Castlepoint and the Wild East Coast

Last
weekend we made our last excursion to the Wairarapa, driving over the Rimutakas
in rather miserable conditions on Friday to stay overnight at Masterton. Saturday
morning dawned bright and clear, and we headed for Riversdale Beach on the east
coast. Only one or two winding roads lead to this region, and the few settlements
there are small and isolated. We went for a walk along the beach, having it pretty
much to ourselves. It got cloudier and a bit blowy, but it was good to stroll along
a remote beach and watch the waves crashing on the rocks offshore. A seal came ashore
while we were there, but then turned back once it got a good look at us.

 

We
found the village shop/cafe/everything and had cappuccinos and cakes there before
heading on to Castlepoint, further up the east coast (Typically, this involved driving
some miles inland and then taking another road to the coast – there are no direct
routes.) Castlepoint has some spectacular scenery, including a massive rock which
Captain Cook thought looked like a castle when he sailed past in 1770. There is
also a lighthouse and a reef over which the waves break alarmingly. We did a walk
along the hillside, past Castle Rock and down to Deliverance Cove, and then back
along the sand. By then the wind was blowing strongly, shoving us along and whipping
the loose sand along the beach. We climbed up to the lighthouse, but then it started
to rain, so we drove back to the campground where we had booked a motel room for
the night.

 

There
is one restaurant in Castlepoint, so we were spared agonies of choice. It is fairly
basic but pleasant enough, though in typical small-town NZ fashion it shut early
– we were the last customers at 8pm. In the morning the sun came out early on, so
we were able to get some more views of Castle Rock and the coast. Then it greyed
over and began to rain, so we headed back inland to Martinborough. We spent a bit
of time there, visiting half a dozen of the local wineries and buying a bottle or
two of their produce, before driving back over the Rimutakas. Just on the Wellington
side is the Kaitoke Gardens cafe, where we stopped for coffee. Sandie befriended
a cat there by the simple technique of feeding it bits of fruit muffin.

 

Despite
the variable weather, we enjoyed our visit to the Wairarapa east coast and have
managed to tick off another of the places we wanted to see.

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