Saturday 9 May 2015
Yesterday, as a bit of an experiment, we did a walk out at Piha intending to see the sun set during the walk and completing the walk in the dark. It was a resounding success!
We started near Lion Rock around 4pm and walked north along the beach, then turned inland up the Marawhara Walk, White Track and Rose Track walking quite fast uphill and downhill to Whites Beach. We arrived around 5:40pm just after sunset (5:30ish), so we didn't quite get to watch the sun actually set from the beach as planed --- next time I'd start a little earlier. The view in the dusk was still lovely.
After that we walked out to Te Waha Point in the gathering gloom, then back to Piha Beach via the Laird Thomson track --- lights essential. After reaching the beach we turned our lights off and walked back south along the beach in darkness. This was really fun --- the beach is an easy walk in the dark, the night sky was surprisingly good (considering proximity to Auckland), and there's a narrow sea-cave near the north end of the beach that you can go all the way into to experience true pitch-darkness.
This was even more fun than I'd hoped. Most walks are best done in summer when there's plenty of daylight, but this walk is a great winter option --- after it gets dark you've still got time to drive back to town and have dinner together or whatever. Do bring lights and warm clothing --- it could be quite cold if windy and wet, though we were lucky with the weather. As a bonus it helped my children get used to tramping in the dark.