Black Beauty

Yesterday I sat at the window staring out at the old oak tree with its green leaves prematurely decaying yellow and longed to see her black beauty, once again.

muriwai beach

The coming Autumn doesn’t phase me. Decisions and indecision though, sometimes threaten to choke me. I feel I’m in a box and I need to get out. I want to go here, to this black beauty,  and walk the stretch of the sand where we walked together at sunset, my Englishman and I. The day after he jumped off the Sky Tower, and liked it so much he went back for a repeat performance.

On this Beach Thursday, I want to go to Muriwai beach.

I’ve lost my heart twice at Muriwai. First, decades ago, on the arm of a beautiful young man as we sang Christian choruses to the strum of guitars around a bonfire. Second, to the man who jumped off the Sky Tower. Muriwai holds my heart in safekeeping until my return.

Yesterday, all I wanted to do was go to Muriwai and walk for miles down the stretch of black iron sand. I wanted to fly free like a sea bird.

free bird

It’s Winter in New Zealand now so the sand will be comfortingly cold; I won’t need to slip on jandals to save my toes from flushing red with the burning heat of summer black sand. It’s always fun watching tourists on the West Coast black sand beaches, as they run yelping and squealing into the forgiveness of the drumming surf. It’s a Kiwi version of seaside entertainment. Who needs an arcade?

The surf is spectacular at Muriwai, and when there’s a strong swell in the turbulent Tasman Sea it whips up into towers of spray. Surfers ride the tubes like seals on boards, expertly avoiding the calm water that predicts a rip that could drag them out to sea and oblivion. In Winter a sharp wind picks up and throws a cocktail of salt and sand down your throat. I don’t mind it, because in return it takes your dark thoughts – of confinement and confusion – and sends them out to sea.

There is calm in the storm here on Muriwai.

A calm that comes from knowing you’re alive.

The kind of calm you cannot find in a sunscreen bottle and a ‘beach read’ on a sun lounger on a crowded Med beach.

Nature reassures as much as she provokes, and in that yin and yang there is a sense of timelessness. You can feel it on the beach here. You can almost hear it in the calls of the gannets who fly in from the Tasman to their colony on the rocks at the southern end of the beach. It’s an easy walk to the gannet colony via a signposted boardwalked path that winds around the headland, and the beauty of these wild seabirds finding respite, is inspiring.

gannet colony muriwai

Muriwai lies 42km northwest of Auckland City, a quick trip down the Western motorway and through the spectacular wine growing region of Huapai (who a pie) and Waikowhai (why co fy). How quick your trip is, will largely depend on whether you succumb to the delights (and they are considerable!) of the local wineries.

The major activities at Muriwai are walking down the 50k stretch of unbroken wild beach, bush walking, sand yachting (hire is available at the shop), visiting the gannet colony, fishing and surfing.

But for me, looking out my English window at the dull cloud that shrouds the summer sky, I’d be grateful for a long walk along this black beauty’s sandy spine.


Where: Muriwai beach north of Auckland City, New Zealand

Why go: to see the gannet colony, breathe in the salt air, try your wits against the surf, or just walk for miles and soak in the natural beauty.

Need to know tips: In Summer time head to Muriwai early as the beach gets incredibly busy with Aucklanders taking the day off to ride the surf. Be respectful of the sea and unless you are an expert swimmer/surfer stay between the flags. A quick trip to one of the local cafes for fish and chips or a burger might set you back a few $s but the location is unbeatable. Try Cafe Toi Toi just behind the beach, and don’t forget to poke your head into the gift shop for some unique art and jewellery.

This post was written as part of my travel bloggy mate, Isabelle’s #BeachThursday

Images:© M.Jeffels


'Black Beauty' has 2 comments

  1. June 28, 2012 @ 1:32 pm Steve

    Need. To. Go.
    Right now.


    • June 28, 2012 @ 1:36 pm vegemitevix

      Know how you feel. One day you’ll get there, and when you do you’ll be able to walk a way down the beach and be the only ones there..bliss.


Would you like to share your thoughts?

Your email address will not be published.