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Discovering the West Coast

This was my first post, published the 3rd of January 2011, when the first version of our website went live.
I am particularly fond to it, therefore I thought to offer again its reading…

For a long time we heard about the legendary black sand beaches of the Auckland’s west coast, the one with the real ocean feeling (the Tasmanian Sea), with the waves popular by surfers and the currents hated by the swimmers.

Finally, during our Christmas holidays, my company gave me a rental car and we decided to start a series of “crazy adventures”:

  1. Pick up the car.
  2. Nothing difficult? Start thinking that they showed it parked in the “wrong” direction, its driver seat is on the “wrong” side, and when on board you have the turn signals lever where usually you find the windshield wipers one and vice versa… in the first period I had the cleanest windshield of the whole New Zealand!
  3. Go shopping.
  4. Even more trivial? The “on the contrary” driving rules become even more fascinating when applied in confined spaces such a supermarket parking. The only advantage here in NZ is that when the supermarkets are crowd, it seems to be on a Wednesday morning in Italy.
  5. Be guided by the navigator.
  1. In Italian it cripples all the names of the streets, the decided to set in English.
  2. Finding out that American English gives you indication in miles and yards. More, it uses different terms from British (or Kiwi) English.
  3. Finally set another navigation software, which fortunately has even the “New Zealander”!

Becoming familiar with a Manuel Fangio driving style (not the one of his era, I’m talking about Manual Fangio today, alas, deceased), we decide to face the great adventure… we plan a visit to the other coast.

Destination is a little more than 50km, REMAINING IN THE AUCKLAND’S DISTRICT. Google maps shows a travel time of an hour or so (and this is ok), but it is a bit unclear about the last part…

We’ll see. We’ll always have time to stop where we want, the last kilometers seem to be all coastal road.

Time to go… 50km/h… 100km/h on the (free) highway… NEVER to overcome the speed limits here…

We begin to see the first signals and we’re in a curvy road, through a real forest.
Are we off from civilization?
Not at all.
Every few meters a mailbox, or a small fence, or a lawn (sorry, not the famous English, but the New Zealand one, much greener and more dense), remind us that after all we’re still in town.
The houses are almost invisible, hidden by vegetation.

We get to Huia and welcomes us a beautiful bay,completely enclosed by hills and at low tide.
We have already learned about the low tide of Auckland. While this phenomenon may come to expose over a hundred meters of sand.
We also note the disturbing signs advising to go (in a hurry) up on the hills in case of Tsunami (!).

After Huia Bay, the road begins to climb again and gets narrower...

and then the asphalt ends…
and the forest thickens…
and you expect a T-Rex is coming…

Instead of this, after 8 km of metal road...

PARKING, CAMPING, and PUBLIC TOILETS
All, of course, very well-kept.

We park the car, cross a (very) long trail of black sand and…
THE SEA, AT LAST!

The only, usual, problem for which Auckland is famous as the worst of New Zealand), is the crowding:
We found at least 40 people in a wide bay and at least 10 in, I don’t know how many, kilometers of coast

On the other hand… it was a PUBLIC HOLIDAY!