Sunday, March 16, 2014

West Coast Drive

This is the post about Saturday that I thought had already been published. Thank goodness it showed up here somehow!

The major attractions in the area we are staying are several cave tours, a waterfall, and similar wonders. However, all of them require more walking than either of us is up to right now. So we decided to take a drive to the west coast, about 50 kilometers from our motel. Our goal was the village where the Marakopa River meets the sea. It is evidently a favorite beach for fishing and surfing, although the currents are extremely strong. It is also known for its black sand volcanic beach. The sand was very fine and gritty so we didn't walk around on it.

The scenery began with farm land

At one point the view opened up across the hills to a valley

We saw many beehives like this in fields

Many one-lane bridges, clearly marked for right-of-way

Hills showing areas of trees and bare grassland

Another gorgeous view along the way

Marakopa River meets the sea

South from Marakopa we had unpaved road part of the way

We headed south through the hills to Awakino, near where our small road meets a highway. We were looking forward to lunch, as our map showed food availability here. We went into Sparky's, the only restaurant, called out, rang the bell, and left when no one showed up. I guess this isn't the season for tourists in this area. Once we got on the main road north, we found a takeaway food cafe and had lunch, but it wasn't memorable, or photogenic!

It threatened to rain off and on all day, but we didn't really hit anything heavy. Very fortunate. Tomorrow we head to Rotorua.

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