Despite the forecast of zero to nothing a core group of 3 c3s and a duo headed off to support Colin Palmer and a chap called Brian from Tasy who’d flown across to check out buying Colin’s c2. We were all optimistic of a seabreeze wafting in, at some point, so took up John’s suggestion of heading up to the top of the beach for a change.
John advised us to access the beach via Wilson’s Rd, about 2/3rds up – described by John as ” Wilsons road off South Head road is an easy 4wd “with trailer” access point but 2wds would possibly bottom out on the sand dune section (no worse that the stream access though”.
I was late and missed the rendezvous at the carpark at the beginning of the forestry rd leading to the beach. After negotiating the steep washed out clay track, thanking the rain for having stayed away for a few days, it was down to the sandy one lane access track which wound its way through the very scenic bush, alongside Lake Kereta, for what seemed like forever (5-8 mins??) praying no one would come the other way, particularly with a trailer too as passing bays were few and far between. Eventually the track opened up a bit to a downward slope leading to the steeper upward sand dune of the beach. 3 attempts in my wife’s Subaru 2.5 Outback failed to get me quite to the top. So with smoke pouring from the clutch I sauntered over to a couple of youngish lads with an old Hilux who obliged me with a tow over the top but expressed concern on how I’d get back up the even steeper seaward side of the dune. No worries, I’ve got mates on the beach that will see me right I exclaimed whilst secretly thinking it highly unlikely it was going to be possible. Of more dreading concern now was the fact that the 1/4 tank of gas I left home with, believing it to be enough, was virtually gone and getting back to the nearest gas station in Helensville wasn’t going to be too likely even if I could get off the beach.
Once on the beach there was no sign of anyone else, calls to John failed but eventually got through to him texting to find he and Phil were at the top of the beach – “just keep driving for 15 mins”. Yeah right! “If you run out of gas we’ll tow you back”. And up that dune I thought, yeah right!! I then had a brain wave.
Dick’s wife Diane was having her birthday and being treated to a drive up the beach from the south end. Hoping they still had to pass a gas station I gave them a call. Unfortunately they were already driving onto the beach but fortunately the Landrover was petrol and had a spare 10L can in the back. Whew! Thank goodness that things usually have a way of working themselves out.
The drive up to the top now became quite enjoyable. I rigged up with John, Phil and his boys and we waited for the wind and Colin, Brian and Bevely to arrive.
It was a very pleasant warm sunny day T shirt and shorts type of mid winter day and all we needed to make it perfect was another knot or two of wind to add to the 3 to 4 that sometimes wafted in off the waves. Dick and Di turned up with the jerry can and Colin and I decided that we could ill afford the “adventure” of trying to get back off the beach the way we entered and agreed to drive right down to the south end and get off “the normal way”. Just as well anyway as on the way back I tried and failed to see the Wilson Rd exit. There were lots of alcoves in the dunes with tyre tracks but none that looked like the one I came in on.
The top of the beach, at South Head, is pretty amazing with a wide expanse of beach, to potentially sail on. It was my first excursion up there and well worth the effort. Thoroughly recommendable to do, at least once anyway.
However I may not be quite ready to repeat the performance too soon as it took a good 3 hours, once I got home to convert the off roader back into my wife’s “round town car”. I couldn’t believe how much sand I brought home and being mixed with green algae, which you get this time of the year it sticks like the proverbial. Alot of waterblasting and soaping still hasn’t completely removed the evidence.
I felt sorry for Brian the Tasy for picking such a windless weekend to fly over.
Oh yes and exiting the “normal way” at the stream, wasn’t without its hurdle. Without rain the dry sand was well churned up and it was as much as I could do to get out without my trailer. Thanks Colin for retrieving it for me! I may have to look at getting a proper 4WD diesel with more grunt for the future!
Kariotahi, despite the extra distance for me to drive to is starting to become more and more appealing and my RWD Hiace seems quite happy going there too and if you do get a bit sandy then the stream to drive through for a wash is right by the road.
Not sure how to post photos on the website yet so shall email some to those I have emails for. Anyone else reading this that would like to be on the list, please let me know at: firstname.lastname@example.org