Corona Journey No.20 – The West Coast of New Zealand, North Island
Corona Journey No.20 – West Coast of New Zealand
In partnership with Corona Extra. Words and photos by Richard Hodder
We got there, the final day felt like it would never end. Two nights, three days and our feet felt like they were on fire. Like they had been dragged across paths of rock, Austroderia (cutty grass), and gorse, but it was all our own fault. Somewhere in the micro moments before we left on our three day hike we decided to untie our shoe laces and leave the shoes behind! They were apparently too heavy and we were trying to conserve weight? Or some other possible similar un-compelling story. We left our tent behind too, but had some old dirty tarps to keep us dry in the night and to keep ourselves a little more undetectable.
Our coastal transfer felt like it lasted weeks. It was the day before departure that we decided we should go somewhere and do something. There were waves at home on the East Coast but it had been onshore for weeks and otherwise it seemed we were destined to fall into the common transitional post Christmas, pre New Years obliteration of nothingness. It would have been easy to stay home and put our feet up but the urge to go quickly started to outweigh the idea of staying put. It was a quick turnaround – nothing much was planned. We had packed our bags loosely in preparation for three days surfing and some sort of adventure but really had no idea of what to expect, where we would sleep or get water to drink along the way. At this time of year, everyone’s on holiday. The cities are empty and the beaches full, but not where we were going. Walking north up a segment of the West Coast of the North Island of New Zealand we wanted to avoid any typical surfing setups close to car parks and walk from beach to beach up the coast and away from the summer crowds.
Five minutes into the walk we hit the first headland and already there were calls of weakness coming from both myself and Chris claiming ‘our packs are too heavy’ and ‘shall we just go back to the car and drive’ type comments. I joked about pulling pin. Neither of us wanted to be the one to prevent the trip from happening and looking back it’s crazy to imagine all the things we would have missed out on if we had turned back purely because we were slightly out of our comfort zone. Chris really thrived during these initial negative thoughts. He found a way to fight off the easy option and had a solid ‘just go’ mentality. It was steep and slippery and I was sure I was going to crash and burn down the first rocky cliff face. Somehow we got down there unscathed.
Our first night was spent two headlands over from one of the most popular and closest surf beaches to the city – what would be one hour’s drive from the city. We set up a base on the headland in the middle of the beach, dangling our feet over the water, watching as the surf got better and better until eventually we went out and spent the rest of the afternoon in the drink. The sunset, the cliffs, the surroundings were all breathtaking.
The morning arrived and after a surf it was hard to leave – or move. Walking back up the hill we bumped into a friendly local land owner who whipped us into an old unmarked trail that was ultimately a shortcut to the next beach up the coast. She warned us that it may be overgrown as it’s not walked often. It turned out this was a slight understatement and the track was covered completely in cutty grass and gorse but at this point there was no going back. We found an infinity pool overlooking the beach and headland where we had camped the night before heading back down to the beach in search of the lost pathway. Our bags no longer felt heavy as the pain in the scratches on our legs and feet were outweighing the pain in our shoulders. We bashed our way through the bush for four hours dragging our surfboards by the end. After another arvo surf and some cave searching it was time to tuck in for the night. Watching A-frames firing into the bay below us before going to sleep was a sight to remember. I wished all our buddies could have been there with us hooting as the sun went down.
We woke up early to some pure punchy golden lit A-frames and found ourselves in the water for longer than expected. The weather packed in during the walk on the last day. Chris found himself sheltering from the rain under his surfboard and for five hours we walked as fast as we could to the northern most point of our walk, and that was that. Back at home in time for countdown.
He's still got it!
A CW series on what’s happened to Aussie fortunes on the men’s world tour — and what might turn it around
Ugh, goodbye World Title? Goodbye Olympics?
Surfers Announced for the Bells Beach 50 Year Storm Invitational in Memory of Shaun Brooks
Ugh, goodbye World Title? Goodbye Olympics?
The waiting period has started
With five special QnA screenings with Nathan and Hollywood director Michael Oblowitz from this Sunday
Some of the best beach break waves in recent memory.
Wave Pools Are For Snow Skiers Now? Frankie Oberholzer is the OG Search Legend, and J-Bay Gets Going
This Week In Surfing: Ten Things From Surfing & the Internet on the Week That Was July 12, 2019
Mick Fanning & Xavier Huxtable joined Nathan Hedge, Isabella Nichols, Mitch Parkinson, Clancy Dawson, Korbin 'The Search' Hutchings and crew for an epic little morning over on the other side.
There's mid-winter joy inbound this weekend.
2019 Corona Open J-Bay, Day 3/Round 3
2019 Corona Open J-Bay, Day 1/Seeding Round