Baylys Beach is on the west coast of New Zealand, straight out from Dargaville. It’s a pretty, hilly seaside village that caters to holiday-makers and is very quiet at this time of year. We found the locals friendly and the surf wild. However, as with Mahuta Gap further south, the main attraction for us is the large sandstone hills that front the beach, providing a rugged playground for children and parents alike!

On Wednesday, we joined our friends at the beach where the kids could run around together. Katrina brought along home-made kites that the kids were flying to commemorate the death of James’ younger brother Charlie three years ago. It was a fun and special way to mark the day in this young boy’s mind.

Katrina with Sam and James, August 2011
Yesterday was a poignant day for James, and Katrina made a special effort to mark the occasion of his brother's death.

Brioni flying a kite, August 2011
We made easy-peasy kites from string tied to the handles of garbage bags. Kept on a short leash, they work really well in the brisk sea air.

Delaney, 19 months old, August 2011
Delaney loves to play at the beach.

Delaney at the beach, August 2011
A new, fun activity for Dell — removing her boots and filling them with wet sand.

Sandhills at Baylys Beach, August 2011
This great sandhill is a terrific playground for the children.

Aisha climbing the sand dunes, August 2011
It wasn't long before our girls were up the mountain-side.

Kids on the sandhill, August 2011
The kids were well-entertained by climbing up and down.

Brioni flying a kite, August 2011
While tied to the kites, our kids were easy to spot.

We spent the night parked on the roadside close to the beach and drove back down onto the sand the next morning where David took the girls up the sandhills again for more adventures at the top.

Baylys Beach, August 2011
A little creek crosses over the beach and empties into the ocean, providing another fun diversion for kids at Baylys Beach.

Driving onto Baylys Beach, August 2011
Gaining access to the beach is easy via the hard-packed sandy track that leads from the main road. I've seen cars drive *in* the creek that runs alongside the road in order to clean their undercarriage of any salty residue.

Delaney watching her sisters play, August 2011
It won't be long before Delaney will be fast enough to keep up with her three older sisters!

Aisha, Brioni and Calista climbing up the top of a sandhill, August 2011
David loves to explore more difficult terrain with our girls — and they are certainly eager for all adventures!

Girls in a cave, August 2011
At the top, the girls found a little cave carved out of the sandstone into which they could all fit.

Parked on Baylys Beach, 2011
From the top of the sand-mountain you can see our horse-truck parked on the beach, safely out of the way of the waves.

At the end of the day, the girls were worn out and quite dirty from the sand, so we sought hot showers from the camping ground at the top of the hill. The manager expressed surprise that we only wanted hot showers (and not accommodation) but let us pay for the showers only — at $3 each we think it was a bargain!

Baylys Beach has a nice vibe. The locals are friendly — there’s a cheerful pub that was still ticking along nicely, even in the middle of the week in the off-season. When we’re next back in this area, I know we’ll be making this a stop on our itinerary.