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Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Ahu Ahu - a black diamond by a blue sea

I'd heard about the black sand on New Zealand's west coast but I couldn't quite imagine what it would be like in real life. Not my cup of tea I'd thought to myself, being biased. I lived and love the chalk white sand of Jervis Bay on Australia's eastern seashore. It's my kind of sand. Dazzling, pure and whiter than white.

So I wasn't expecting real sand and I wasn't expecting it to be black black and I wasn't expecting it to be diamond bright, or to sparkle and glint at me, with or without the sun. It took my breath away. It's beautiful, it's a shock to all the senses.

Fresh water streams from nearby Mt Egmont lose momentum as they meet the beach, spreading out in ripples across the smooth, untouched, black surface into the sea. Fat seagulls squawk from little and large rocks that litter the water's edge. No-one else is here. I think of Longfellow's “I hope to join your seaside walk, saddened and mostly silent with emotion, not interrupting with intrusive talk, the grand majestic symphonies of ocean”.

Our villa, one of five – the Ahu Ahu Beach Villas. It's thoughtfully designed, under-stated, private and provides everything we need. We meet up with the owners, three nights running. David & Nuala. They generously offer freshly caught tuna and crayfish with homemade marinades and sauces. David even cooks our cray. We're speechless. Words don't come to extoll their virtues.

Ahu Ahu is roughly five hours drive south of Auckland and five minutes from Oakura near New Plymouth. Mt Egmont's viewing platform and climbing station is thirty minutes away. Ahu Ahu Beach Villas are a magic place to stay. Three days was not long enough. Check their website for more details

David's marinade for (luminous pink) seared tuna

sesame seed oil
sweet chilli sauce
soy sauce
lemon infused rice bran oil
lemon juice

David's aioli sauce for the tuna and crayfish

crushed garlic
sour cream
chopped basil
lemon juice
lemon infused rice bran oil