181111 – On the beach

Day: 006
Date: Sunday, 11 November 2018
Start: Nelson
Finish: Lake Monibeong Camp
Daily Kilometres: 22.4
Total GSWW Kilometres: 151.2
Weather: Mild and mostly sunny
Accommodation: Tent
    Breakfast: Egg & bacon sandwich
    Lunch: Curried egg &lettuce sandwich
    Dinner: Rehydrated classic beef curry
Aches: None really
Highlight: It was a short day, but I feel like I’m getting back into the hiking groove.
Lowlight: None really
Pictures: Click here
Map:  Click here for Google Map


I slept well at the Pinehaven Motel which, though it had seen better days, seemed well cared for by the proprietors who had also looked after me. After a grey start, the skies had cleared by the time I had eaten my bacon and egg sandwich, and I set out around 7:45am on a beautiful clear and sunny day.

The first few kilometres were along a very quiet road to the ocean beach, where I turned left and began my plod eastwards into the rising sun. The beach was uninhabited, save for nesting seabirds, but was well-populated by clumps of seaweed that were being washed up by the relentless and loud surf. It was easy enough to avoid the seaweed and the sand was generally firm, making the walking quite easy. Occasionally I had to walk briskly up the beach to avoid my boots getting wet from a larger than usual incoming wave, and later in the day, I had to make a hasty scramble up a sand bluff to avoid a big wave, but I stayed dry.

The beach was randomly littered with jetsam of all kinds – bottles, nets, rope, floats large and small, pallets – which was sad, but it didn’t dominate the wild coast, which was an awesome sight. Here and there, there were some rocky outcrops, but generally it was beach as far as the eye could see for the first couple of hours.

Then the trail climbed on to the limestone shelf above the beach for some kilometres which was a radical change. The sea could still be glimpsed, but the stark landscape with bare orange/grey rocky shelves intermixed with sandy hollows was desert-like.

After a brief return to the beach, I chose the inland route to Lake Monibeong, my destination for the day, as an alternative to staying on the beach. It was different country again, bordered by large sand dunes on the right and distant forests on the left, the trail passed through a mostly flat area that could once have been a larger lake. The scrub vegetation was thick and the sunny and warm afternoon made me very conscious of snakes. Sure enough, I surprised a very big brown one as I reached the shore of Lake Monibeong, but it seemed as startled as me and quickly took off into the undergrowth. No chance for a picture.

I reached the campsite about 2:40pm to find Cath and Ben, my campmates from two nights ago, already in residence. I had seen fresh footprints on the beach and suspected they might be in front of me. It was an early finish on a very warm day and I had an easy afternoon, including some reading and a walk down to a different part of the very clear lake.  I can tell I’m a little sunburnt after today, so might have to get the hat out tomorrow, which is forecast to be hotter (and better for snakes!).

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