely relaxing walk.
Whangerei Falls is also mentioned in various places as probably the most photographed waterfalls if not the most impressive. I can see why they have earned their title as they were very accessible, being no distance from the road but to actually see them from below was quite a drop down & climb back up again.
Having done this we thought that it might be interesting to try to see the Tsunami, if it happened, from somewhere high up so headed for the coast. This was easier said than done & eventually gave up trying to find anywhere & stopped off for a late lunch on a lovely beach protected by a large sandbar.We spent most of our time there fascinated by 2 birds on the beach. One was a gull on the waters edge , the other was a cormorant, i think, fishing madly in the shallow water. The funny thing was the gull was following the cormorant along the beach as if it was stalking it & they kept changing direction but this gull was always there. We could only assume that the cormorant was stirring up the sand etc the gull was getting easy pickings of something but it was fascinating. By the time we got back into the car the threat had been downgraded & was now only information. There was definitely something odd going on with the tides as we both noticed the tide coming in really quickly initially & then going out again as if there was a surge of water but anyway we are safe & assume threat now over. Still loads of fabulous beaches along this coast. Plan to head for Bay of Islands in morning! Note from Steve: Just been talking to the hotel owner and I complained about the size of the tsunami, (as you do). She had a lady check in today, who was camping on the coast last night with her husband and dog when they were woken in the early hours and told to get out quick. In all the panic he had a heart attack and is now in the local hospital. Foot in mouth time, oops.