Mercer Bay

Friends, it is time for a joyful reunion! You may recall Taylor from some previous hikes we’ve done. Well, his brother (and my friend) Tyson has returned from the United States to be with us (and, perhaps more importantly from his perspective, his fiancee, now wife). On his first full day back in the country, the three of us decided to go for a hike. Well, more like a climb, as you will see.

Taylor is wearing the straw hat he found at Duder Park! The hat looks so good on him it almost distracts from the fantastic view :)

Mercer Bay is in the Waitakere Ranges between Piha and Karekare (we haven’t visited Karekare yet, but that will be rectified soon enough). It’s known for utterly fantastic views as well as some cool sea caves, which are really only accessible at low tide.

If you see these buildings, you know you’re at the right carpark.

The walk itself is quite straightforward and easy, leading through a bit of brush but mostly open.

The openness is good because one you go over a small ridge, there are some utterly fantastic views.

Oh hey, there’s Piha beach. You can tell because that’s Lion Rock!

And that’s the peninsula around which we walked to get to White’s Beach. I’ve done so much hiking in the Waitakeres that every view brings back memories now :)

The view out from the top of Mercer Bay. But wait, where’s the Bay itself (I was naively wondering)?

Need to get around this ridge first. There’s Karekare in the background.

Wow, that water is beautiful! I just love that blue color. But…that looks a little steep? I thought we were going down to a beach?

Oh, there’s the beach. But, um, I can’t help but notice that we’re quite a bit above it. How do we get down?

It turns out that there’s a barely-visible path that turns off from the main track. If you go down that path for just a little way, you come to something that can really only be described as a drop.

If Tyson is looking concerned in this photo, it’s probably because he’s worried that I’m going to have a panic attack after looking down the cliff face we need to descend :)

But the beach looks amazing, and there’s that cool rock with the moss growing on it that looks like a face. We called the rock Lapras because we played Pokemon growing up.

Fortunately, there’s some ropes that we can use to descend the cliff face in reasonable safety.

Fun story: Tyson actually asked his now-wife Chloe to be his girlfriend down at Mercer Bay. He did so through a treasure hunt, so he and our friend Jordan (whom you may remember from our return to Mokoroa Falls) carried a treasure chest down (and, subsequently, back up) this cliff. That’s what I told myself whenever the going got dodgy: Tyson did this while carrying a treasure chest, so I can do it unencumbered.

We did get down to the beach safely, after which I turned around and took a picture of where we just climbed down. I love the sense of accomplishment that comes from doing something that’s challenging like this. I wish I could say that I loved it while I was doing it, but that would be not entirely true :)

Here’s Lapras from sea level.

Annoyingly, the tide chart we had used was mislabeled, so we didn’t get to fully explore the caves.

We did squeeze in and explore the smaller one, but I didn’t bring my camera because there was a lot of water involved.

So that would be Mercer Bay. Starkly beautiful and also quite exhilarating! Next time we will go on another fun adventure which, after this one, might seem a little tame. But I had a blast, and I hope you’ll enjoy reading it. Stay tuned!

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