Down to Omaui Beach
“Right O little people, get in the car” is a statement that is heard often around our house. Willingly my two boys hopped in the car and put their seatbelts on, leaving me to struggle with camera bags, snack bag and hand-bag. When I answered ‘where are we going’ with my standard reply of ‘I have no idea’, the usual look passed between the two little people that can only be described as ‘what else is new’.
So off we went heading South. Now heading south in my part of the woods is pretty difficult because we are already so far south, that going further south would bring our final destination to the ocean and the end of our country, but never the less, south we went. I was half pie talking to myself when I said ‘oh, I wonder what’s down here’ and promptly turned off the main road. That got their attention, they stopped chattering and arguing just long enough to sit up and have a quick look as to where we were. Didn’t last long mind you as they were soon back to chatting away. Up and down some rapidly getting smaller roads we went, and for once I did follow the sign posts that said ‘Omaui Beach’. I guess we were off to Omaui Beach! Our destination turned out to be a mere 20km south-west of Invercargill and was originally a sealer and whaler village in the early 1800’s, because of the access to Fouveaux Strait. Omaui Reserve is 14 hectares of regenerating forest and overlooks the ‘New River Estuary’.
As we drove towards Omaui the road turned to a gravel road, causing my co-drivers to quickly enquire whether we were on someone’s farm. But seeing no loose life-stock I assumed we were ok and continued driving. Over the hill and down again, until finally one spectacular view! As soon as I parked the car the doors flew open and my kids were off. They are drawn to the beach as much as me so they never complain when we end up ‘just driving’ somewhere – destination unknown!
There is a walking track that leads to an elevated viewing platform, this walk takes about 30 right around, but we were happy enough to just wander around the very quiet and very clean beach. Again I was surprised that we were the only ones on the beach, it happens so often in this country that the only thing you share such beautiful locations with is the ‘locals’ (also known as wildlife). We aren’t about to complain though, we ran around and laughed until we couldn’t breathe – yes, even me, I tend to join in and become one with nature (or let the inner child out, I haven’t quite decided which sounds better). Who can ignore the sheer freedom ones feels when you are in such a location, so close to home? I still feel like a tourist when I discover these little tucked away spots that no-one ever talks about. We’ve already made plans to return when the weather is warmer, with a picnic basket and more family members. This is one secret location that screams out to be recognized for it’s isolated beauty yet close enough to town that allows you to quickly whip down to relax.
The car takes a beating from us as we tend to bring lots of sand, shells and other treasures with us, but I did draw the line at the big piece of smelly seaweed, I managed to persuade my youngest that it should stay on the beach. So pointing the car back slightly in the north direction I turned to ask if the kids had a good time, ‘obviously’ they said but they were hungry for Fish and Chips from Bluff! Who could say no to Fish and Chips from Bluff? Not us, that’s for sure. So a quick outing turned into two half day trips to some very beautiful locations just a stones’ throw away from Invercargill. No wonder when people ask me if I’m planning on staying around Southland I answer with a very certain ‘for sure!’, who could turn down a chance to live in such a diverse place?
Until my next travels !!