Saturday, 24 November 2018

Footbridges and Fine Sands- Part 2

Continued on from Part 1

I did the next road trip by myself, David had had enough of winding roads and sandy beaches. I wanted to visit the Pataua footbridge, this one is a lot shorter across the water than the Whananaki bridge but the distance by road to the opposite side is much longer at 50kms compared with 13kms.

It was once again a 20km long winding narrow road out to the coast to visit Pataua North and I had a bit of a laugh when I pulled into the boat ramp carpark; a lovely new ramp and carpark too.

A white Ford Ranger pulled in right alongside me; I had seen it following me in the mirror for much of the way, catching up and then dropping away and disappearing out of sight. I kept thinking, when it caught me up, that I must pull over and let it pass but then it would drop away again. And there were very few places to pull over too.

It turned out to be my niece & her boyfriend, they'd decided to take the dog for a run at the beach, a beach they hadn't visited in years. I must have lit a spark when I told her mother earlier in the day where I was going. They headed off to the beach but I decided to check out the bridge first.

The holiday settlement of Pataua North is located on a golden sand beach of Ngunguru Bay while Pataua South is across the footbridge on the edge of the sheltered waters of the Pataua River & estuary. Pataua South can be reached by road via the Whangarei Heads but the footbridge gives residents and holiday makers access to the best of both worlds. 

On the south side of the estuary outlet into the bay is the cone shaped Pataua Island known locally as Pataua Mountain, only it's not really a mountain or an island just a small hill which was once a Maori pa site.

I walked across the bridge, through the small reserve and along the edge of the estuary past a few of the holiday homes...

...including this one with these stunning metal sculptures in the front garden...

...and then back to the bridge...

...where I crossed back over...

...stopping to watch a kayaker battled the out going tide and a windy chop as he paddled his way under the bridge and back to the boat ramp.

I should have headed over to the beach to see my niece but the cacophony of  screeches, squawks and other bird chatter coming from a flock of Red Billed Gulls/Tarapunga grabbed my attention. 

Three rocks, right alongside the new boat ramp were covered in nesting, resting, fighting and copulating gulls! 

I wonder if the locals knew these rocks were a rookery for gulls when they planned the ramp, which was now also a resting spot for gulls and covered in poop.

I spent ages watching the goings on, checking for eggs and chicks and locating some of the odd places that birds had decided to nest.

Some had been relegated to the stalls, teetering on the side of the rock, just above the tide and fighting to retain their nest material....not only from falling over the edge but from being stolen by other birds.

This gull had the right idea, hidden away from all the fighting and activity. I even saw one bird drop into the middle of the astelia where I'm sure there were more nests.

It took me awhile to locate some chicks, it seemed that most of the nests still held eggs. It was a hot day and this gull stood over the chicks keeping them in the shade but letting the light breeze cool them down.

The parent then climbed off and fed a thin liquid to both chicks, they looked to have only recently hatched, the egg shells were pushed over the nest edge and still largely intact (don't forget to click on the photos to enlarge them).

I finally managed to pull myself away from the life & times of Gull City and drove around to the beach to find my niece loading the dog into the ute and about to head home, oops! 

The beach was deserted except for a family surfing near the mouth of the estuary. 

I walked around the point and back into the estuary and followed a sailor as he tacked back and forward up the estuary... 

...and then walked back through the holiday houses to the ute, spotting this letterbox on the way. A new take on the old microwave letterbox!


  1. Used to spend our summers at Pataua North. It's certainly a special spot. Cheers Ros and Bruce Foster (aka Thyme Travellers).

    1. Hi guys, thanks for commenting and glad I could bring back some happy memories.

  2. Thanks Shellie for shaing, always wondered what up that road. Now, after seeing your photos, we will have to visit.

    1. You're welcome Eddie, glad you enjoyed the little tiki-tour! :)


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