Monday, February 14, 2011

Piha Gorge-ous

After a night out exploring the cultural delights of Auckland, Coop and I heroically got up early and went with the friendly and intrepid Auckland Hiking group I found through The group headed to the Waitakere Ranges, a large area of native bush just a 45 minute drive west of Auckland.

This was not an ordinary hike. Here's what the "trail" looked like:

A stream hike. Incredible! Usually when I come to a stream, I try to figure out how to avoid getting wet. But on this hike, that was out the window from the beginning. Here I am, in the middle, being ungainly, and Coop getting ready to watch me fall in:

Pretty quickly I decided that I didn't mind going under. In fact, at some points it was necessary to swim short distances

After a long and exhausting but incredible swim-hike, we took a break and went to nearby Piha beach. This beach is fantastic because it is so long and wide open, but surrounded by cliffs. The main beach spreads out around Lion Rock, that large one in the middle.

and to south, a lagoon has been carved out

but it's still connected in places, like this sea tunnel

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