Karetai Rd Track

Today we needed a bit of strategy in order to avoid too much uphill walking, a bit of “constructive laziness” you might say.

So we took two cars, parking one on Tomahawk Rd in the Smaills Beach car park, then took the other up round Highcliff Rd and parked at the start of Karetai Rd.

2015-10-05 15.13.12We waved hello to the miniature ponies and headed down Karetai Rd. Yesterday’s strong hot winds had transitioned into sharp cold gusts which harried us as we hurried along. The road offered excellent views of South Dunedin and all the way to Saddle Hill.

View from Karetai Rd

On our right we observed many old stone fences running down into the valley. The grass was bright green and cropped short by sheep and their young lambs.

Rocky paddock on Karetai Rd
Rocky paddock on Karetai Rd

Eventually we reached the carpark at the end of the road, nestled in a grove of macrocarpa trees. After a quick rest, we jumped the stile and continued down the foot track. From here we were offered grand views of Smaills Beach, Lawyers Head and St Clair.

The southwards view

A long straight stretch brought us to a sudden right turn in the track near the cliff edge. However a left turn instead took us into a cliffside basin filled with native hebe and tussock. Below us the sea crashed violently against the cliffs and was stained brown with debris.

Our secret cliffside garden

Exploring with great caution, I discovered it was possible to see from this point all the way along the cliffs to Seal Point and Sandymount.

A spectacular hidden view
A spectacular hidden view

We carefully headed back out of the danger zone and on to the track again. We were now able to see the dunes of Smaills Beach quite clearly, as well as Bird Island opposite.

Almost there now, and suddenly…relief! We were out of the wind and it was warm!

A few more minutes walk brought us back to the car, and then it was back up Highcliff Rd, only stopping to allow a herd of cows to cross. Once both cars were reunited with their owners, we parted ways.

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