First thing I did last week after my arrival – apart from falling asleep on the couch – was going down to Piha which is a lovely beach-side township at New Zealand’s west coast. Lonely Planet introduces Piha with these words:
If you notice an Auckland surfer dude with a faraway look, chances are they’re daydreaming about Piha… or just stoned. This beautifully rugged, iron-sand beach has long been a favourite for refugees from the city’s stresses – whether for day trips, weekend teenage parties or family holidays. The view of the coast as you drive down Piha Road is spectacular.
Last year when we first drove down to Piha it was already dark and we had no clue what an amazing view we missed but this time I got a picture on the way down. The big rock right at the beach is called Lion Rock – you can clearly see where that name comes from in the evening when the plants on the rock transform into a giant “mane” glowing in the sunset.
As I continued my way down to the beach I recalled the amazing times I had spent there last year: Lovely days surfing and chilling at the beach, meeting Shane and some other great adventures that I’ll spare for a later post. I took along Ruby (Shane’s adorable dog that I am currently taking care of) and we had a long walk on the black sand beach.
Ruby is absolutely crazy about rolling in the black sand and the combination of dog + salt water + black sand (and also the smell of that) is something you don’t want when you cuddle her. I took her to a nearby stream at the end of our walk to give her a proper wash. Ruby didn’t like that idea too much so I put her on a leash and joined her in the water to be able to get all that sand out of her fur. Apart from standing in a cold stream with a dog that doesn’t enjoy that it was also the sandflies that started bothering me – a lot. Those nasty little insects give you itches for days and feeling how a whole bunch of them attacked me all over I hurried up to get out of the water and back into my clothes. Ruby was happy to get out there as well and looked all shiny and brand-new.
She seemed quite thankful for the wash though and I suggested I would let her off the leash on the way back to the car if she promised to not roll in the sand any more. She sort of nodded (or I thought she did) and I let her off the leash (which also facilitated getting dressed again). Guess who was enjoying the probably best rolling in the sand experience ever – not even three seconds later! She seemed to be enjoying it even more and this time I could clearly see that huge grin on her face while she watched me shouting at her to stop it. Ah, just gotta love that dog.
Another round of cold water + dog who hates it + me getting more sandfly bites and we were soon on our way back to the car – this time on a leash. Another lesson learned in the land of the long white cloud that day. I love our walks on the nearby beaches though and the great thing about Ruby is she always gets you talking to fellow dog walkers and I get to learn a lot about Kiwi society that way.