Day 10 late morning – stop off for drinks and stretch of the legs at the The Chook And Filly cafe/bar Maraekakaho. With a warm welcome from Australian owner Mark we felt at home even before we lounged on the outside squashy sofa with my frothy Hot chocolate complete with marshmallows – quite simply the best. The food coming out looked so good decided to detour from long-sufferings itinerary and stay for lunch. Even he had to admit ‘good decision’, I was smug as we tucked into juicy doorstep burgers and chips. Thank you Mark and Karen – chef.
Back on the open road, well almost open but for the flock of sheep being herded our way!
Castlepoint late afternoon – Again after a long drive the long-suffering has come up trumps for our next freedom camping site, he really is Location, Location! Strategically parked by me we had views to the bay out front and to the side the working lighthouse standing tall at the headlands end.
Outside away from the shelter of our van it was blowing a gale and chilly with fast moving clouds intermittently masking the suns rays as we strode out across the beach at once pausing to take in the beauty around us from the ruggedness to our right, the imposing ‘Castle Rock’ moody, brooding over the seas and town and the stark white of the lighthouse to our left where we were now headed.
The steep climb up more wooden steps, boardwalk and viewing platforms took us right out to the end of the headland and its dominant Lighthouse enjoying breathtaking 360° panoramic views. Built in 1913 and originally powered by fuel, it now stands alone fully automated since 1965 when the last of its keepers reluctantly left so coveted was its location.
Our return walk took us down yet more steps onto the relatively flat rocks below, the strong winds keeping us away from the sheer drop and menacing sea at its depths as it smashed against the rocks, spray rising up, not quite reaching us with its salty breath.
Before long the terrain became too treacherous – his height fear and my new hip – I am living life well enough without sending myself back to the operating room again – we happily returned over the fence and back to the safety of the boardwalk.
and cosy Aramoana zzzzzzz