Wild Encounters on an Evening Beach Walk


Time for a change of scenery so Jan, Stephen, Nico and Ziggy jump in the van and we head down the road to the Rapahoe beach.  There are huge low tides and the sea is well out.  The beach is beautifully sandy and this is the dogs favourite – they love to run in the sand.  Makes sense really as it must feel lovely on their paws – remember when you were a kid and raced around with the sand between your toes – maybe you still do that, I know I love to whenever I can.  Our beach at Nine Mile has periods of sandy days but more often than not it is hard packed sand or stoney.

Ziggy with his stick Rapahoe beach, West Coast, NZ

When we arrive at Rapahoe there are two other cars in the car park – not many considering it is such a lovely evening.  That’s ok, it is all about us anyway!  We let the dogs out of the back of the van and they are keen to go.  After some initial stiffs in the driftwood, they are racing along the beach.  Ziggy loves us to throw stones or sticks for him to chase – we are only too happy to oblige.

Usually Nico is happy to do his own thing on the beach – lots of smells in the driftwood, pawing at stones for other scents.  Rapahoe beach is an exception – he loves to run.  This is a great way to exercise the boys with little effort from us, apart from the walk itself and throwing of stones.  The boys run at full speed up and down the beach.  They don’t try to catch the stones or even pick them up – don’t even look really where we throw them, they just like the excuse to run in either direction.

We head right down to the south end of the beach.  Normally we can only get to the start of the rocks but today with the tide being so low we can almost climb around to Point Elizabeth.  We clamber over some boulders and there, basking in the last of the afternoon sun are some seal pups.  Classic – they look just like Ziggy!  Same colour and big brown eyes.  I call the boys back and make sure they stay behind me so as not to frighten the seals.  Initially the pups look up from their slumber but soon settle back down when they realise we aren’t coming any closer and they are safe from the dogs.

Stephen goes further round the rocks to get in close with the breaking waves while Nico, Ziggy and I stay where we are so as not to disturb the seals.  Just to the side of us is a large rocky outcrop with vegetation on the top consisting of small shrubs and ferns.  Nesting are flocks of tarns.  At first they screech and dive bomb us to try to drive us away from their nesting area.  Like the seals though, they soon realise we aren’t going to disturb them and apart from the occasional reminder dive bomb they settle back down in their nests.  It is an amazing site to see them all nesting on the outcrop – it is like an apartment building and they have the penthouse suite.

Sun setting over the Tasman Sea, Rapahoe Beach, West Coast, NZ

The tide is starting to turn and it is time for us to head back  – certainly out of the rocks before we get trapped.  Ziggy and Nico are ready to go – it means more running on the sandy beach for them.  The sun is starting to go down and the colours are intensifying in the sky with brilliant pinks and soft oranges. Personally, I don’t think you can beat the West Coast of NZ for sunsets!

Back along the beach and the boys are still running.  We tell Ziggy no more and he is happy to do figure of eights in front of us, coming back just in case we change our mind and throw another stone.  There are some other people coming to the beach to walk their dogs before the sun disappears altogether.  Such a lovely evening for a beach walk.

Jan and Stephen run Breakers Boutique Accommodation, 14kms north of Greymouth on the Punakaiki Coastline.  Breakers is rated #1 on Tripadvisor and Jan and Stephen are happy to help with your accommodation requirements on the West Coast.

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About coastingnz

Jan and Stephen live on the Punakaiki coastline, north of Greymouth on the West Coast, NZ and run Breakers Boutique Accommodation. They both enjoy the outdoors and are passionate about things to see and do on the West Coast and would like to share their experiences with you.
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