On some trips, there’s one big thing I do that takes up most of the time. Goat Island, on the other hand, was really a bunch of small stuff. For the sake of not taking five posts to cover one day, I’ve crammed the rest of it into this post.
As Bob Ross liked to say, there are no mistakes. There are only happy accidents. The first happy accident of the day was that all the places I had put on my list to go to eat were closed for the Winter (even though it wasn’t even Winter by that point, it was very early Spring). I ended up driving to Matakana to get some food. Which was fantastic, since I got to see possibly the most ridiculously ornate public bathrooms of all time:
I’m not sure why this random town in the wopwops has these totally cray public toilets, but I’m digging it.
There was a quite pleasant little picnic area which I took advantage of. Quite the variety of ducks joined me for lunch, undoubtedly hoping for a morsel (there were also seagulls and sparrows, neither of which I’m posting photographs of because they’re boring. Sorry, seagulls and sparrows!)
This big guy (or girl; I didn’t ask) is a Pukeko. He clearly ruled the roost; when he ambled by, the ducks and seagulls departed with much squawking and quacking. He was far too proud to beg, but he did hang out nearby and keep the riff-raff away. Thanks, birdbro!
Once I had dealt with my hangry problem, I checked out the area. A section of rapids flowed into a large brown pond. As is my wont, I went exploring.
To the right, a small cascade. The the left, a damp but climbable bit of rock.
Of course, I climbed the thing. I took a whole bunch of photos documenting what a harrowing climb it was, but since I wound up having a much more harrowing climb later on, I have omitted those.
Once I had finished with Matakana, I was at a bit of a loss. The other trail I had wanted to try was (in typical New Zealand fashion) poorly marked and appeared to start in someone’s backyard, so I wasn’t sure where to go next. But in my wanderings, I found a graveyard with a fantastic view on the other side.
I saw no signs forbidding entry. I tried to be as respectful as possible.
When I die, I could think of worse places for my bones to lay.
Had little Molly survived to this day, she would be about my Grandmother’s age. The tiny teddy bear is so sad.
After taking a moment to contemplate mortality and say a prayer, I left the graveyard and noticed a trailhead to my left. Not being one to understand foreshadowing, I headed down.
It’s about at this point that I realized I was in a bad way. The trail, as you can see, is primarily mud. The flimsy fence, which I don’t think was much of a handrail in the best of times, has been effectively destroyed. Getting down was so dangerous that I dreaded going back up. I chose to continue going down, in the hope that I could find an alternate route back up the cliff.
At the bottom was a beautiful little cove, surrounded by rock.
To my right was a small beach, disappearing into the cliff face. I could see someone’s house, but I wasn’t sure I could scrabble my way up the side of the embankment.
To my left, a gorgeous view, but little in the way of rescue. And ahead of me, rocks jutted out into the bay. I chose to walk along the rocks to get a better vantage point.
I walked out until I came to this big rock formation. My original intent was to climb it, but it looked like that would be pretty challenging, and I knew I would need to save some strength to get back out of where I was.
I did take a photo of the sea, though.
A cool cave / crevice in the rock, but no exit.
Having exhausted other options, I felt like the best route would be back up the treacherous trail. I took one of the broken, rusty metal posts (good thing I’m up-to-date on my Tetanus shots…) and used my pliers to remove the brackets connecting it to the wire fencing. At each step, I stabbed it into the ground and used it as a handhold to pull myself up and keep from slipping.
I took a photo of the end of the metal stake afterward.
And thus ended my journey along the beautiful (but treacherous) coast near Goat Island. The shenanigans with the muddy path took long enough that I only had time to hike around the bluff a few hundred meters to get this shot before I had to turn back and head home.
Next time: more pictures of Auckland! Lovely, safe Auckland.