Tuesday, May 20, 2014
Markus went home to Germany a few weeks before my flight out. On my way back to the Auckland area, I decided to give West Auckland a look. Piha is a bit outside the city and well worth the travel. Well, only a 45 minute drive if you do it right, but if you’re like me and decide to exclusively rely on explicit NZ road signs, the commute might take you closer to 2 hours. And I’m not even joking. This is a part of the island where you might want to carry a very detailed map in your car. And I’m not even sure if a GPS would help. Needless to say, I had no idea that I was entering a dense national park replica so close to the beach. Once I finally arrived safely, I quickly realized how much of a find this place is. Everyone at the Jandal Palace warmly welcomed me and instantly made me feel at home. The backyard of our backpackers opened up to a luscious tropical view with a defined peak surrounded by green and palm trees. It was the perfect hideaway from the busy city so close by.
During my stay, I enjoyed plenty of downtime and exploring my new surroundings. If I visited during the summertime, I could easily see myself staying much longer. Piha is a very quiet surf town with not even so much as a proper petrol station or grocery store, bordering a black sand beach and smack dab in the middle of tons of great walking trails. I wandered into the bush one afternoon and found myself at the nearby Kitekite Falls. It was a beautiful walk that made me feel isolated in this jungle like setting with thin, twiggy trees all around. And the falls were even more incredible (as always) than I had ever imagined. This was one of those modest cascading falls elegantly streaming down this huge green mountain, almost like a hidden gen among nothing but tropical bush. I found another great place to add to my picnic and watering hole spots.
The picture I chose from my few days here is taken from a lookout at the summit of the peak behind the Jandal Palace. The ocean water was a stunning blue with white waves dotting the coast and the green Lion Rock off to the side.