Mokau is, apparently, known for an abundance of whitebait during the months of September to November. During this time the whole place is packed with people looking to catch them and, presumably, try and make some money as I am constantly surprised at how much they cost. 
We didn't go during these months, opting for a beautiful and very quiet two weeks in January instead. 
Mokau is also one of those places that most people will stop at to break up the journey when heading to or from New Plymouth. They'll stop and maybe grab a whitebait fritter, fish and chips or just a coffee before heading on their way. What they haven't realised is that Mokau beach is one of the most incredible black sand beaches in New Zealand and it goes on for miles and miles of stunning beauty. Just down the road The Three Sisters stacks  are  constantly battered by the incoming tide and all along the coastline are caves to explore......oh yeah, and hang around until the sun sets to simply kick back and take it all in safe in the knowledge that most people will just pass it by. 
Take the secondary roads and go exploring where you will find native bush, amazing limestone rock formations and spectacular views......hang on, what am I doing, if people start to find out about this place then it won't be so quiet when we go back.....and we will be back :-). 
Hopefully these pictures of the area do it some justice.
The blackest sand I have ever seen on a borrow a line from Scott Cook who writes NZ Frenzy 'If the All Blacks had a beach, this would be it!'
There are numerous valleys along the coastline carved out by the rivers
These are the Three Sisters rock stacks just south of Mokua and only accessible at low tide. Cliffs are battered by waves and you can hear the boom as they crash in at high tide
'Elephant Rock' near the Three Sisters. Honestly, I have not been playing in Photoshop this huge rock formation really looks likes an elephant lumbering out of the sea.
One of many tunnels and caves that we explored in the area. This one, like the majority of them, was big enough to easily walk through!
The West Coast certainly has some amazing sunsets to capture
Raglan is a surf mecca for the area and I was lucky enough to capture Larry Fisher one of the Raglan Area Surf School instructors practising his moves just off the coast.
A gravel road takes the more adventurous from Raglan to Kawhia along the coast road. This image was taken at the end of a wooden walkway that stopped at the top of a vertical drop of around 80-100 meters with this view....good job there was a barrier!!
Marokopa Falls off of the Te Anga Road are stunning. A drop of around 30 meters has to be seen to be believed.....and amazingly, it seems that hardly anyone knows about it!
The caves in the Waitomo area are simply amazing.
Another beautiful cave wrought from the limestone over thousands of years. Big enough to walk through, but painful if you don't see a stalactite in the gloom!
A stroll along one of the many west coast beaches we visited during the two weeks stay in the area
With such amazing scenery everywhere it was important to remember to take an occasional simple image of the smaller aspects of the landscape
Looking back to Kawhia at the end of the day and a stunning trip along the coastal roads
Flax flowers in the last light of the day at Mokau
Someone had dropped this pile of Mussel shells on the beach which shows off the black sand nicely
A New Zealand beach just isn't complete unless it has a quad bike or two to ruin the peace and quiet.....did make for a funky image though :-)
This walkway goes under a natural bridge which seems to balance way above the heads of those below. One day it will all collapse, hopefully not when people are under it!
View out from another of a seemingly endless supply of caves and tunnels along the coast
For me this image of a random couple taking shelter from the sun on another beautiful beach on the West Coast sums up our two week adventure here perfectly, sheer bliss.
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