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Conner's Big Adventure 2017

NZ - North Island Part 2 - The Beaches

NEW ZEALAND | Saturday, 22 April 2017 | Views [563]

Our favorite beach! Matai Beach on the Karikari Peninsula

Our favorite beach! Matai Beach on the Karikari Peninsula

THE BEACHES

Tokerau beach is in the picturesque Doubtless Bay on the Karikari Peninsula, Northland, New Zealand. Gentle surf and gradually declining beaches made for a very safe play area for Conner. Even better, it took less than two minutes to walk from our front porch across the street and through the park to the beach. It was wonderful to be able to watch Conner get more and more comfortable with the water, going further and further out into the little waves every day. Then he got his first crab pinch and the world ended. Shrieking, running, crying, hysterics, the whole show. I would say he overreacted to the most unbelievable extreme, but that would mean that I also overreacted to the most unbelievable extreme and so did Gregg (minus the crying. And I would like to think of the noise I made as more of a yelp than a shriek). Seriously, there are few things more entertaining than watching a grown man (or woman, I admit it) try to do the high knee prance out of the surf with that look of sheer terror on their face, all because of a little crab pinch on the toe. Tears of laughter were streaming down my face. And although that very definitely ended Conner’s time at the beach that day, I am happy to report that we all eventually grew accustomed to the occasional crab pinches and seaweed caresses. Although we never caught any of these crabs, we did dig up a bunch of tua tuas (and by “we” I mean Gregg) and made delicious clam chowder! Very cool :-).

We took a day to make the drive up to Cape Reinga to see where the Pacific Ocean meets the Tasman Sea. That was a very cool thing, we could see a definite color line where deep blue met lighter blue/green. On the way back down from the cape we stopped at the sand dunes where people go sand boarding down steep dunes (yeah, not this person), another beautiful white sand beach called Rarawa Beach, and of course 90 mile beach which was very different from the other beaches we had been to. 90 mile beach was much rougher and had a pretty strong fish/seaweed smell, but then we didn’t drive the whole beach like most people do (remember, we have the most gutless car ever made that also happens to be falling apart) so my opinion was based on the one small section that we saw. It was cool (aka terrifying for mom) for Conner to get to play in the big waves though, so that was fun. He was tackling waves on his own that lifted Gregg off of the sandy bottom!

The other drive we took was to a small town called Kohukohu in search of a local artist my mom had come across years ago on her visit to NZ. This was another stunning drive. It was also long which meant that Conner got to have some Kindle time. It was also extremely curvy which meant two things. First, we really wished that we had a better car. Second, Conner got terribly car sick. Holy. Vomit. He’s been car sick before, but not like this. He was miserable and trying to sleep it off in the back seat, but about five minutes after we got back onto the flat straight section of the road I heard the telltale deep breaths indicating imminent expulsion. I asked if we needed to pull over and he said yes. About two seconds later the car was filled with barf. Conner rarely pukes, but when he does he always tries to hold it in with his hands. While I appreciate the effort, it definitely didn’t work this time. We got him out of the car and he puked some more on the side of the road. Car seat, clothes, hair, and the back of the driver’s seat were all covered in vomit. It was fun to clean up too with just a few handy wipes, a handkerchief, and a bottle of water. His clothes were beyond cleaning without a washer, so he ran around in his undies all the rest of the day. Luckily, we are in New Zealand where this is perfectly acceptable :-). The upside of this little adventure is that Conner now believes me when I tell him he will get sick if he plays his kindle for the entire car ride. Small victories right?

Enough about barf though, let me tell you about our absolute favorite beach. It had no smell, no seaweed, and we only got two crab pinches in three visits, hooray! And it was only a ten minute drive from our bach. If I were to attempt to describe the perfect beach, Matai Beach would be it. Beautifully warm water. Soft white sand, but the shape of the bay is such that it is protected from the wind so you don’t get sandblasted. Clear blue water that you can see through to the soft, clean, sandy bottom. Waves big enough to play in in the center of the cove where Conner took to the boogie board like a frog to a lily pad, and baby smooth waters at the edges. Rocky pools for snorkeling at both ends. A short walk to the water from the small parking lot, and showers to get de-salted when you are done playing. We could have spent every day here and been happy J.

Tags: 90 mile beach, cape reinga, matai beach, tokerau beach

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