Tunnel beach is named, for one of three, or all three features of tunnels, I’m not sure. When approaching the beach a large natural bridge, or tunnel, sits above the blue-green pacific the waves churn below and beat at its sides. After we pass this the next tunnel we come to is one through which we must walk, if we want to actually get to the beach, it’s long and steep and cave-like inside. Lastly, there is a cave on the beach, which reaches deep into one of the sandstone rocks, it’s tunnel shaped but doesn’t have an end from what I could tell, although there are rocks pilled up in the back, so it’s hard to know if it is a true tunnel or not.
Once we reach the bottom of the dark stairs- the ones in the tunnel, they were carved into the rock. Giant columns of sandstone loom over the little beach. My gaze was drawn almost instantly upwards. Pillars stand high creating a wall of color on one side. A behemoth rock sits at the other side of the little stretch of sand, sheltering the southern end of the beach. The sun shines and the wind blows and the gulls play in the water- the tiny stretch of sand where your only escape is through a tunnel of steep stairs. The crystal clear pacific reflects the rocks. It’s beautiful. The colors of the rocks and the sea are stunning. Though the exit makes the whole thing a bit eery. Don’t linger too long- high tide may block your the out, and the pacific is no gentle giant, not here, here she is rough with waves that will carve the stones and cliffs surrounding. We did not linger too long, we relaxed on the beach and enjoyed the sea air, then we climbed back up the long dark stairs and back up the trail. Onto another day in Aotearoa- New Zealand- land of the long white cloud.