Wishbone Relay: Waihi To Falls Retreat


Tuesday 12 March 

It was a decent sized group of surgeons, anaesthetists, physios, friends & family that were transported to Ngatitiangata Road (above Homunga Bay). There we walkers parted ways with the runners who drove the vehicles back to Waihi Beach.

The overcast day made for comfortable walking conditions with the continuous elevation changes.
It's a well formed track interspersed  with  walking along the beaches - perfect for chatting while getting in our daily steps over the 3.5 hours. 

Walking through the farm down to Homunga Bay there's sweeping views of the coastline & Tuhua (Mayor) Island.  This dormant pest-free volcano sits approx. 35 km's off the Tauranga coast & has been largely protected from the public. If you do get permission to land, there's beautiful pōhutukawa forests to hike through & the northern end is a marine reserve, making it a perfect spot for snorkeling and diving with the warm ocean currents bringing plenty of subtropical marine species to visit

Golden beaches lined with enormous pōhutukawa make this rocky coastline pretty special & each bay had it's own charms. In one of them David Ardern climbed up to explore a cave... others followed...

...and just when it seemed like it could turn into an exciting episode of 'orthopaedic survivor' up there,

Tim Gregg & Ian Galley distracted us with their excellent reenactment of Chariots of Fire

The distraction must have worked a little too well, because soon after that we somehow missed a track marker & had to do a backtrack when the terrain became a cliff face only suitable for goats & gulls.
I'm remembering my fear of heights at this point.

Shortly after that we crossed paths with the runners coming from Waihi Beach

One section had a remarkable combination of formations & flora that resembled hair. It was a unique sight - but also kind of reminded me of the mangy dogs I've warned my kids not to pat overseas

Inspecting skillful bridge anchoring instead of bones

Stunning headlands were perfect places to pause & admire the coastline 

I have no idea what was going on in this pic below - but it seems almost worthy of a caption competition... 


The track ends right on Waihi Beach, so we only needed to walk a couple of minutes back to Ian & Dinia's beautifully restored miners cottage for much appreciated drinks, snacks & wardrobe changes ahead of dinner at Falls Retreat.
Somehow we were all having such a good time in the Falls bespoke event space, that we forgot to take any photos! But it was a great evening enjoying superbly prepared homegrown and local treats. 
With this leg complete, the baton & logistics passed to the Auckland coordinators for the final Relay legs... and Ian looked fairly happy to have the bulk of Relay organisation behind him.
(it's been mammoth)