Today we thought we’d bring you along with us on one of our favourite jaunts. For me, it’s green therapy. I’m not so good at meditating (ha ha, I just accidentally typed ‘mediatating’…is that like sitting cross legged with all your attention on your smartphone?!) Getting out into the fresh air doing something active is my favourite way to relax, and it’s the method that works best for me when I need to try and lift myself out of a funk, if I’ve had a stressful day, or if my patience with the child is about to spectacularly snap. There’s a lot of talk about mindfulness these days. We Mamas need to schedule in time for ourselves. I felt so much better after getting out there this morning – come along with us and enjoy the scenery!
The walk to the Tutukaka Lighthouse is just over 2km, and takes about an hour with children – sometimes, like today, we linger a little around the rockpools and allow an hour and a half.
The light is on an island which is cut off at high tide, so it’s best to go an hour either side of low tide.
Even the access road is an enjoyable part of the trip – it’s a beautiful winding country lane that passes under bowers of ancient pohutukawa, and provides peeps of the harbour down to the right as you meander along the ridge.
After bumping along the final rutted, pot-holed driveway, we parked in the Tutukaka Reserve carpark and started out along the grassy headland track. At this stage it was still, calm, and quiet, and we could hear the steady wash of the sea all around us as we moved along the peninsula. This part of the track is particularly good for little ones to let rip, as they can run their legs off and you don’t need to worry about them falling off a cliff, or tripping over rocks! Today, as usual, we had ‘races’ to make the most of it – ah, the freedom!
At the end of the headland there’s a truly spectacular view, and a strategically placed bench seat is a great place for a snack. Then it’s onto the descent! Down, down, down the steps to the rocky coast below, through towering stands of flowering flax, complete with swooping Tuis.
At the bottom of the steps we cross the pebbly wet shale of the causeway. There are glimpses of the sea to the south through chasms in the cliffs and clumps of rock, with little patches of sandy beach in between. To the north is a broad, sweeping bay that is often sheltered and offers superb snorkelling.
It’s a hop, skip, and jump across the rockpools to the beginning of the island track on the other side – the small one is fascinated with the idea of ‘ascending’ and ‘descending’ at the moment and takes any opportunity to pipe up about our change in altitude. “We’re going to ASCEND now, Mummy!” he bellows and charges on up the track, little bare feet slapping against the hard-packed clay.
Kukutauwhao Island may be a mouthful, but it is seriously beautiful. As we wend our way up through the bush, it makes me think of the people who have lived here in the past. It feels like a spiritual place, but not in a spooky kind of way. A happy place. Cheeky little Piwakawaka flit along with us through the coastal low forest and it’s not too long before we’re on the final climb to the summit. As we emerge from the bush and out onto the peak, the wind whips up and fills our lungs with her laughter.
Words defy me, really, so here you go:
We really do live in paradise.
Do you have a local walk close to your heart? Where is it? Please share in the comments below!
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