December 1, 2023 Makara Walkway (Day 65)

We had a leisurely morning trying to decide what to do today. Finally we decided to stay close and explore the local beach, a 10 minute walk from the B&B on the narrow road. It started drizzling as we started out so we donned our rain jackets and continued to the small settlement at the beach, a few houses and a cafe opened only on weekends. There were a few other people on the beach, fisherpeople we expect, and 2 Fish & Game Enforcement Officers! The sun poked out and started burning off the clouds so we decided to continue our exploration on the Makara Walkway.

Makara Beach, with a few people way in the distance.

We started on the walkway along the beach, passing this sentinel looking out towards flat topped Mana Island and a peak on the larger island of Kapiti in the distance. Both are Nature Reserves.

We quickly had to decide to follow the beach or go up the hill to eventually loop back to the beach. We opted to go up…and up…and up…and up!

After about an hour we got to the Gun Emplacements, the now empty concrete bunkers where guns were stationed from 1941 to 1944 to defend from a possible Japanese invasion. There are scant remnants of Fort Opau which was garrisoned by 100 soldiers during the war.

What goes up must come down and we did, on a 4 wheel drive road through sheep pastures, to Opau Bay. At the top, behind the gun emplacements is an array of windmills, taking advantage of the almost constant wind here. Today the wind was from the south, great for Makara Beach which is protected from the south.

The beach at Opau Bay is in direct line for south winds and was very windy. But it was warm and sunny.

Looking west/southwest from Opau Bay you can see across Cook Strait to the South Island! But we were headed back to Makara Beach the opposite way, with the wind at our backs!It is a cobble beach, so footing was uneven. I was amazed after awhile that every few steps there were abalone shells or pieces of shells glinting iridescent among the smooth rocks. Makara Walkway, aka (to me anyway) Abalone Trail!

Our last obstacle was a rocky promontory we had to climb over. I didn’t see the figure of a lizard head in the rust colored rocks until perusing the pictures for this post!

Our route in red!

Returning to Makara Beach we still had 1km to walk back to the B&B, but at least it was flat, on grass next to the road!

This abalone decorated fence is a standout in the little settlement!

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