Friday, December 05, 2008
Overnighting at Kekerengu.
Kekerengu Beach is quite an isolated area of the East coast of the South Island, right off the main highway, we often stop overnight here when journeying further a feild. It is 'freedom camping' there is no charge to stay there, but also there is no facilities at all, no water, no toilets; nothing, but we can easily cope with this as we have a gas cooker in our caravan and also we have solar lighting, so we can camp in comfort pretty well.
There is lots of birds on the beach like the Oyster catchers and Black Back gulls, but also the more elusive Black fronted Dotterels and other types of Dotterel too, most of them are very tame seeing there is not a lot of people round most of the time. The only thing of note at Kererengu is 'The Store,' a wonderful Cafe built to take in the best veiw of the coast and the rocks, selling the very best of muffins, quiche and other goodies. One of the first things we always do is walk up to The Store to buy a Muffin for afternoon tea and some kind of wonderfully fattening goodie for our dessert, this time it was Irish Whisky Cake, a sensational taste treat that we enjoyed very much.
We enjoyed strolling along the beach and among the pine trees, where I collected a big bag of pine cones for my Mother who still has an open fire, sadly we don't any more, in this new house it is all aircon heated and cooled.
After we had cooked our meal and eaten the Irish whisky cake we were surprised to find a number of people arriving and setting up small tents under the trees along the beach, we asked some what they were all doing in such a place. They told us it was the Great Moa Hunt Bike and Running races tomorrow and that many more people would be coming along by morning. We were not kept awake with noise from the athletes, it was early to bed for them in readiness for the big events the next morning. But we were awakened early by the great throng of excited folk that arrived early in the morning, literally thousands of cars and people suddenly descended on this small beach in the middle of nowhere! So many that we had real difficulty in driving out with our caravan, dodging walkers and bikers and running people all warming up for their big moment. But we didn't stay to watch the races, most of it was up into the hills and along the cliffs.
Avery sad side note here is to tell you that one of these top athletes biked over the side of a cliff and fell to his death during the big race, fortunately we were miles away by then and knew nothing about it til the newspaper report the following day.