The question used to be how many swims could you manage during a day trip?! With the ferry being on summer hours, the ferry left the CBD at 8.45am, and departed Rotoroa at 5.45pm, we had over 7 hours on the island!
When we left town, it was very overcast, looking somewhat ominous, but the further the ferry ventured out in the harbour, blue sky emerged much to our delight, as for many it was the first time to the island.
Arriving on Rotoroa, we had the usual bio-security briefing from the island Park Ranger and a general heads up about the gravel being like mables on some of the dry, steep tracks and then we were into Weka'sville. Why Weka'sville? They are literally everywhere! Turn around and there's bound to be a Weka. If you go 10 minutes without seeing a Weka, that's probably a rarity! They are so cute, quite bold and curious. Have you ever heard what little Tea Leaves Weka's are? Ask around the club, many have stories about a Weka trying to run off with something from a pack, or even boots and poles!
Anyway, first parched lookout complete, and we were off down our next track to the heavenly westerly facing Mai Mai Bay, with large Pohutukawa's gracefully leaning on the sand. Glistening golden sand and crystal water and water absolutely flat calm greet us in this protected bay. The water was amazing! So very quickly a fair number of the group were in for the first good swim.
Before long we're off back up the hill and onto a loop track before dropping down to the equally stunning, sheltered north facing, Cable Bay. Another blissful swim before lunch, plus a few more venturing into the tranquil waters.
After nosh time, off around another loop at Pakatoa Point spotting one of the pairs of Pakete (Brown Teal) and then up to one of the high trig points on the island, North Tower at only 76 metres above sea level, but still one very steep track up! With breath taking 360 degree views.
Saving our next swims til later in the afternoon, we made tracks to South Tower and the striking Chris Booth artwork landmark that adorns the 65 metre summit.
All starting to warm up, we dropped back down to sea level again, for cooling swim three! At the easterly facing Men's Bay this time, heaps of jokes about the bay name, and if the femme's in the group were allowed?! Lol! Nice swell rolling in here, so body surfing this time!
A short walk along the island's well graveled tracks, completing our full circuit of all of the island tracks, including all three lakes (both pairs of Pakete) and our last but not least, fourth swim at Ladies Bay, at yet another absolutely beautiful bay, with the dramatic Coromandel Ranges in the background, just about everyone partake's of the final dip! Not to mention one cheeky Weka trying to whip off with the author's cap!
Oh, and why Ladies Bay?! Back in history when the island was still a rehab centre, with much decorum back in the day, Ladies swam at one bay, Men at the other. Can you imagine that now!?!
Totally and utterly blissed out, big smiles all round, from another amazing adventure with an awesome group out with North Shore Tramping Club, we stopped by the fascinating island Museum before heading to the ferry. All still having completing over 22k footsteps, not shabby, considering how much extra exercise we had with the swims too!
What a day! Most of us would have been very happy to stay!