We walked along Ngataki Beach which, on the face of it was quite and ordinary beach by New Zealand standards. However we made some discoveries I don't think either of us had seen elsewhere before:
The first was Holloway's Crystalwort, a small summer-growing annual plant unique (I think) to NZ which grows near the high tide on sandy beaches. It used to grow on beaches all down the East coast of the North Island but is now only found on the remotest beaches in the Far North. The tiny glistening lumps on the leaves make the plant appear as though it's been dusted with sugar - hence its name. Crystalwort is one of a small number of native plants which grows at high tide forward of the dunes. I may not be big or spectacular but it is a plant which makes NZ special and it's one more species heading for distinction. It also provides food for a range of native insects.
Then we came across Goose Barnacles. Not that I had a clue what they were never having seen one before. Katherine came to our rescue. She could not recall having seen one but remembered it from her school science book (a feat in itself in my eyes).
Lastly came a Porcupine Fish or Blowfish (because they intake water and blow themselves into twice their size or more just as if those spines were not enough to deter predators!)
I can't decide whether it looks surprised at being stranded or whether it's trying to tell me something. (It was, of course, well past either of those things!).