Oreti Beach was Burt Munro's race track & I can see why, it's a 26 kilometre stretch of perfectly smooth sand and at low tide it would be over 100 metres wide.
Ten kilometres west of Invercargill, Oreti Beach was a key location for the film 'The World's Fastest Indian', which tells the story of Southland's motorcycling hero Burt Munro. The beach provided Munro with a testing and racing site for his modified Indian motorcycle. In February 1957 Munro set a New Zealand Open Beach record of 131.38 mph at Oreti Beach; in 1975 he raised this to 136 mph.
What a magnificent ocean beach Oreti is, it is the middle bay of three that face onto Foveaux Strait & Stewart Island, at the base of the South Island and would be as wild as they come on a stormy day with cold Antarctic air blowing directing on shore. Luckily for us it was a calm sunny day when we arrived with the family for an evening BBQ. We drove about a half a kilometre down the beach until we reached a gap in the sand dunes where Ollie & Ruby could go sledging.
Even this late in the afternoon (5pm) there were still plenty of vehicles parked up & people enjoying the surf. And from the tyre marks it looked like there had been a lot of other vehicles earlier in the day. Approaching the entrance to the beach reminded me of Mahia in Northern Hawkes Bay (where my family spent most of our childhood summer holidays) it had the same grass covered dunes, pine trees and tarsealed roads covered in wind blown sand. It was also a surprise to suddenly drive off the end of the road & onto the beach, I was expecting a large car park of sorts leading onto the beach but I guess when you have a 26kns stretch of beach as a car park a designated park is not needed!
The family set up camp between the cars as the warm breeze started to blow.....
.....while I went with the kids to the other side of the dunes to watch them sledge, the soft sand making it difficult for me to keep up with them.....
....spot the children. I decided I could supervise them from this ridge.....
....and take a few photos of the magnificent panoramic view while I was at it......
A sea of grass........ & Stewart Island in the background.
After sledging the kids went for a swim which was quite a long walk away as it was low tide although the tide was on it's way back in with the small waves pushing far up the sand before retreating again; great for toddlers & children to safely play.....
.....and also to help Dad dig for tautua (shellfish)
The breeze was getting stronger as the farthest reaches of the beach disappeared in a haze of sand & salt spray.
I love this shot, a baby being introduced to the beach by her Dad, every Kiwi child's birth right.
David & Rachel had prepared a BBQ feast for us which we all managed to enjoy before a fine coating of sand began to cover everything as the wind got stronger; there's nothing worse than hearing a crunch when you bite into your dinner. Although I think Ruby managed to eat far more than was blown about, she was clutching a bread wrapped sausage while rolling about in the sand with Ollie!
I would have liked to have stayed to watch the sunset, as it would have dropped off the edge of the ocean but it wasn't practical considering it isn't setting down here until well after 9:30pm. We're still getting used to it being light until around 10:30pm at the moment, it's hard going to bed when it's still light outside.
This will be my final post for 2013, it's New Years Eve & after a few very busy nights with 8-10 motorhomes & up to ten tents located around either side of our van the camp ground is now virtually deserted. Invercargill Central City Campground is obviously not the place to be to see in the New Year.
Happy New Year to one & all, all the best to you for 2014, I look forward to keeping you up to date with our tiki touring.
"Out There" soon