|The road from Piha is delightful twisty with good views, we are passing through the town of Woodhill when we spot a sign for monkey business with a name like that we cannot just drive by. A short detour down the gravel track and we find ourselves in the woods surrounded by lots of rope!!! For those of you who have no idea we are talking about we are about to take leave of our senses and climb up rope ladders to small platforms suspended in the tree tops then tightrope, monkey swing and generally traverse a course from tree top to treetop until we get to flying fox, (zip line, death slide) our way down. On climbing my first platform 20ft up my knees are knocking and I wonder what I’m doing here but after this initial shock has worn off we both thoroughly enjoy it. Some are more tricky than others and after 4 courses and 3 hours with aching arms and big grins we walk away.
Back on highway 16 we stop in Orewa to buy a facemask and snorkel then set a course for Tawharanui regional park which the lady in the tourist office recommended. It is sited on a penisular with a high predator proof fence that literally cuts it off from the rest of the mainland. The goal is to eradicate rats, possom, rabbits and other such vermin from the park so indiginous species can survive. One side of the coast is also a marine conservation area with a total fishing ban. We arrive at 5.30pm it is an idylic spot, we are not alone however but with five fields we all have space to lose each other and its only 100metres to a huge long sandy beach. After dinner we walk to the top of an adjacent hill and out along the beach before retiring for the night.
It is unhelpfully spitting with rain in the morning so we decide to do the ecology trail which initially passes along the coast.
We clamber out over the rocks and get some great pictures then Kev jumps in for a snorkel back round the bay whilst I carry his shoes and clothes back over the rocks as the tide is coming in.
He emerges from the sea with a seagull divebombing him and is all excited I have to encourage him in away from the seagull who is protecting her nest. The reason he is so excited he saw a huge manta ray up really close, it was going back out to sea and ‘flew’ right past him. Although I am jealous I know there is no point jumping in as it is long gone. Excitement over we continue our walk which includes coast, bush, and open fields and a taste of the ecology of each. In the afternoon we chill by the tent, reading, blogging, sunbathing and eating. Later that night we take a sunset walk through the bush to the other side of the peninsular to catch the last rays of sun and take some pictures. Now almost dark we have to negotiate a small track back throuh the bush with the sounds of all sorts of unfamilliar and exotic sounding birds and animals around us our reward is a beer before bed.
Tomorrow we set a course for Paihia and our contact Gavin in the bay of islands. So called because it’s a bay and its got lots of islands in it (we are getting the hang of this).