Any direction that begins with “wade across the stream to the start of the path”, coupled with the warning that it may be hard to find is going to draw me to it like a moth to a flame.
So when my brother in law said exactly this when I asked him what I should explore in the Waipu / Mangawhai area it was enough to make me do a u-turn and double back to find it. This, it turns out, is a pretty standard direction to find the Waipu Pancake Rocks.
It was a warm January day and the little trickle of intrepid explorers wading purposefully through the water to what looked like nothing gave me the first clue as to where it was.
We went at a relatively high tide and the water was up to almost my waist in the deepest part (bearing in mind I’m pretty short). Again, all part of the adventure and certainly helped to make it a quiet spot next to the jam packed beach.
The walk itself has a couple of signs but it’s mostly a “follow your nose” scenario as you mind around a narrow dirt track that’s been built by the local Lions Club following the vision of the late Alan McKenzie, who was a local resident (seriously how awesome are some people).
It’s been raining a lot this summer so there were a few bit that were a bit slippery but no problems if you are relatively fit and have no aversions to heights. It crosses a few parts of private property so the normal rules apply to respect the access way that’s so generously been given and leave it how you found it.
After a pretty easy 15 minute walk at photographer speed (stopping to take pictures every minute) we came across the first of the Pancake Rocks.
These rocks are really amazing and it’s particularly amazing to be able to walk and climb in amongst them.
There’s plenty to explore on the way back and we stopped just down the road in Mangawhai at No 8 Manawhai for some lunch (we were such big fans after our lunch a few days earlier at No 8 Whangarei) and for a little treat at Bennetts of Mangawhai Chocolate Factory.