We have been following the road along the coast but one that’s a short distance inland so whilst we’ve managed to get many glimpses of the sea, we haven’t been too close to the edge of it yet.
It was hardly surprising therefore that when we rounded a corner near Patea and suddenly saw a beach just meters from the road that the kids were excitedly asking if we could stop in their best pleading “pleeeease, pleeeease, pleeeese” voices.
Once the van stopped they were quick to tumble out of the van and run down the bank onto the beach… where their shouts of joy turned to ones of astonishment as their bare soft Dutch city feet found the black sands far hotter than they could handle.
They solved this problem by immediately wading into the stream that was flowing into the sea and the shrieks continued as they discovered how cold the water was. Himself was left to hunt below the seats in the van for kid shoes and once these were found they were delighted to venture out of the water to investigate piles of driftwood and indeed the very sparkly sand all around them.
My photos didn’t really capture how black these sands were, and how it sparkled with the mineral content in it. This is proof that we are very very close to what was once a very active volcano as Mount Taranaki stands within erruption range (albeit millions of years ago). Mount Taranaki is/was also known as Mount Egmont, but like Mount Aorangi (Mount Cook) it’s been decided to revert back to their origonal Maori names.
Further down the beach in the wet sand a man on a motorbike is towing a plastic sled-like contraption in which a bigger kid is holding a littler kid and they are having brilliant time skidding along the sand as the tips of some of the waves connect with them periodically. As we watch the occupants of the sled change, clearly keeping the driver busy.
Our children decide to make a tiny collection of various “beaches” they have visited around the world so a kid-sized handful of sand goes into a small plastic bag and I will see if I can find a little shadow box at home to put it into. The embankment from the van to the the beach is too steep for me to negotiate on crutches so I content myself with photos taken from my vantage point at the van.