....continuing on from Part 1
Back on the road after lunch, we’re now passing through farmland and following the coast all the way.
The views are spectacular and the road often on the edge of the seacliffs.
It's not long before I see a cluster of houses on the hill ahead of us and assume we must nearly be at Anatori and the end of the road. And in fact we are but what I don’t know is that the houses are on the other side of the Anatori River. A river you have to ford, the track carries on for a few more kilometres but a 4WD is suggested for that stretch.
We head up the last hill and pass through a beautiful grove of Nikau Palms, I can never get enough of Nikau, they are probably my most favourite NZ plant, I love their tropical look and they remind me of our old property in Tauranga where I had my own Nikau grove, 17 planted in amongst our native garden. Although mine were mostly Kermadec Nikau, they grow a lot faster.
Finally we’re heading down into the Anatori River valley where there is a small hive of activity and a little ‘tent’ city of caravans. More whitebaiters! And these ones are set up for the duration too. We can see the 4WD road heading up the other side of the hill and we’ve been pre-warned; “Don’t cross the river while they’ve got their nets out otherwise you may get abused”.
We pull up in the gravel patch and David wanders out to one of the whitebaiters to have a chat while I take a few photos. I catch up with them and the guy tells us no one has had much luck so far (but we’re fast learning the lingo & this is a standard response). Although he does say the river is very low and it certainly looks that way, not a typical west coast river that’s for sure. He tells us that he built the hut, he brings the gear in each season and knocks it up for them all to use, it has a pot belly fire inside and solar power. I can imagine Happy Hour tucked up in there would be nice and cosy. That’s his net all set up (bottom right), I like his bucket holder.
There’s a few rustic baches down at river level but it doesn’t look as though any of them have people staying.
It’s getting late in the afternoon now and while we would have liked to have crossed over the river and driven the track a short distance, we decide it’s best to head home. Our whitebaiter friend said it wouldn’t have worried him if we had crossed, he’s used to it as there are a few cars a day coming and going. He also tells us that when the tide is low the best drive is along the beach in both directions for about 10-12kms. “But don’t get caught by the tide, otherwise you’re a gonna”
So it’s back on the road again, with a short stop for me to rescue a lamb on the wrong side of the fence, man do they move fast, after running back and forward along the fenceline I finally managed to grab him when he got stuck trying to squeeze through the wire. He was pretty pleased with himself once he hit the deck bouncing and dancing across the paddock. A good deed done for the day.
And one final stop when we spotted one of the white herons resting on the old wharf at Mangarakau on the Westhaven Estuary. You can see the soft feathering of the breeding plumes at it's tail. This heron should be making it’s way south to Okarito on the West Coast, where they breed & nest, very soon.