The walkers have a shorter trip today – 8kms up and down along the coast, past Seal Cove – though every cove has seals on this coast.
Arriving at Stony Bay is like we have stepped into a kind of hobbiton – funky small buildings placed in beautiful gardens.
There is a pool table with paint pots to catch the balls, two fire baths to relax after the day, a fire pit to gather around in the evening. No electricity and definitely no cell phone reception.
I spied one camper wandering around holding his cell phone up to the sky, and looking bewildered as if he has never been anywhere without a cell phone coverage.
A beautifully formed shower room with one wall a tree, a ‘museum’ hut, a store hut with a fridge for campers and a fridge full of wonderful things to buy – beer and wine, cheese and meat, and there are fresh eggs, veges, fruit to buy – you don’t need to carry any food.
The Armstrong family have lived here since 1891 and you can see it is a place that has been loved. The buildings are set in a beautiful sheltered valley surrounded by trees and alive with birdsong and the flap of the heavy wings of Kereru (NZ wood Pigeon) launching themselves into the sky. Another month and the orchard fruit will be ready to pick.
At dusk we take the short walk to the stony beach with colonies of seals at both ends. Hoiho – yellow eyed penguins also visit here, but despite a close eye on the shoreline, we do not spot any coming ashore. We sit and listen to the young seals frolic and fight, and hear the stones being rolled about by the tide as it surges in.
A sumptuously provided honesty shop has all the food and wine you need for sale – so no need to rely on dried tramping food here. After a relaxing soak in the outside baths, we gather for a wine around the fire pit, before enjoying a beautiful meal in this idyllic setting.