Heading north from the ever-so popular Cathedral Cove, we found ourselves on the Otama Peninsula at the deserted Otama Beach just in time to see the sun sinking into the sea. As the light faded and the stars popped out, we decided to test our luck at a farm park campground that was “closed” for the season. Like many of the Kiwis we encountered throughout our journey, the owners of the Otama Beach Farm Park were more than accommodating, pointing us toward an open field equipped with a lonely drop toilet and only charging us half-price! We spent the cool evening outside the van enjoying the sights and sounds; crashing waves, twinkling stars, and the warm glow from our Kiwi-neighbor’s farmhouse windows.
In the morning we awoke with a full-on WOLO-spirit and decided to venture off the beaten path to the end-of-the-road. At the dead-end we parked Blue Rhino (our trusty campervan) and followed a grassy path alongside some gorgeous (yet empty for the season) beach houses until we arrived at the white sand beach below. Aside from two Oystercatchers, we were the only souls on one of the most beautiful patches of seacoast on the entire island, if not in the entire world (Top 5 NZ Beach List, no doubt)! With a find like this we had to stay – there was white sand for our toes, irresistible blue-green waters for skinny-dipping, a warm breeze to dry us off, and some friendly Kiwis just down the road that would surely (we hoped) let us camp on their property for one more night – so there we sat and relaxed.
The following day we immediately journeyed back to our secret, secluded spot at the far-eastern end of Otama Beach! We soaked in the sun, the peace and quiet, the vastness of the world, and the curious behaviors of the same pair of Oystercatchers from the previous day before we packed up the beach chairs and headed for Waikawau (why-ka-wow) Bay – our next camping location. It was hard to leave Otama, but we staked out our dream beach house (for when we hit the lottery) and agreed we’d definitely return in the future – hopefully, to see our Oystercatcher friends!
We arrived at Waikawau Bay around dusk and took an exploratory post-dinner walk along its long (3 kilometer/1.8 mile), sandy surf beach before retiring to the van for the night. Rather than play in the choppy, cool lagoon, the majority of the following day was spent hiking through the bush on the Matamataharakeke Trail (say that three times fast!). It was a relatively long (80-minute) and slippery up-hill hike but arriving at the top was well-worth it; from Kokumata Point we enjoyed sweeping views of Waikawau below, Colville to the west, and our next destination over the hills to the north!
Back at the campground we reluctantly opted to shower (there’s nothing quite like standing under frigid ice water in a plywood shack in the middle of autumn to make you appreciate hot showers for the rest of your life). Then, we packed up and made the last bit of our trek north to the Moehau Community to partake in an adventure within our already existing adventure!
Next stop: Moehau
Song lyrics: The Postal Service “Such Great Heights”
– Go. Change your state of mind.