Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Urquharts Bay

[Kyle]After leaving the marina at Whangarei, we had a gusty sail to Urquharts Bay at the entrance of the harbor. We had spent an evening there the year before at Dave and Lyndon’s bach. It is beautiful and we were really looking forward to being able to anchor there even though they would not be around this year. We later found that this tiny hamlet is also home to Alvah Simon, the author of 'North to the Night' and his boat the Roger Henry - in fact we were anchored right beside him in the bay.

Urquarts Bay is tucked in behind Bream Head and gives access to some great trails (Bream Head Coast Walks) This boat was motoring up and down the bay and 'shooting' its fire hose for hours after we anchored.

Maryanne loves a novel mailbox, and we both enjoy the Pohutukawa Tree in full Christmas blossom

We had the dinghy down bright and early and made our way up the track to the top of the nearest hill. The trail up Mt. Lion was mostly stairs, so we were pretty spent when we emerged from the forest to the view at the top. Down was much easier and we were able to enjoy our surroundings much more fully.

Kyle finds another hill to climb, but the trails are well managed and there is plenty to stop and see on the way

Back at the bottom, we joined the coast loop and took the long way back to the boat. It was a marvelous stroll. New Zealand has so much interesting flora and fauna. We watched Gannets dive for their catches, following their bubbly trails through the clear water. We also saw native parrots – Red Crested Parakeets, which always feels like a privilege. The bird song here is just wonderful. In most places, it has been decreasing over the last few decades. Here, it seems like a vibrant orchestra of different calls. There are not just screeches and chirps, but long, melodious, whistling songs that intertwine with the different songs of other species.

Smugglers bay

We spent some time watching the Gannets dive from Busby Head Trail

Along the way, we passed by many Pohutukawa trees in full Christmas bloom, filling the hillsides with splashes of red. They are like the poinsettias of the South, only bigger, with long, curving branches spreading shade over the forest and filled with giant bromeliads a meter across. Oh, this place is pretty!

The Native Pukeko enjoys the area as much as Kyle

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