It was a last minute decision to stop off in Mangawhai for a couple nights on our way back to Kerikeri. Mangawhai has tended to suffer the fate (for us) of being a place for a coffee and car charge.
The weather and tides looked good for completing the 9km circular walk called The Mangawhai Coastal Track, a walk we have been wanting to undertake but have never got around to managing time, tides and weather.
After a chilly outdoor shower at our airbnb, we headed out to ‘the heads’, parked Zoe and headed off along the beach. In true Cliff & Ruth fashion, the skies immediately clouded and a light drizzle set in. We hoped that this was only one of the forecast light showers. By the time we started the steep climb up onto the top of the hills backing the beach, the rain had moved off to the nearby Hen & Chicken Islands.
The views from the top were spectacular and the track surface along the clifftops was in very good considering the time of the year. It was important to watch where you you were walking though, a misstep could have led to a rather unhealthy plummet to the beach some distance below.
After an hour of walking along the hills the track started its steep descent down to the by now rocky shoreline. The tide was low so we did not have an excuse for not returning via the coast but the rocky terrain did look a tad challenging.
The walk is classified as easy but I would suggest that it is a little more challenging than a casual stroll in your town shoes, mainly because of the 1.5(ish) km of tough rocky coastline that needs to be conquered. It reminded me of the rocky descent through the Samaria Gorge in Crete.
We decided on a lighter afternoon stroll via the Mangawhai Tavern which is situated right on the harbour front. It was largely deserted on what was now a sunny winter afternoon. I suspect that it would be a favourite watering hole for the rest of the year.
While soaking in the hot outdoor bath back at the airbnb we agreed that our winter stopover in Mangawhai had been a worthy one.