Tuesday, 9 April 2013

New Chums Beach- is it worthy of it's place in the world?

Voted by The Observer back in 2006 as one of the top 20 beaches in the world, we, of course, had to make the pilgrimage across to New Chums Beach to check it out for ourselves. The beginning of the walk is only a couple of hundred metres down the road from where we are staying. The walk is just 30 minutes long & involves crossing a stream and then scrabbling over boulders & rocks that line the end of the beach. Then its up & over a ridge & down onto New Chums Beach.  I like their tag line “Getting there is half the experience”, yeah right! That’s PR speak for “It’s a rough but well worn track not maintained by the local council”


Luckily there was a bit of a smooth path through the rocks once you got up near the bank and then when we got onto the track it certainly was very well worn, with hundreds of tree roots protruding in between the packed dirt. We passed a steady stream of people coming back from the beach, it’s obviously a very popular place.
 
Before long we came to the top of the saddle & glimpsed white sand & aqua blue through the huge pohutukawa trees.
 
Off to the right I spotted a track heading up to what looked like a look-out so off I scrambled. It got steadily steeper & steeper and in the end I was climbing up the rock face grabbing tree roots for hand holds. But it was worth it for the view that awaited me at the top. I could see down both side of the ridge to Whangapoua Beach & New Chums.



The getting down had me worried as I only had my jandals on which was a bit silly but I didn’t want sand getting in & annoying me if I'd worn my open walking shoes. I took my time, one step at a time, sliding down a couple of sections on my butt and holding flax & aerial roots to steady myself.
 
Up there, that's where I went & that is looking straight down!

The remainder of the track ran through some beautiful bush lined with dozens of Nikau Palms, then we were out onto the white sand beach fringed with large overhanging pohutukawa that provided some welcome shade while we had our lunch. Even though we’d passed a few people there was hardly anyone there, a couple of families fishing & a few couples sunbathing.




It really is a beautiful beach, very tranquil and pristine and well worthy of it’s placing in the world’s top 20 beaches.
New Chums Beach
On the way back we stopped to check out the mussel nursery, thousands upon thousands of tiny mussels packed tightly onto dozens of the rocks at the start of the walk. They must get squeezed off as they grow and then float out to the bigger & deeper rocks & re-attach themselves.
 
I also stopped to watch a Variable Oystercatcher feeding around the rocks. It had managed to find a large green lipped mussel & was trying to prise it open with it's long bill which reminded me of chop sticks. It pushed & probed & poked then it picked it up & carted it off to a pool and dropped it in there. I'm sure it was hoping that the mussel would breathe & then it could quickly poke it's beak in & prise it open. It didn't have any luck.
 
Tomorrow we head of to Whitianga, it was a short but delightful stay at Whangapoua.
 

2 comments:

  1. Looks like you are still having a great time and we are looking forward to taking our time, like you, when we eventually head up Coromandel again - if you think Coromandel is the "big smoke" wait til you get back to Tauranga. We're sure it's now the same size as Auckland and can't wait to return to the 'sticks'!
    We did the Stoney Bay to Fletcher Bay return walk a few years ago but haven't yet been to New Chums.
    You've done so well to travel all those roads up there!

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  2. I bet you guys have itchy feet, hope we get to see you before you head off again.

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