Walk a section of the west coast of New Zealand
So, it's actually a small section of the west coast! The Coastal Walkway is a 12.7km path than can be walked or cycled, even skateboarded along the coast from the town of New Plymouth.
The walkway goes from Port Taranaki, way in the distance of this photo! (The industrial chimney in this picture fascinated me as it's right next to a natural landmark. The chimney isn't used anymore but it has navigation lights at the top. Also used by the locals as an 'on the spot' weather report. If you can't see the chimney (because of fog) during the day, the airport is shut!) The rock is Paritutu Rock and can be climbed. The beaches are popular with local holiday makers and really popular with kite surfers (saw 2 kite surfing in a storm!!) and surfers in general. Lots of driftwood on the beach due to all the storm activity that hits the west coast. Not just a few small pieces but large logs!
As the walkway meanders up the coast, Mt. Taranaki can be seen in the distance.
Mt. Taranaki behind the golf course. The Tom Cruise movie The Last Samurai was filmed in New Zealand and Mt. Taranaki was used as a standin for Mt. Fuji, from this side, it very much looks like Mt. Fuji. From the other side, you can see the parasite volcano on Mt. Taranaki so the similarity ends.
The walkway crosses the Waiwakaiho River and this pedestrian bridge was purpose built. It's the Te Rewa Rewa bridge and I love the architectural design that went into it. It's placed so people can look across the bridge to Mt. Taranaki in the distance. The curves of the bridge can be either a whale skeleton (which is the image I see) or a crashing wave. The original design had the curves opening up in the other direction (towards the sea), it was turned around so that it opened up to Mt. Taranaki. I love everything about this design, it goes to show that modern architecture can be just as interesting and imaginative as historic architecture. (Excluding Brutalism, I hate the South Bank architecture in London!!)
So back to the pretty bridge!
The walkway is very popular with locals as well as visitors, there are campsites next to it as well as a caravan park. The bridge is a very popular photo spot, I had to wait quite a while to get pictures with no people in them! There was a large family group all wanting individual photos at one point! The walkway is well maintained, wheelchair uses were able to use it independently. I didn't walk the entire length, just a few kilometres, but probably the most scenic parts of it!