Story: Southland places

Te Waewae Bay

Grey sand beach with stones and driftwood with rough seas and grey sky in the background

Te Waewae Bay, Southland.

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Contributed by Murray Doyle

The rugged south coast of Southland has always had a special attraction for us, and on this return trip we stopped at a delightful spot at Te Waewae Bay to view the vast ocean.

We had been here years ago with our three girls while we were living in Invercargill in 1972, and on one of our picnic outings, we had walked down the hillside to this same beach. It was a pleasant spot for our family on that sunny day in the short summer.

We had struggled through the barbed wire fence at the roadside and stumbled down the rough track to the narrow foreshore. The beach was rugged, with patches of coarse grey sand and large stones interspersed along its length as far as the eye could see. We threw stones into the surf, dug pools in the sand and gathered gemstones polished by an eternity of relentless action by the waves.

Our return trip brought back all the memories of those distant years. This was a wild untamed coastline, and it was no place to be during a winter storm, but today it was at its placid best on this rare windless spring day. The gentle swell created a uniform pattern of waves that washed up the terraces of beach gravel and dragged the stones gently back into the surf. We did the things we did years ago and made flax darts that we hurled down the beach. Things here had not changed much since our first visit. It remained an unheralded scenic gem with no signs of human intrusion, or capitalistic development. It was much the same as the creator had intended it to be.

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How to cite this page:

David Grant, 'Southland places - Western Southland', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 19 July 2024)

Story by David Grant, updated 25 May 2015