Woke up on Saturday and the estuary is at high tide so once again it is the high tide route. However this time that is only an extra 1 km or so.
So around the coast we go.
A nice track next to the water.
Then over the bridge.
A great view of where we were from above.
Then further uphill.
Then a great view of Tonga Bay as we approach it.
Then some tramping down at sea level.
And eventually you tramp across the beach itself. This is my least favourite part as you move very slowly on sand, it is very hot, and there is no shade. But the views make up for it.
At the end of the beach a bridge leads inland.
A nice view of Tonga Bay as we leave it.
Then some nice track to go along.
Then you cross over for your first view of Awaroa, and you can see the (private) Awaroa Lodge in the bush. We were not staying there ($400/night!) but at the $32/night DOC Hut.
A stunning view of Awaroa from a look out on the track. The green strip is an air strip.
Then it is head down to the beach and around a 20 minute walk along the beach and estuary.
After around four hours we hit the Awaroa Hut around 1 pm. A very hot day so glad to be there.
The lovely view outside the hut.
The Awaroa Inlet at low tide. Despite the tide, we managed to go swimming for an hour or so, and caught some more pipis for supper!
The Awaroa Inlet at high tide. You are advised to only try crossing it within two hours of low tide yet a moron couple (who had been at the lodge and lost track of time) tried to cross it at an hour before high tide. The entire hut was having bets on how long until they turned back. Eventually the two of them had their day packs over their heads and the water up to their arm pits before the DOC ranger rescued them in his boat.
There is no low tide track at Awaroa which means on Sunday we had to cross either before 5.15 am or after 2.15 pm. We decided to go for the early crossing so set the alarms for 4 am and had an early night.