(Late post from 30th Oct 2016)
The last town before Karamea where scenic Heaphy track begins is Little Wanganui. Somewhere between these two quaint towns lies a little gravel road leading to Little Wanganui Beach. Tide was low when we arrived and dusty fine silver-grey sand stretched a hundred metres towards the sea. To each side north and south the beach extends beyond visual distance. There are no foot prints or anything else representing signs of other humans. Washed up shells scattered about, groups of birds pecking around lines of foam left behind by receding waves of typical roaring west coast style. Tough beach grass, tall flax and the occasional Nikau Palm or bizarrely shaped beech make the transition between the vast beach and a backdrop of lush mountains that seem to rise up out of nowhere.
We picked up some fresh locally made beef and onion sausages earlier in Westport and cooked it with cubed home-fries, asparagus and slightly caramelized-onion. Afterwards the kids got given chocolate milk, bundled up in outdoor blankets and we positioned ourselves in moon-chairs facing the ocean where the perfect sunset was taking shape. Later we counted stars until kids fell asleep singing “Twinkle Twinkle Little Stars”. Then I witnessed the biggest, longest shooting star in my lifetime. It took its time dragging a soaring orange tail cutting across right through the middle of sky from west to east, during which my mind went through the whole thought process of: “Oh my god, I cannot believe it’s still going! I would’ve been able to finish my wish by now. If only I could’ve thought of one.” On the outside though I could not even manage to lift a finger to point, the only reaction surfaced was a loud long “Wow!” that lasted for seconds and momentarily woke up the stroppy two year old.
In a way being here and seeing is already a wish come true.