A day of culture and high tea. Allow us to collect you from your accommodation and take you on a journey of forest and beach exploring the black sand magic of the west coast Auckland beaches while you indulge in the luxury of peace, tranquility and the sound of the ocean.
Muriwai Beach is home to the spectacular gannet colony. A short walking track leads to a viewing platform right above the main colony area. About 1,200 pairs of gannets nest here from August to March each year. The nests are just centimeters apart. It's an air traffic controller's nightmare, but somehow the birds have it under control. Those coming in to land must glide over the squawking raised beaks of their neighbours - so getting it wrong can be painful. These two-and-a-half kilogram birds have a wingspan of two metres, and their mastery of the onshore updrafts is impressive to say the least.
Each pair lays one egg and the parents take turns on the nest. The chicks hatch naked, but within a week they're covered with fluffy down. As they mature, they grow juvenile feathers and begin to exercise their wings in preparation for the one-shot-jump off the cliff. Once airborne, the young gannets leave the colony and cross the Tasman Sea to Australia. A few years later, surviving birds return to secure a nest site at the colony.
The views from the colony are impressive. Muriwai Beach extends 60 kilometres to the north - a line of black sand between the thundering surf and the sand hills. Far below, enthusiastic surfers look like seals on the large ocean swells.
After brimming over with salt-filled air, crashing surf and a forest drive, let the Kaipara sculpture gardens soothe your spirit while you dine on a high tea Buckingham Palace would be proud of! Sweet nothings along with the most delicious savouries prepared for you by our private chef in a magical garden.
With the sculpture gardens yours for the evening, relax and sit back on your lawn chairs and indulge in a sunset over the Kaipara Harbour and let us take care of you before we return you to your accommodation.