Discovering Oke Bay is like putting on a pair of pants that you haven’t worn for ages and finding a $20 note in the pocket. A sweet little pocket surprise. Whether it’s the first visit, or you have been there before, that view as you come across it gets you every time.
What you need to know
Famous for all sorts of reasons
If you haven’t been to Oke Bay, in Rawhiti yet, (and I might be in trouble with the locals here, but) you should definitely put that on your bucket list to visit. They say it is the favourite beach of global opera star Kiri Te Kanawa, who has a holiday home nearby. It is not uncommon for Dolphins and Orca Whales to frequent Oke Bay. My ultimate dream would be to swim with the dolphins! This is some what the norm for some living around these parts, but not for me, yet!
Oke Bay, Rawhiti, is quite out of the way for most people. So make sure if you do visit, you come prepared, as the next nearest town is Russell, 30 mins away. Rawhiti itself has a lot to offer for the usual holidaymaker. With water taxis, boaters, campers, hikers and beach-goers, it can be quite the hub for the leisurely. During the summer, there is a pop-up shop at a very popular and busy Marae/campsite in Rawhiti. They sell a few treats like ice-creams, ice-blocks, coffee, some cool drinks, hot chips, etc. I am pretty sure I saw a few portaloos’ around here, over the summer months, otherwise, yep good luck with that one.
Some people connect with Oke Bay as it is the start of the famous, Cape Brett Walking Track. You can read about my experience of Cape Brett here.
Heading there with the kids…
You know those times, where you feel like you have spent the last few days, repeatedly saying, “in a minute”…every time your kids ask you to do something with them? If you don’t have those days, then I salute you! Given that, this trip was guilt-driven, to put things down, and go and do something for and with Mstr 5 and Mstr 3. It’s in these times, that I am reminded, the blessings that come from being in this season of having a small tribe.
Lately, I have learned a lot about “child-led play” through our wonderful Playcentre. It has really challenged some of my thinking on how we go about this “play business” daily. So as I let my children lead the way on today’s adventure, here are some of the clever and FREE ways of play they initiated us on.
7 simple ways for kids to explore their natural playground
1) Run up the stairs.
The kids love these stairs. Its a pretty good climb, and they love to try outrun each other. Show who’s the strongest and all that…I am especially proud of Mstr 3 for NOT asking me to carry him up those stairs now, getting my self to the top is effort enough.
Staircase to Oke Bay.
Respectfully, this staircase is also the entrance to a local Urupa, (burial grounds where their tupuna rest and other sacred and historic sites.) Being mindful of this, and where you park your vehicle, at the bottom of this staircase, allowing traffic to still get past either side of the road, will be appreciated by many.
Then Bam! At the top of the stairs, just as you catch your breath, your breath gets taken away again, when that view hits you!
Race you down the other side!
Proceed with caution here, this track is steep. Remembering also, what goes down, must then again come back up…
2) Draw in the sand
If you are lucky enough, most likely in the quieter seasons, be the first ones to draw on the clean slate of pure white sand.
3) Discover treasure!
Someone had woven this beautiful flax flower (or putiputi) into some of the dry flax. The boys thought it was pretty cool. We left it there for someone else to enjoy. They also enjoy finding things like refined sea glass, you can find all sorts of colours, and of course some pretty cool shells.
4) Rocks! Climb them, hide under them, who’s the king of the castle?
Mstr 3 playing peek a boo under a rock.
Mstr 5 sat upon a rock he climbed, for quite some time, “enjoying the view”, he said, while twiddling a stick through his fingers.
5) Go rock pooling
Discover all sorts of amazing sealife
6) Playing with natural elements
The boys wanted to bring a toy down to the beach, but I am kind of glad they didn’t. It was so much fun watching them conjure up ideas with how to play with rocks, sticks, and water. Mstr 5 is always looking at what he can construct next, so he began to make a rock dam to stop the waves coming up, (as unsuccessful as it was, it was pretty amusing) then he turned a stick into a drainpipe so the water can drain out of it. When Mstr 5 wasn’t looking, Mstr 3 grabbed the stick and turned it into a fishing rod, claiming his next big catch of that cheeky Kingfish that keeps getting away.
7) Go home with happy and full hearts
Rope swings along the Rawhiti’s beaches.
The beach is by far my happy place. But it usually involves me on a towel, in a sunny spot, soaking up some rays, and ignoring the world around me. So I was sparked by my children’s own creativity. Come summer we will be swimming, snorkeling, and dodging the paddle boarders in these crystal clear waters. For today though, this was our take on a winters day out.
Until another day, thank you Oke Bay for providing a minefield of fun, enabling my little tour guides to show me the way. And thank you to my children, who teach me there is Joy in every day, we just have to go out and find it.
Children are a gift from the Lord; they are a reward from him. Psalm 127:3
Ko te whakatipuranga tenei o te mana rangahau, me nga matauranga katoa e pa ana ki te aoturoa me te taiao
“The child learns through active exploration of the environment”
Exploration is part of the Te Whariki strands in NZ Early Childhood Curriculum that is commonly used in PlayCentres across New Zealand