Day 6 Coramandel – we left our first freedom camp stop ‘Rays Rest’ in thick fog we thought was left behind in Dorset! Heading for Whangapoua and our next freedom camp on the beach we drove through Thames – so well kept as to eerily remind us of the stepford wives. Each house with neat manicured front lawns and freshly painted picket fences.
We drove on hugging the coast road, often narrow, mainly winding and as we have come to expect up and down hill. Our destination reached we were lucky to park in one of only two bays set aside for self-contained motorhomes.
We were yards from spectacular Whangapoura beach where we chilled for a short while before a chat with a ‘local’ revealed ‘the best beach in the world is just around the corner’ he then pointed to a v-shaped gap up through the rocky headland at the far end of our beach as the route to take but only at low tide. With waves crashing against a mass of black rocks for now it looked nothing short of treacherous madness!
However, early evening was a different story, with the tide low and calm we set out to re-enact what we hoped would be a Leonardo di Caprio moment from 2000 film ‘The Beach’!
Viewed from our starting point it was obvious this would be tough, the low tide revealed massive rock piles even from this distance they were big, imposing and no doubt slippery. I could feel my hip groan with the anticipation!
Treking to the end of the beach now revealed a raging river to cross. Walking shoes and socks around our necks we took the plunge and waded through successfully negotiating our first test.
The rocks our second and by far the worst test loomed ahead! We scrabbled and scrambled – the long-suffering leading the way and ever attentive – over rocks and boulders of all shapes and sizes made even more difficult by their slipperiness from the tidal wash of the sea. The going was slow with our foot placement constantly adjusting to the undulating terrain. Eventually half an hour later we came to the end – of the rocks at least!
Looking up, in front of us through the v of the land was test three JUNGLE! Undeterred, with our goal ‘the best beach in the world’ hopefully to come soon we entered the forest.
We followed the feint track up and down to the sound of crashing waves on distant shores, using the exposed tree roots to stop our feet sliding away from us. After ten minutes little flashes of azure blue could be seen through the thick canopy and foliage on our right. The tension was now building, we pressed on, the end, nearer now, intense excitement, and then…….
Suddenly, we were out of the forest, into brilliant sunlight and spread out before us a wonderous sight. A perfect arc of soft white sand curving off into the distance. Waves crashing in from beautiful turquoise sea.
We stood our mouths gaping in unison at the scene before us, how long I do not know transfixed as we were, ten, fifteen, probably only minutes, time seemed to stand still with the unspoilt beauty before us……
It really was ‘The best beach in the world!’
Photos by Richard Mower