Thursday 5 April 2012

Day 370: Eastern East Cape

It is definitely the end of the tourist season in New Zealand.  Yesterday's newspaper had the headline 'Where have all the crowds gone?'  I feel a bit like a swallow that's decided it can't be bothered with flying south (or north) for the winter and has decided to stay on.  At the moment I'm basking in the peace and quiet and it's every bit as pleasant as it was last week.  The rain cleared up to leave patches of pale blue sky, the trees are dripping and a few are showing signs of autumnal colour which is a surprise for New Zealand.  The local white backed magpies are out in force.  After I finished a few hours of work, I set off to explore the parts of East Cape immediately above Gisborne as far as Anaura Bay.

Look! No rain!
 Actually, Anaura Bay was a bit forbidding in its beauty.  It contained a few houses and a shut down motor camp covered in signs informing members of the public that Anaura Bay has no public facilities but they will be prosecuted if they use those of the camp.  I hardly dared park outside its gate, even though there was nowhere else to park.  Fortunately, I didn't have to stay long because the only access to the beach arrived in a small section of sand fenced in by a couple of deepish rivers heading for the ocean.  I snapped a few photos and left.

Rain in the distance and sun on the surf.
 I fared rather better at Tolaga Bay.  It has a smart car park, public facilities and a team of people planting trees to make it even better next year.  I walked out along the 'very long historic (and crumbling) wharf', noting that it would be a bad idea to lean on such parts of the barrier as remained to take photos.  I eyed the heavy swells and breakers nervously.  They were brownish-yellow with mud and sand and I felt sure that if I ended up in them, I would be abraded to death before I drowned.

Wharf, and water you wouldn't want to surf in.

Next, I walked up the road to take a look at Cook's Cove walkway.  I wasn't at all sure I wanted to climb a muddy hill today, but you know what it's like.  Once you start, it's hard to stop.  I told myself there might be good views at the top, so up I went and over a stile.  A hundred metres further on, I discovered that someone had put a bull in this field.  Just the other night, I had a dream in which a bull charged me and I just stood there thinking 'na, he'll swerve at the last minute'.  Which of course he didn't.  I remembered the dream and felt apprehensive, but true to form, I thought 'na, why would he?'  I kept on walking along the edge of the field but the next time I glanced at him, he was pawing the ground and glaring at me in a way that would be familiar to anyone who has much experience with bulls.  I decided to let discretion be the better part of valour, hopped over the wire fence and scrambled back along it to the stile.  I would just make do with the view from here.  I must say that though the countryside here is as beautiful as usual, it has a stripped bare look as though this was not the sort of land that could afford to lose its trees.  I expect that may account for the muddiness of the rivers and even the ocean.

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