Another bumper crop of trampers ready to go and a full Big Yellow loaded up heading to Piha. Piha is one of those places that never fails to impress as you drop down out of the hills and see the first striking views across Piha Beach and Lion Rock!
Big Yellow makes it's way along to the northern carpark and we alight, and break into a number of groups ready to hit the sand. One group heading north over the extremely recently resurfaced Laird Thomson Track at Te Whara Point and the other groups head south along the beach. My group taking a quick stop at Lion Rock for some of the group to climb to check out the views across the spumy, hazy, windswept Piha.
Then we're on our way back along the sandy path around the lagoon, as the tides have changed stretching the lagoon to the base of Lion Rock making it impossible to walk south along the beach without getting non-sea water friendly leather boots wet on our mission to Tasman Lookout Track.
Muscles already getting a workout on the sand, then up the short, but sharp steps to the lookout and vista over Taitomo Island. The tides were too high to go for a scramble up the island, but I don't think anyone minded, as the waves were crashing around the base of the cliff and island, creating plenty to frame!
A brief shower rolls over as we find respite under a gracious Pohutukawa to demolish our lunches before making tracks up the Piha Valley, that we've missed so much due to the Kauri Dieback track closures. Kitekite Falls area, our destination, has had major track upgrades to "Kauri Dieback" dry foot standard so it's now mostly boardwalks and graveled. It's still pleasurable to have the acoustics of the stream trickling away next to us for of our walk up to the falls sharing information about native flora and fauna and Kauri Dieback as we travel.
Reaching the falls, there's an abundance of people enjoying the splendor of the waterfall and a few game guys who'd just been for a swim in the chilly pool at the base of the waterfall! None of our group was brave or maybe a little sidetracked by the curious Eels in the pool.
Time was pressing on, but you can't go to Kitekite Falls, without going up the falls, can you...... ?! So we ventured up more well structured steps to the top of the falls, with 3 tiers, towering about 40 metres above the pool. The view from the top of the falls of healthy Kauri rising from the opposite hillside in heartening, but not enough to entice all our group to enjoy. Standing near the top, there are few pools, and then there's another another tier below, so it's not as scary as some might imagine.
Back down the track on the other side of the stream, we pop out at the boot station again, ready for the second scrub and spray. A few light showers starting to fall as we tread back along to the bus and the other groups, and there might have been a brief stop at the Piha Store for creamy delights.