We came. We beached, and beached some more. We thought it best to warm up on the beach activity before jumping into hard core beaching in New Zealand. So we visited my buddy Susi in Nanaimo and visited Neck Point Park. It's a nice walk and some lovely driftwood.
Then the long but wonderful flight to Auckland, clear customs, pass the bio check, change planes and on to Dunedin. There are beaches within city limits and we didn't get there last time! Why am I not living in a city with an ocean beach? Can't imagine how that happened. But we wanted to beach big time this vacation, and didn't waste any time.
-St Clair (These two are essentially one long beach, nice walking, not much driftwood. If you're looking for eye candy, this is the place; Dunedin is a university town.)
-Ocean View (Lovely for walking, great cloud reflections, not much driftwood.) (Yes, I know you've seen this shot before, but I didn't think you'd mind. This is photo of the year so far.)
-Brighton (near Brighton, of course) (stunning driftwood, great walk)
-Long Beach (near Port Chalmers) (Lovely sand, some good driftwood.)
-Aramoana (doing the left side) (Lovely sand, some good driftwood, fantastic rock.) This lovely natural amphitheatre needed (NEEDED!) a model wearing a slinky cocktail dress leaning on a microphone stand.
We took a break going to the Orokonui ecosanctuary in the morning, then the beach.
-Aramoana (doing the right side.) Not as nice as the left side.
-Kuri Bush (Just north of Taieri, nice walk, fantastic trove of driftwood.)
-Taieri (yes, near the town of Taieri Mouth) (nice to walk, windy so nice sand dunes, some good driftwood.)
Drive to Invercargill, did Florence beach lookout again, but though the weather was nice, beach access was closed due to high tide.
-Oreti, (Long, long, long, nice to walk in places, some ok driftwood. You can drive on this beach, and people did. Cars and tire tracks are so disruptive for beach photography!)
-Corlac Bay (for the night shoot, strolled enough to know it was a coarse pebble beach.)
Over to Stewart Island and short strolls on a couple beaches. Essentially as far south as you can go in New Zealand without a lot of walking.
From Invercargill, going west.
-Jemstone (I was loving the shafts of sunlight, but the camera didn't see it the way I did.)
-Corlac to see it in the daylight. Strolled each end a bit, but called it early. Not that nice.
From Invercargill, going east
-Omaui (nice walk, and a forest walk, but not much driftwood.)
-Waipapa Lighthouse, short stroll
Slope point lookout, but no beach stroll.
-Curio Bay (Fantastic walk, but essentially no driftwood.)
-Fortrose (Crappy walk, and while there was a lot of driftwood, not much of it was nice. The so-called sunken ship was a disappointment.)
Two big travel days. Drive Invercargill to Dunedin, fly to Christchurch, overnight, train to Picton, drive to Marahau, near the start of the Able Tasman Great Walk. No beach time.
-Marahau (South side of town, short, ok for walk, little driftwood.)
-Marahau (North side, near start of Able Tasman Great Walk, is good walk, lots of nice driftwood.)
-Porter (Actually on the Great Walk. Both Porter and Tinline are short, ok walk, a bit of driftwood, some interesting rock formation.)
-Tinline, showing the long tidal flat.
Up and over Takaka Hill to Golden Bay. (Hint, you really, really, want to pay attention during this drive.)
-Pohara (These three were long, lovely to walk, with some driftwood.)
(back again the next day to Farewell Spit, the very north most part of the South Island.)
-Whararika, (Dunes to die for, some nice landscapes, a bit of driftwood, nice walk.)
-Ocean (Bleak, flat, very windy, only one piece of boring driftwood in sight, yet I'd be willing to give it another chance. It's a long walk so I'd bring a bicycle if I had the chance.)
(Saw the Able Tasman beaches from water taxi, but didn't stroll, too crowded with kayaks.)
-Motueka spit on the ocean side. (Ok walk, gradually getting more gravelly. Lots of nice driftwood.)
Back over Takaka Hill again. Those that love beaches could do worse than find a place in Takaka or even Collingwood.
-Tata (stunning piece of driftwood at the end that kids play on. The nude sunbather a little further along was nervous about me and my camera. )
-Ligur (a bit of a disappointment.)
-Moteuka beach (inland side of the spit, mostly a bike path walk.)
-Kina beach (coarse gravel, Linda didn't walk, very little driftwood.)
Fly Nelson to Auckland.
West coast near Auckland
-Whatipu, (Long and really wide, lovely walk, a bit of driftwood but really spread out.)
-Cornwallis, (OK walk, but nothing special. A bit of driftwood, some interesting tree roots on display.)
-Hahei, (Lovely sand, no driftwood to speak of, very popular beach.)
-Cook's Bay, (Long and nice walk, not much driftwood.) The long one is actually Cook's beach.
-Hot Water (nice to walk, next most populated to the Dunedin beaches, one nice chunk.)
West coast again, these are amazing.
-Piha (fabulous walk, some nice driftwood. Lots of surfers.)
-Karekare (merges into Whatipu, but I don't think we got that far. Both together are about 9 or 10 Km long. Some spectacular driftwood and stand dunes combinations.)
-Muriwai (just awesome to walk, and walk and walk and walk. It's 60 Km long. There is an amazing treasure trove of driftwood. Oh, and surfing.) This is from the south end near the gannet colony.
You might think you could visit the west coast beaches 1, 2, 3, 4, but you would be very wrong. The roads to each spread out like fingers, and you essentially have to drive back to the outskirts of Auckland to get from one to the other. Well, Piha and Karekare are close together, but you can't take a tall camper down the road to Karekare.
Which would I visit again? The west coast beaches had it all. If I had a daring model, Aramoana. Golden bay was right up there as well.
Looks like 44 beach visits, counting separate visits to different parts of the same beach separately. Bookmark and come back when winter is getting you down.
Scroll back up to Tata or Waipapa for the Driftwood of the Day. You know you want to.