Even in the valley the road is still twisty, but then there's 10k of unpaved road hugging every countour of the hills up to Totaranui, with bare rock on one side and tumbling bush on the other. The beach is almost orange: the sand was rock five minutes ago. The water is blue but around the cliff egdes it's deep green.
Alas, the beach is most popular with sandflies.
Back at the main road we turn off for Pu Pu Springs, where the underground springs fills a sinkhole with amazingly clear water. You can see feet down and it looks like inches. A set of mirrors shows just how deep and clear it is - under the flat water is a deep slope studded with huge plats. The water dances with the force of the springs. Divers get a great view but diving is discouraged because the springs 'have cultural' significance' to the Maori, as the sign puts it. No feeling of sacred presence here as such, just a place that is utterly itself: I felt no divinity here but the waters themselves.