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Visitors to New Zealand often remark upon our unspoiled beaches. Neither blockaded by high-rise buildings nor patch-worked with beach towels, you may well find yourself in glorious solitude. There’s nothing quite like a stroll on the sand, where there’s room to move, to think and to dream, with the bonus of sunrise and sunset.
Himatangi Beach community
Although close to the capital and a host of small towns, the western coastline of the lower North Island offers ample opportunity for a wander along a quiet beach. Himatangi, near Foxton, is one of them.
A close-knit community of around 400 people, Himatangi Beach settlement is a classic of its kind. Its social hubs are the school bus stop, playground, café and Cosmopolitan Club. Its heart is the beach, which the locals have largely to themselves for most the year. Come summer, however, it’s a magnet for visitors who are lured by the secrets in the sand.
A huge sand dune
Himatangi, you see, is a special beach, because it’s backed by the largest sand dune in New Zealand. Part of a 6000-year-old expanse of sand stretching 200 kilometres from Patea to Paekakariki, the Himatangi dune swells to 18 kilometres at its widest point.
That makes for a massive sandcastle, although it’s quad-biking that attracts many folk to the area. On a good day Himatangi hosts rumbles of bikers, who duck and dive around the lunar landscape and along the big, long beach. It’s heaps of fun for riders of all abilities, as I can attest from my own amazing adventure during a recent stay.
Himatangi Beach Holiday Park
I was guided into the duneland by Dennis from Himatangi Beach Holiday Park, a lovely spot just a pebble’s throw from the beach. It has a good grassed tenting area, plenty of powered sites, and smart new cabins. It’s also home to a clutch of super-cute caravans, cleverly converted into baches by their owners who are obviously no strangers to ‘No. 8 wire.’ Lovers of Kiwiana will find eye-candy here.
The park’s caravan owners aren’t the only ones with DIY on their minds. Dennis and his wife Margaret have been continuously upgrading the place since they bought it in 2003. It’s as neat as a new pin, with communal facilities as trim as you’d find anywhere in New Zealand.
Recent additions include a large events room, which has a big screen for movie nights or can be set-up for get-togethers and parties. Margaret and Dennis are excellent hosts, the relatively small size of their park ensuring that personal service is guaranteed. ‘Our office is open as long as we’re up,’ they say.
A sweet corner of the country
The Himatangi signpost, off State Highway 1, is just one of those suggestions that the traveller may never heed. Those who do will find a very sweet corner of the country. With its magical duneland and beach offering decent fishing, surfing, swimming and sunsets, it’s perfect for a laid-back break.
Himatangi Beach is 7 kilometres off SH1 between Foxton and Sanson. It’s two hours’ drive to Wellington, 30 minutes to Palmerston North, and 35 to the delightful agricultural town of Feilding.
Himatangi Beach Holiday Park
30 Koputara Road
+64 6 329 9575
Proud members of the New Zealand Holiday Park’s Association
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