New Zealand 2013/​14 — Muriwai Beach

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The scen­ic views greet­ing you every­where you turn go a long way to mak­ing up for New Zealand’s extremely high humid­ity. And Muriwai Beach, which is on the west coast of Auckland, did not disappoint.

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We stayed on the east coast, but man­aged to drive there in 40 minutes. I think that shows you just how small New Zealand is!

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Unlike any oth­er beach we vis­ited in New Zealand, the sand at Muriwai is silty and black.

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The water was par­tic­u­larly rough and the tide was quite high when we visited…

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…so we didn’t spend that long on the beach.

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The wet sand reflects the blue sky beautifully.

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The sea is a beau­ti­ful aquamarine.

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Away from the beach, there’s a walk­ing trail that brings you closer to the gan­net colony at Muriwai.

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The birds don’t come with­in touch­ing dis­tance and don’t inter­act with humans at all.

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The birds just sit on the rocks or fly out to sea.

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Perhaps it’s the right sea­son, or they’re here all the time?

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This one here is enjoy­ing the green­ery away from the rocks.

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They seem to like con­greg­at­ing atop this rock formation.

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The closer you get to the edge of the walk­ing trail the more the ocean smells like bird. But it’s not the worse smell in the world — cows, sheep, chick­ens and horses def­in­itely smell worse. Then again, I’ve spent a size­able chunk of my life around such smells (6 years at a high school with a farm, and 6 years at a uni­ver­sity next to a race­course), so I’m pretty immune.

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I won­der what’s so spe­cial about the location?
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Some birds seem to be guard­ing their chicks.

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And the rock face seems covered in bird excrement.

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Further along, there’s anoth­er beach. The gan­net colony seems to occupy on the area between the two beaches.

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A crowd gath­ers around a blow hole, although it wasn’t par­tic­u­larly act­ive dur­ing our visit.

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On the way back, the tide’s receded somewhat.

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The water’s still rough, but we make our way down for a quick walk.

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There’s a walk­ing trail, or you can care­fully make your way down the rocky embankment.

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Such beau­ti­ful scenery!

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There’s some arrange­ment of sticks and stones…

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And a bird that we’ll encounter again at TiriTiri Island.

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There are some succulents.…

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…and some wildflowers.