THE WESTERN BAYS
Discover some of the treasures that are the Western Bays of Lake Taupō.
The cliffs are definitely the highlight of this adventure. Situated at the southern end of the Western Bays, they tower above the water as if their sacred duty is to keep watch over all who enter from the southern end. A feeling of awe is one way to describe kayaking along this towering vista; solid rock rising high above you then plummeting hundreds of feet below.
Flat Rock Café
There is a place along the way on this trip that has become a favourite of mine. A view shared by most when I take them there.
A corner of the lake, that from a distance, you could pass by not knowing it was something special.
In the corner of Tepapa bay, a stream bubbles out of the bush which touches the lake edge. Here, the rocky cliffs would reach well below the surface if not for this hidden stream. Over many years the stream has deposited enough sand to create an oasis just below the surface of fresh crystal clear water. And as if by design this hidden gem is flanked by, what looks like a purpose-built rocky shelf, this shelf is known by some as Flat Rock Café.
A secluded bay tucked behind rocky outcrops marks one end of this journey. The other, a long sandy beach with crystal clear waters, lapping at its shores. No matter which end you start there are treasures to be discovered along the way.
There's a majestic waterfall tumbling over a cliff into the lake, just daring you to test the turbulence at its base, or at least try. There are beaches with rivers flowing onto the lake where, if you're lucky you'll spot trout feeding at its mouth. Yes, the waterfall is definitely the highlight, but the coast line holds its own treasure waiting to be discovered.
An adventure of contrasts; one end is a secluded bay with its sandy beach tucked inside rocky points out in the wilderness, the other, Kinloch, a thriving holiday settlement at the head of Whangamata bay. In between is beautiful Kawakawa bay.
It's a long sweeping beach, quite different from the rest of the Western Bays.
In fact that's one of the Western Bays charms. It changes from one end to the other. Kawakawa Bay is slightly more accessible as there is a trail beginning in Kinloch that makes its way over the headland and down into Kawakawa bay. But to explore around this headland and its rocky coast with its nooks and crannies is an experience not to be missed.