The last weekend of 2018 was spent where it’s supposed to be, outside enjoying the summer sun! Well, we didn’t have much sun that day but it was warm and we were outdoors so that’s kind of the same thing.
Foxton Beach and Himitangi lie on New Zealand’s west coast on the North Island. Picturesque beach towns that come alive during the summer months.
Time 2-3 hours
Difficulty Not very, there is no issue of getting lost and the beach is nice and flat
Access Himitangi beach carpark
Foxton and Himitangi Beach lie on the west coast of New Zealand roughly a 1.5-hour drive north of Wellington or a 40-minute drive from Palmerston North. Both Foxton Beach and Himitangi are quiet beach settlements that come alive in the summer months.
For this walk, you will need two cars unless you fancy walking all the way back again. Park one car at one end then toddle off down to the start point in the other car. I have done this both ways and it’s much of a muchness as to which way you head. There is no easy way or difficult way. The only difference is seeing the scenery in reverse.
This time we started at Himitangi Beach and ended at Foxton Beach.
Heading off down Himitangi Beach
The wind was a bit cooler this time. Last summer we did it in reverse and it was sweltering. We donned our jackets and set off down the beach. Many others had the same idea as us as the beach was littered with families, dirt bikes, fishermen and walkers taking their faithful pups for a walk.
I was a little relieved that it was overcast as there was no shade, just the endless miles of sand stretching in front of us. Plus, I got super burned last summer and the thought of sore red shoulders wasn’t appealing no matter how much I needed some summer skin.
Much of the time we had the whole beach to ourselves apart from the odd fisherman escaping the house for the day, happily sitting with a can of beer in the sun. We saw a family with dirt bikes making the most of the long straight stretches, a little one on his own mini dirt bike zooming along with his Dad riding next to him on his own bike.
Arriving at Foxton Beach
It took us roughly 2 hours to get from Himitangi Beach to Foxton Beach. The sun eventually dispersed the clouds to reveal patches of blue.
The walk is not a difficult walk. The beach is wide, safe and relatively flat. You don’t have to worry about walking on past either beach unaware you have gone too far. Foxton Beach has the surf lifesaving club perched on the edge of the beach and Himitangi Beach is clearly marked.
Time passed quickly as we trundled along engaged in random conversations such as it would be quite safe being a bird during an earthquake and what kind of birds would be our spirit bird. Me a combination of Kereru (clumsy and a noisy flier) and Kea (cheeky and mischevious). Kenny a duck (happy, go lucky and trucks through life cheery as can be). There were a lot of bird conversations.
As the beach started to become busier, we knew that we were near Foxton beach.
Top Tips for Beach Walking
Beach walking is great fun but quite different from trekking up through the forest. To get you through your long beach walk, I have put together a handy list so you don’t keel over in the heat, get burned to a crisp or get jellyfish stung feet.
You are most welcome.
- Drink lots of water as it is unlikely you will get under any shade. Staying hydrated is essential to avoid sunstroke.
- If you can, walk on wet sand as it is firmer underfoot if you are going for a longer period of time. Softer sand is great if you want to burn more calories but it gets tiring much faster.
- Pay attention to the tide and make sure to check high tide and low time tides before you go. Metservice is a good website to check if you are New Zealand based. Tide Forecast is an international site that you can check for other locations worldwide.
- Don’t turn your back on the surf, even if it looks mild.
- If you are taking your doggy pal, check the local bylaws to see if he or she is allowed to frolic in the sand with you.
- Wear good shoes. This will protect your feet from things such as bluebottles, glass, sharp rocks and debris. Shoes will support your foot as well. However, don’t wear your best pair as you will be cleaning sand out of them for the rest of their days.
- Have fun! Keep an eye out for fun shells and other sights along the way. We saw a washed up small shark on the beach, driftwood structures dotted along at regular intervals and the occasional catch from a fisherman.
- Plaster on sunscreen and pop on a hat. Be sun smart
- Take a peek at these top tips for summer hiking
I love beach walks but my soul feels at home in the bush. In saying that, it’s always nice doing something different, having a change of scenery. It was a lovely afternoon’s walked topped off with ice cream from the local dairy (corner shop for those non-kiwi’s) in the sun.
Nothing beats sandy toes, windswept hair and sunkissed shoulders. Only slightly sunkissed shoulders though. No one likes enthusiastically sunkissed shoulders reminiscent of an elder aunty at a family wedding.
Beach crawls are also a fun summer activity. Have you done one yet?
Other water based hikes
- Beehive Creek, Pohangina Valley
- Coppermine Creek, Ruahine Range
- Iron Gate Gorge, Ruahine Range
- Otarawaiwere Beach, Bay of Plenty
- Limestone Creek Glow Worm Caves, Ruahine Range
Other hikes in the area
- Field Hut and Table Top, Tararua Range
- Kapakapanui Track, Tararua Range
- Sledge Track, Palmerston North
- Platinum Mine Loop Track, Palmerston North
- Manawatu Gorge Loop Track, Palmerston North
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