Waipatiki – Aropaoanui Beach Loop

 2 January 2022

There were six HTC members who participated on the New Year’s tramp on a very hot day leaving Te Aute Road at 9.00am, a later time due to low tide being at 11.45am. We travelledalong SH 2, turned off just past Tangoio and drove to the small settlement of Waipatiki. Here baches are nestled against the hillside and the wide sandy beach was full of beachgoers either swimming,  or on boogie / paddle boards.

Waipatiki means water…. sand flounder, and was so called as it was once an estuarine valley and a good fishing spot for the local Maori. We began our trek following a narrow well worn track just above the rocks  with tutu and blackberry starting to take over.  A couple of slips had  taken out the track in places but were easy to walk over. The ocean was a beautiful teal/ blue colour and although no seals were seen, a couple of divers were fossicking amongst the rocks for a feed of paua.  Black backed gulls, black billed gulls, stilts, and  shags  were either seen or heard. After two hours we had reached Aropaoanui beach and sat under the shade of a pine tree to have our lunch.

We wandered over to where the river flows into the sea and the current exiting the lagoon was quite swift, so we linked arms to cross safely. A lot of family groups were surf casting  and sunbathing as we went past onto the access road. The main homestead and another couple of houses appeared to be empty and there were a lot of holidaymakers camping by the river beside a shearing shed. It was a long hot ascent up the road to the upper entrance of the Waipatiki reserve, thank goodness for the relief of a easterly breeze. 

The Waipatiki reserve is 64 hectares in size , a remnant of coastal forest.  The track initially zigzags down to join the loop track and we decided to take the lower route. The nikau palms make up a large proportion of the reserve and there was a massive buildup of old fronds on the ground (a fire would rocket through the debris). We saw or heard many kereru as the nikau berries were plentiful, fantails, tuis, bellbirds, a tomtit, blackbirds and a thrush  on this section of our walk. As we approached the bottom half of the reserve, a lot of lichens on trees and we crossed a small stream coming out onto the road and walked back to the vehicles and a iceblock (thanks Paula & Simon).

Party: Paula K, Anne D, Simon W, Daniel H, Susan L, Glenda H

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