I hesitate to say so many good things about New Zealand because I’m afraid it could mean that many more people would come here and change this beautiful place.
But it really is beaufitul (sic).
As part of the same day we went to Cornwallis, we drove to Piha and Bethells Beach.
Both Bethells Beach and Piha are less than 1 hour from downtown Auckland, driving through the waitakere ranges (foothills of sorts), folding themselves nicely into the ocean like large animals drinking up water at the shore.
If you drive to Piha, make sure to take one of the side roads out on one of the ranges so you can look down into Piha from above.
When we had stopped and looked down into Piha from one of the ranges, taking pictures over the rooftops of houses with amazing views, Carrie asked “Why don’t we live here already?”
And the only thought I could come up with is because our families aren’t here. I said so, and Carrie agreed.
That’s pretty much the only reason we don’t live here already.
Piha is one of the most beautiful places I have ever been. The waves crash hard against the green hills, covered in palm fronds and thick vegetation.
The vegetation reminded me of the lush jungle in Costa Rica, sans stifling heat and massive bugs. And there are well-maintained trails which leave the natural beauty intact while making it easy to go for a walk or a hike.
Once we got into Piha, we walked along the beach, which, with the giant green hills coming out of it, looks exactly like a tropical paradise in any movie about a tropical paradise (minus the people wearing heavy coats while walking on the beach).
It’s winter time here, so the only restaurant on the beach, a fish and chips (fried fish and French fries) shop, is only open Fridays –Sundays in the afternoons/evenings.
(This one’s upside down ‘cuz, y’know… we’re on the upside down side of the world.)
Having had just a granola bar, we were quite hungry, so we stopped by the grocery store… more of a general/convenience store, at about 4:55. The people at the store seemed a bit anxious, and told us that it was because they were closing in 5 minutes, so we got a bag of chips.
Piha is beautiful. But if you go in the winter, take a picnic.
From Piha, we drove to Bethells Beach. Actually, we drove right past the turn off for Bethells Beach, turning right when we should have gone straight.
This meant we went about 30 minutes out of the way and eventually stopped to ask a guy for directions, who got us pointed in the right direction.
It meant we missed seeing the sunset on Bethells Beach (which had been our plan), but we did get to Bethells Beach in time to take some twilight pictures.
This is a very popular beach for Aucklanders on the weekend in the summer, but at that time of night and in the crisp chilly air of winter, we had the beach all to ourselves. This was nice for about five minutes, until we got too cold and it got too dark to see anything.
Bethells Beach warrants a return for a sunny daytime experience at the beach.
Once again, we really want to thank Keith and Carol for the use of their car for the day.
Between our Maui campervan rental return, and this full day of driving, I’ve now done more driving on the “other” side of the road in the last 10 months than on the side of the road I learned to drive on.