One of the group stops that stand out in my mind is Raglan and Whale Bay. After walking down the short path to get to the Raglan beach, I was shocked at how dark the sand on the beach.
I had never seen sand like that before (I took an extra sample of the sand to bring home as a souvenir). I sat down for a minute before picking up my geology bag and noticed that the sand was sticking to it. I soon realized it was actually the magnetic fragments in the sand sticking to the magnet inside the bag. I did not get to spend much time exploring the beach, but I did have time to help dig hole in the sand and see the dark placer layers left in the sand by storms. For the short amount of time that I spent on the beach, a lot of geology began to make sense. Upon learning about the close proximity of the source of sand I began to understand why there is less and less heavy minerals in the beaches as you move north from Raglan (it is more difficult to transport heavy minerals than sand, so the further from the source, the smaller the proportion of heavy minerals). I was also able to see some of the violet shells that someone had found. I haven't seen a shell that bright in color at any of the other beaches we have visited.
Upon leaving Raglan beach, we went to the Whale Bay Reserve to look around in the tide pools. As a kid who grew up looking around in tide pools, this will be one of the most memorable parts of the trip. I was able run around and pick up rocks and try to find as many species of flora and fauna as I could. I managed to find a good amount (including sea stars, urchins, crabs, chiton, limpets, algae and others) and based my Naturalist's Notebook assignment on trying to identify all of the organisms that I had documented. I learned more about New Zealand biology here than I did at any other site. I can now identify a number of intertidal species, but I wish that I had more to poke around in the tide pools. I am sure there was more for me to find if I had a bit longer to search.