Photographer's Note

West Coast of Auckland in the Waitakere Ranges.

Protected from casual visitors by the Waitakere Ranges, Karekare is down a steep and windy road; it is easily missed, but never forgotten. I had a few close calls yesterday as I drove down it, and also on the way back up to the top.

This is the stream at Karekare; the beach is another five-minute walk beside the stream, which is usually ankle deep.

Karekare was chosen by New Zealand film-maker Jane Campion as the setting for the movie “The Piano” for its untamed natural beauty and power. Imposing cliffs and a broad plateau of fine sand sweeps to the rolling surf. Near the beach, three streams converge and drop to sea level in a spectacular series of cascades and waterfalls.

On the beach, black sand is always on the move. Dunes and stream relocate in response to weather patterns. High buttresses of rock extend into the sea, amplifying the wild surf.

Karekare, as The Piano depicts, is a vast inhospitable-looking beach, edged by vast cliff faces, with a tremendous craggy rock soaring out of its centre - Paratahi Island. It looks as wild and untamed as, no doubt, it appeared to the earliest British visitors - many of whose ships foundered on its rocks. With its black, volcanic sand it must have been a strange and forbidding sight.

Yesterday, it was nice and sunny with a light breeze, and there were many people out walking and playing in the sanddunes.

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Additional Photos by Janice Dunn (Janice) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 920 W: 68 N: 1359] (4403)
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