As a walk, this scarcely rates a mention, apart from featuring the only Parsonsia I have seen outside of Woodhill Forest. (Seen a few more now.) It's about 5 minutes long, through pleasant bush beside a tidal stream, but it provides access to the very tidal Kakamatua Inlet and beach and that is a whole different matter. We've included the beach along with the track for this report. It's probably worth consulting a tide table here depending on whether you want open sandy beach or shallow wading for your marine experience.
This is just a taste as we'll be going back for a longer walk and explore along the beach. (There are also a couple of tracks accessing this beach from the Cornwallis Rd.)
From Titirangi, take the Huia Rd for a little over 10km. When you pass the Cornwallis turnoff, you come to a long straight downhill stretch followed by a long straight uphill stretch. Kakamatua is clearly signposted at the bottom of the downhill section, on your left.
For all it says 10 minutes return, I manage to make a single trip on the track itself spin out to 15 minutes. For one, I am looking at what is growing here, and for two, I have bare feet on a gravel path.
For any talk of mistaking shadows for the substance, sometimes the shadows have their own beauty, all the more welcome after the heat of the Pipeline Road which we have just finished walking.
This is a juvenile Parsonsia or kaihua. By the time it is an adult, it's leaves will be smoothly elliptical or ovate. I spent almost my entire life never seeing (or never recognising) this vine until its pervasive presence in the Woodhill Forest forced me to find a name for it, This is still the only example of it I have seen outside of Woodhill.
After a minute or two, the path joins the creek and runs beside it.
Just beside the path is a small Carmichaelia, in bud and about to flower.
Botanical taxonomists tend to be split into two camps: splitters who keep defining new species on the basis of smaller and smaller differences; and clumpers, who maintain that, by and large most claimed variations can be accounted for by habitat. In a recent triumph for clumpers, 25 species of Carmichaelia have recently been revised into a single species.
Just 15 minutes after setting my bare feet on the gravel, I'm through the bush and onto the inlet foreshore.
Alice decides it's time for a swim
not too much of a swim, just enough to cool off.
She chooses one of the muddiest exits available. Not to worry. There's lots of water out there.
Miranda is checking out the visual posibilities of long grass and a wide-angle lens.
The path by the creek eventually deposits us on a sandy foreshore.
Alice is enchanted. In fact, any dog not crippled by arthritis would be the same.
By now, most of the mud has been washed off.
It's a dog's life.
Unfortunately, this is as far as we get today, as we need to be home for guests. We are about 90 minutes from here, but definitely, we will be back.
On the trip back to the van, a kowhai catches the late afternoon sun. I am a sucker for this particular combo of light and leaf colour.
Alice decides there is time for one more swim before we head back, and chooses the same super-muddy exit she chose to start with. We do our best with a towel before we head back but the next day, the van is full of fine sandy dust, coating everything. Ah, well.
By the way, if you need any more evidence that this is a magic place....
photo by miranda woodward