There’s a 2.5km road that curves around the entire bay here, leading from our house on the jetty, to the base of the mighty mountains. The road wiggles between houses and the sea, and the scene changes everyday. At the end of this beautiful bay, and across a frozen farmers field, is a spit of land where two white-sand beaches back onto one another, and that’s where we’re heading today.

The walk took us about an hour at a ‘leisurely’ pace (slipping on the icy road and stopping to photograph red barns). Everything was covered in frost and intricate little icicles which remained frozen all day. The spit of land actually had more than two beaches on it, but the others were just a few meters wide. There was a brutal wind which felt like a dry ice machine was being constantly sprayed in our faces. We battled our way through the wind and onto the beach which was a mix of gravel, dead coral, sand and colourful shells. Because this area is protected by islands, the water just gently lapped the shore and the frothy remnants of high tide had frozen on the beach. The sea was crystal clear and as we stood from a high rock, we could see fluorescent anemones, swaying seaweed and a boulder covered in pink coral.

From the beaches we had an amazing view looking up at the mighty peak that we see everyday from our kitchen window. It was great to see it not only from the base, but also side on, and it was one hell of a pointy peak. Much to our amazement some beautiful little homes were built right beneath it. Real estate along this stretch of coast seemed like a game of Russian roulette when the houses were built so close to a potential rock slide. But, with the risk of rocks aside, living here has many perks: very few neighbours, no road, endless sea and island views and the beautiful beaches. The trail ended here but we continued a bit to get a look at the back of this epic line of mountains.

Our host had recommended a hike up to a cave around here and it was actually very well signposted. It led us uphill towards the side of the mountain. As we gained some elevation we had fab views looking down on the beaches. With the sun so low, it’s hard to get an idea of what a tropical looking place this area is. The sea is so clear and in summer, when the suns high, the edges would all be a vibrant turquoise colour.

The trail soon became snow and ice covered and we had to grab any tree or branch we passed just in case we slipped. We finally reached a sign saying ‘Trolls Cave is 140m deep’, which gave me a shudder. The walk became even trickier, scrambling over snowy rocks, until we arrived at the cave entrance. It looked like it had a small opening but as we got closer we saw the ground sloped right down in front of us, revealing a large dark hole. You had to go down the steep, icy slope to enter the cave, and Craig admitted defeat and said even if we could get down there, we’d struggle to get back. So while he stared into the cave in disappointment, I stood behind him silently fist pumping the air, relieved that we didn’t have to go inside. I really hate caves.

A week later we got chatting to a local lady that works in our village shop. We told her the hikes we’d done so far and she found the cave one interesting and proceeded to tell us a story about it. About 30 years ago two planes crashed into the mountains close to the cave. The pilots died and most of the wreckage was removed. But last summer some tourists went inside the cave and took lots of photos. When they got back to the village they checked out their photos and behind the group of friends was a white figure by the ceiling!!!! So basically, the cave is haunted and I was even more relieved that we didn’t go inside!

On our way home the sun hit the mountain tops and we did our usual detour to watch the sunset. We actually found a better spot to watch it from as the first time we headed up this hill we thought the stairs were private property and bushwhacked through a gorge. So now we stood at the top of the stairs and all the islands were little black blobs under the bright, red sun.

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