Journal archives for October 2016

October 01, 2016

The Wonders of the Oneroa a Tohe

The Oneroa a Tohe, also known as 90 Mile beach, or affectionately called the Tohe, was the first international airport for New Zealand but has since been decommissioned as an airport and gazetted as a road. It is a wondrous place with it's raw beauty and differing moods and there is always something new to see, regardless of how many times you go there. I've camped out there for weeks on end and have been sustained by the bounty on offer, roamed over vast stretches and yet I still find new and exciting things, be it the change of the dunes or new creeks appearing to new sightings. Joining Nature Watch has also opened my eyes to far more creatures that call the Tohe home.

As we had not cruised the Tohe for a while, the whanau asked me if we could do a run and when we do we always go right up to the top where very few venture. Now even though the Tohe is a road, it does have a few different rules because of the tides. While DOC suggests that you do not drive the Tohe 2 hours either side of the high tide, I personally recommend, if you have never driven there before and do not know it, to not drive 3 hours either side of the high, especially as the spring and king tides can easily cause you to get stuck if you are 2 hours either side and do not know what you are doing. While there are main on / off ramps for the general public at Ahipara, Waipapakauri, Hukatere, and Te Paki travelling between Hukatere and Te Paki is the Bluff, which forms and island at high tide and this is one of the most tricky places for the uninitiated if your timing is wrong.

So checking the tides we found that yesterday the low was at 3.30pm and decided that would be a good day. After an early lunch the four of us jumped into my little waka and off we went. Now Hukatere is the closest public ramp to where we are, but why drive 30ks to access the Tohe when we can use one of the local ramps which will only be 10ks to access the Tohe? And of course the tide waits for no one! This local track meanders through farmland before meeting the pine forest that joins onto the dunes, around a corner and through a small stream then we are on the Tohe and headed north, wondering what exciting things we would see as every time is different for the Tohe changes with each tide.

The first thing we noticed was the amount of shells so naturally that meant we had to stop for photos - one of the side effects of joining NW *LOL* Also, seeing as I have joined the Big Brown Seaweeds project and they have said that they do not have many obs for the west coast, I was also on the lookout for brown algae. It was interesting to see reasonably fresh toheroa shells and find a crab I had not seen before as well as a bit of red algae wrapped up in brown algae.

Once we had finished there we carried on, stopping at different places for photos and spotting the usual suspects out there, like the NZ pied shag, Oyster catchers, karoro (black backed gulls) and dotterels then we reached the Bluff. Sending the brother and niece up to the Bluff, @rongoa and I went off to have a quick look around north end and oh boy, we have found a new place to explore so have decided that we will dedicate a day to checking that out as today we still had a long way to go
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Moving on again we stopped at a few other places for photos, saw the wild horses up in the dunes, a dead albatross and finally found a live kekeno, or seal after seeing three dead ones. We kept on going past the Te Paki off ramp and kept going north until we could not go any further as we had reached the top. Once again sending the brother and niece up the cliff for photos @rongoa and I did a quick scurry around the rocks and found another new world to explore there, with our first ever find of the reef starfish. Not wanting to be cut off and aware of the others we did not spend much time there but have added that to our one day field trip list when we will go there for the day, without getting sidetracked all the way up the Tohe. Hmm, think we should use the Te Paki on and off ramp both ways to remove temptation!

Heading back home we exited at the Te Paki off ramp which has drastically changed since I was out there a couple of months ago. I have never seen such a drastic change in all my years of using this ramp. But not to be deterred we safely navigated the stream (which is about 3ks) after stopping and walking parts of it. I was eyeing up a few plants but saw them in no stopping areas, so the stream is another one on the one day field trip list.

We finally arrived back home 6 hours after we left, covering a whopping distance of just under 100kms. It's a hard life travelling 100kms in 6 hours and having to stop all the time, but if you are from the city you hopefully would not get too traumatised with this and be able to relate to stop start traffic *LOL*

(Personal note to @pjd1 if you read this: All characters in this story are real, likewise, all places and events.)

Posted on October 01, 2016 04:22 by tangatawhenua tangatawhenua | 8 observations | 3 comments | Leave a comment

October 09, 2016

On the Hunt for Native Orchids

Just over a year ago I discovered that New Zealand had orchids and I did get a few photos of some. One of my neighbours who knows I am interested in these kinds of things has also come and got me a few times whenever he sees orchids flowering, so that I can get a photo of them.

This year I was given the opportunity to go orchid hunting up in the Te Paki region and I jumped at the chance. So yesterday (8 Oct) we headed off to the Earth Wall Track which runs off the Spirits Bay Road where I was introduced to orchids. There was a good range there and having someone point them out to me and give me an idea of where to look was invaluble.

After about half an hour I realised that some of the habitat that we were looking in is the same habitat in parts of my backyard - do I have orchids lurking that that I do not know about nor have seen?

Once we got back we went for a wander and sure enough, there are orchids in my back yard that I have walked past without noticing. The first find of thelymitra.malvina surprised @bill-nz and the second one shocked him!

The 2 below that are only to the genus level of Caladenia where found up norht on one of the tracks, but are an anomoly.

Here is a range of the different ones found in one day, which also nicely highligts the different colours that can be found.

Posted on October 09, 2016 11:02 by tangatawhenua tangatawhenua | 20 observations | 0 comments | Leave a comment