When we thought were weren't going to be able to get to Muriwai Beach, we began searching for an alternative. The devastation of Cyclone Gabrielle wasn't as serious south of Auckland.
We found Karioitahi Beach and began a conversation with Gary Hyde of Castaways Resort. I can't begin to explain how much help Gary was. More on that later.
Karioitahi Beach is about 30 minutes off the route from Auckland to Rotarua. The road literally runs onto the black sand beach. There's even a parking lot there.
While the beach was not as deserted as Muriwai Beach, everybody we saw could fit into one car. And the beach went on for miles.
As we explored just north of the parking lot, we discovered a waterfall. And a cow was peeping over the edge of the waterfall.
The Castaways Restaurant was just what we needed. The chef fixed a special pizza for the girls and a to order burger for our daughter.
And the view was pretty good.
My list of "magical" places in the world is pretty short. I just added one to it.