Every week, whilst on my way to Plimmerton on the pretty winding road (Grays Rd.) beside the Pauatahanui inlet, I pass a small car park. I’ve looked at it several times and thought, where are the people going that park their cars there? So, out of pure curiosity one Saturday afternoon, I decided to investigate. It’s about a five minute drive from my front door, so it’d be terrible if I never went and had a nosey.

I was not alone on my mission, I’d borrowed a doggo, Archie, who belongs to a lovely lady called Pat (whom Andreas had rented a room from whilst he had been staying in the area). Archie is my best mate over here, he’s a little cairn terrier and I’m not exaggerating when I say that dog bloody loves me.

Excited doggo in tow, we rocked up to the car park and set out walking beside, unsure exactly of where the path would lead. We quickly happened upon a sign that confirmed we were on the Camborne walkway, which is a beautiful mixture of lush green bush on one side and sparkling blue water on the other. The path weaves around the Western border of the inlet, right the way down to Mana (which I didn’t know at the time).

My sense of direction is questionable at times, so I don’t know why I was so surprised to happen upon the boat houses at Mana. That being said, I thought the sight of the boat houses was a real treat, each one completely individual in shape, size and colour. The walkway takes you right alongside the back sides of the huts, or the front side if we’re going off where their doors are.

Some are very understated, painted your classic white or light blue, others have great murals covering their sides or are decorated in a nautical theme, or with driftwood and wind chimes adorning their doorways. I’ve been back several times since just because I love the imagery that these humble little boat houses evoke; I love picturing the personalities behind each one whilst simultaneously ranking them and thinking “I’d live in this one”.

I wasn’t the only one enjoying myself, Archie was having a great time exploring the sights and smells along the pathway, jumping into the water at any opportunity he got before bounding over to me with that smiley/ tongue out dog face of his. I wish I had a better picture of him on his walk, but he is very much a wriggler! For context, I’m going to attach a photo I took of him on a more calm afternoon..

At the end of the row of boat houses, the pathway opens right up onto the beach, which I just found out is called Dolly Varden Beach, which I rather like. The inlet is tidal, so at low tide the beach becomes huge. It was night tide though, meaning there was still a nice strip of sand for us to enjoy, along with heaps of other doggos that were out, bounding around the place! (10/10 dog spotting location) .. Archie was having a good day, being decidedly friendly to any other dog that happened to run up to us (although some days he’s less amenable and he tells them where to go!)

We walked all the way down to the sailing club boat houses, that sit parallel to the highway, before making a low key u-turn and heading back the way we came. From the beach, you get a great view back over the boat houses, seeing them from perhaps their more appealing side than the walkway.

It was such a lovely, sunny day and we were in no rush, so we strolled along in the breeze, stopping every few minutes so Archie could sniff a particularly fragrant bush, or so he could frolic in the water. It was great. The air was filled with the beautiful sound of Tui birds singing. I think the Tui call is the most typical New Zealand sound I can think of, I absolutely love it. You can listen to one of them on the video below, although I recorded this whilst wandering the Pauatahanui wildlife reserve a couple of months back, with Andreas.

On the car ride home, Archie sat with his nose poking out of the window, panting away like a champ. I dropped him home and was later reassured that I’d well and truly tired him out. Walking is so much more fun when you’ve got a dog, someone remind me to re-raise that point with my dad when I get home!

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