Wednesday 11 January 2017

Beach Hop South- Ngawi- Part 1; Boats

Catch-up (Sept 30th, 2016)- Finally the one you've been waiting for....well, one of you has been waiting for! (see comment on the previous blog). Dad, like the cheese ad says, "All good things take time". This is the last (3 parts) in the Beach Hop series; when we visited most of the beaches south of Napier along the east coast.

Ngawi (pronounced Naa-wee) is a small Wairarapa fishing and holiday settlement located on the exposed south coast of the North Island. 

It's other claim to fame is the Cape Palliser lighthouse which sits at the southernmost point of the North Island, and is in fact, more southerly than Blenheim & Nelson in the South Island. It was a stunning day and once we reached the coast the views were spectacular out over Palliser Bay.

Once Cape Palliser Road reaches the ocean, it hugs the coastline for the next 25kms...

...and in a number of places heavy seas have claimed not only sections of the road...

...but a number of the baches in a couple of the smaller settlements.

We pass a number of farm stations and comfortable homesteads before the Ngawi settlement appears before us, tucked in and sheltered from the easterlies by the steep slopes of the hills behind. 

In front of the houses, lined up along the shingle beach are the fishing boats and bulldozers that Ngawi is famous for. 

And like the Castlepoint fishing boats, this fleet are also launched into the surf from the back of their very long trailers attached to more conventional bulldozers. 

The target catch is also crayfish; cray pots are set and retrieved around the rocky coastline of the south east coast.

There's a large area right on the foreshore set up for freedom camping (gold coin donation) with portaloos and rubbish disposal but no water and unfortunately dogs are not allowed either. 

There's also a takeaway cart parked nearby, but don't expect to be able to buy a crayfish (although you can get paua fritters), the commercial fishers aren't allowed to sell to the public.

We decided to stay at Malcolm & Julies' POP (park over property #5168) just a couple of kilometres back up the road.

And what an awesome spot! Our very own enclosed yard in the middle of a sheep paddock...

...overlooking Palliser Bay and the snow capped Inland Kaikoura mountains of the South Island ...

...and where every night there was a glorious sunset!

I was quick to explore the village and check out the boats and bulldozers. The bulldozer fleet are brought right up to the road's edge after hauling out their boats.

A touch of humour in a gritty environment.

Of course I had to shoot all the bulldozers; big ones, little ones, rusty ones and neglected ones...

A bit like the boats on their trailers; big ones...

...little ones...

...aluminium and fibreglass boats, monohulls and catamarans...

Much of the fleet heads out to check and reset their crayfish pots at first light... I got up early (5:30am) and headed down to the boats to find many of them had already left...

or were just about to leave. The boats power backwards out of the cradle with a large roar.

A couple of the local retired residents act as the on call bulldozer drivers...

...sending the fleet out every morning then parking the 'dozers up ready...

...for when the boats return around lunchtime. The boats arrive at speed, waiting for the swell to pick them up and then riding it under power into the cradle as quick as they can.

The 'dozer just as quickly pulls the trailer out of the surf. It was a relatively calm day but I can imagine the timing is critical in a heavy swell.

You can see in the last photo of the triptych above why the draw bar is so long and with a movable bend in it- to allow for the height of the tide and the drop off just past the wave line.

And as you can imagine I took dozens of photos- just one of the reasons it takes me so long to do a blog. Trying to choose the best ones is extremely hard when you have such interesting subjects! Luckily I was able to return to the boats a few times as various times of the day to capture them in different lights and at different times of operation.

To be continued...Part 2


  1. Ngawi is a lovely spot. I haven't been for a few years and must do before winter.

    1. It certainly is a great place, we were reluctant to leave. Although we were lucky with the weather, I'm not so sure I'd like it in a big blow or for days at a time. Thanks for commenting.

  2. Looks nice and green at that time of the year Shellie, unlike at the moment with everything burnt dry and I suspect we may be about to find out what it's like here in a big blow.

    1. Hi Neil, yes I suspect it would get very dry around there during summer. I hope you've survived the big blow OK, it sounds like you might have had a real battering, hope all is OK. Thanks for commenting.


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