At the head of Hokianga Harbour

Yesterday morning I woke up to A. exclaiming, “It’s a miracle!”
I sat up sleepily. “What’s a miracle, love?” (Had B. let him play Plants vs Aliens this early in the day? Blondies for breakfast?)

“There’s no fog this morning!”
I looked out through the high window and clearly saw tree branches–an unusual thing for early morning here. A. was excited because we had planned an early start for our day trip.

After a false start, we ensured that everyone had:
1. water 2. picnic lunch 3. journals 4. cameras/phones 5. coats

We drove west from Rawene along highway 12, through Opononi and Omapere right at the mouth of the harbor. (No “u” if it’s the geographical feature–I’m sticking with my silly American spelling if I’m not referring to the proper name. I do wonder, however, if A. will exit his 3rd and 4th years of school here having indelibly acquired the British spellings.)

Right here is where the Maori legend says the great Polynesian navigator Kupe sailed his waka. His wife, Hine te Aparangi, was aboard, and she was the one who spotted the long land lying beneath bright cloud cover.

The sand dunes on the north side are impressive. We’ve watched youtube videos of people boogie boarding down the sand right into the ocean when the tide is right. There is a water taxi from the south side of the harbor over to the bigger sand dunes on the north, but it’s based on weather conditions and passenger demand, so that will have to wait until summertime.

This is looking out to the Tasman Sea, an arm of the South Pacific. There’s little between here and Australia but the great wide blue.

The sand at the head is packed firm, with rock-like qualities that remind me of Petra, Jordan.

This is looking back toward the harbor and the towns of Opononi and Omapere.

The mixing of the sand from the ocean floor with a newer lava flow is really pretty.

We brought our boogie boards just in case… but they don’t work well as skim boards, and we couldn’t actually take them into the water and get all wet because we had a lot more left to see and do!

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