It is a short walk from our hostel to the bus stop, and from there just about half an hour to the beach. A century ago the area was deserted, with just the hangman's cottage at the far end. Now it has a row of smart looking low-rise houses from end to end. The beach itself is a long stretch of beautiful white sand, not too crowded on a weekday this time of year. As per what we had read it wasn't full of posers, the ambiance was chilled and relaxed. The sea is shallow, but cold (compared to Vietnam) and with strong currents. There were enough waves for the surfers, but by the shore they were small enough for us to play around with.
After all that walking both kids fell asleep in the bus on the way back. We have to get them up to speed on walking because we want that to be the number one activity in New Zealand. Otherwise we are going to have to spend a fortune renting bikes.
Esther has written an article on responsible tourism (in Spanish) for one of the blogs in El Pais, Spain's leading newspaper, and just had it published.