DB (dear boyfriend) decided that we should do something this Saturday. So he suggested we go to Okura for a bush walk. He mentioned he had done it before and it was an uphill climb for the first half and down hill after. Now I needed specifics on this coz I am in bad shape….like the only exercise I get is rolling my chair from one trainees desk to another.
I decided to google the place off the DOC website and it said easy walk. Yeah I could do that I thought to myself. Wow was I in for a big surprise. The Okura bush walk is about 18 mins drive from Browns Bay to the Haighs Rd Access. We stopped at Countdown for some supplies and then headed there.
When you get there you have this gorgeous view of the mountain greeting you with signage of the birds you are going to see. We were lucky enough to score a parking spot upfront however there were cars parked up to a kilometer of the entrance.
You walk past the signs and you are headed down a gravelly path for a bit until you come to a sign that says you need to spray your shoes to avoid Kauri dieback. Right after that sign is this gorgeous bridge that would look fantastic when its high tide. We arrived when the tide was extremely low thus only seen the below
Once you cross over the bridge you have a sign welcoming you to the Okura Bush Walk and you then take a left to start the bush walk. Now if you are going on a sunny day the shade of the bushes and the huge Kauri trees is fantastic. Here’s an excerpt from the DOC website about the bush walk:
This track takes you through regenerating coastal kauri forest along the Okura River estuary and edge of the Long Bay – Okura Marine Reserve to Karepiro Bay and historic Dacre Cottage, and on to Stillwater. From Haighs Rd the track follows the Okura River estuary through mixed coastal forest, with groves of nikau, pohutukawa and regenerating kauri. After a 20 min hill climb the track drops down to the rivers edge where you may see a variety of wading birds such as stilts and oystercatchers.
About 10 mins into the walk you hit your first set of stairs….now stairs are my worst nightmare..partly due to my bunged knee party due to being in bad shape. There are about 90 steps in total (I didn’t count these however a website mentioned it 😬)
During the bush walk other than the trees around you there is not a lot to see until you actually get to the other side. The trees are pretty spectacular and the council have built some great walkways within the trees.
Once we got to the bottom entry to the low tide path it was a 20 min walk to get to the bay. You can either take the track through the bushes or you can walk down to the beach and then walk through the beach. We decided to do the beach walk as we loved the views once we hit the beach. The views go all the way to Long Bay.
While on the beach I met up with a couple of guys who noticed me taking a photo of the hills and mentioned that they were spending time and money trying to avoid builders building high density housing on these hills. To spread the word and if you would like more information it can be found on the following pages: Friends of Okura Bush and Long Bay Okura Park Society. You could also help with their fund raising activities.
We found a little alcove with a lovely tree hanging to set up our little picnic that overlooked the beach. Because the tide was so out we couldn’t actually go for a swim which was a pity but it was a gorgeous spot to relax and have a little picnic.
We stayed there for about 2 hrs and relaxed. However I was dreading the walk back coz I knew the steps I had walked down I had to actually walk back up those. And damn was it hard….especially the last leg where I had to walk up the ones seen below. It had turned cloudy so the humidity was a killer which made everything twice as hard. Even DB who is in better shape than I am was huffing and puffing and sweaty. PS: wet wipes are a godsend
At the end of the walk we were sore and about ready to head home…we had decided on a fish and chips picnic at Browns Bay beach but that soon turned into a pig out session of deep fried calamari, chicken wings, chips and ribs in front of the TV.
In hindsight if I had known how hard the walk was going to be I probably would have balked at doing it. Not knowing was great as I didn’t have the option to chicken out. And when it was done we were some achy and groany happy campers 😉
Okura Bush walk: http://www.doc.govt.nz/okura-walkway