Muriwai Beach

I love it when people give me suggestions on where to go on my weekly excursions. By this point I’ve seen a lot of the “obvious” stuff, so I’m sort of the exploring version of that friend who’s hard to shop for, but there’s still plenty of cool little places I find out about just thanks to tips from friends. And I’ve had lots of people tell me I need to visit Muriwai. I kept putting it off and putting it off…and then over the course of a week I wound up going there twice. Funny how life is like that.

This post will cover both of those trips. The second trip was with a group of people from church, but we ended up seeing many of the same things I saw on my previous trip.

Muriwai has a few trails, though some of them require you to walk along the road at a few points and others (in New Zealand fashion) take you through peoples’ backyards. This trail map is among the more useful of the ones I’ve found here, though the Lookout Track still requires a bit of guesswork at one point where it joins the road.

I walked along the Lookout Track to the Quarry Track, then took that to the road. I then walked down the road to the Gannet Refuge Walk, walked along that to the beach, walked along the beach for a while, went for a dip, and then circled around back to my car.

When climbing the Lookout Track, there’s a point where there are some really cool stairs fenced off behind a “No Access” sign. I obeyed, but only begrudgingly.

The trail map definitely does not tell the topographic story very well. The Lookout Track takes on a lot of elevation very quickly, so it’s a bit of a climb. This should not be a surprise, since you can’t really have a lookout at sea level!

The Southern part of Muriwai Beach. Sadly, you can’t see my car from here.

And here’s the rest of the beach!

What a cool little island! Let’s Zoom and Enhance.

I think it’s called Oaia Island.

Here’s more of the view…back over the trees toward the mountains.

And then here’s the other direction, off into the distance.

The sky is on its best behavior…I definitely have the best luck! Would you believe that in about two and a half hours it started raining?!

OK, so now we’re starting to descend a bit toward the beach. But before we hit the beach, we need to visit some friends. Specifically, several hundred friends with wings!

Muriwai Beach is home to a massive Gannet colony! These Gannets are nesting right now, and under most of those birds is a little baby bird!

I don’t think my photos are doing justice to how many birds there are here!

I wonder if these birds appreciate at all what a great view they have? Probably not.

Coming down the other side, there are some bits of trail that are no longer…trail.

At this point in my solo trip, I changed into my swimsuit and went into the water. I left my phone and my camera in my backpack, so I didn’t get any pictures of this bit.

New Zealand protip: the Western beaches have some of the fiercest rip tides you will likely ever encounter. Even strong swimmers can wind up getting carried away. Lifeguards will put ropes and buoys around areas which have been deemed safe for swimming on any particular day. If you want to go for a swim, find the ropes and stay in between them, especially if you’re by yourself.

I, of course, did none of these things.

But at least I’m smart enough to know what I am and am not capable of. After wading into the water and feeling the tide, I knew I would not be swimming that day. So I made sure not to go anywhere that my feet couldn’t touch the ground. Even so, I nearly wore myself out walking back to the beach against the current. Always make sure to play it safe, especially when traveling solo.

For my next visit, we saw a few things I didn’t get a chance to see the last time. We walked down to see a part of the rock called the “blowhole” where water shoots up when a wave comes in. The blowhole can be seen right in front of the lapel of my friend’s jacket.

Here’s a shot of the blowhole right after disgorging its contents. Naturally I’m not enough of a photographer to try and capture the hole in the middle of blowing.

The weather was even better than my previous trip! The warm sun had the Gannets smelling even more…Gannety than the last time.

So that’s Muriwai in a nutshell. I really like this photo because it’s kind of Muriwai in a nutshell too. Foliage, Gannets, surf, beauty.

The next few posts will have us a little closer to home. I’m actually really looking forward to writing them, because even though they weren’t epic adventures or exploring some remote location of New Zealand I still really enjoyed those trips. See you next time!


3 thoughts on “Muriwai Beach

  1. what! birds! what! (they have rendered me incoherent.)
    I want the sound that gannets make to be “gannet. gannetgannet.”
    I like rocky beaches with cliffs the best, I think.

    • Haha, your West coast sensibilities are showing :)

      I’m too hyper to be particularly good at relaxing on the beach, so I like beaches with lots of opportunity for exploring. The Western beaches certainly fit the bill.

      (There are still two more big Western beaches I haven’t been to yet. Hopefully I’ll make it out there before Summer ends, but I have a lot on my list of things to do, including a trip to the South Island next month! We’ll see.)

    • Oh, I should also say that I need to get back out to Muriwai with my good camera to take some zoomed-in glamour shots of Gannets. But I’ve already been to Muriwai twice, so that might have to wait even longer, haha. I might be able to swing by if I go to Bethells.

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