Our accommodation in Collingwood was a beach-side bach called Beach End Cottage. A bach (for an Aussie or Brit, it’s pronounced like birch, but shorter) in Kiwi-speak is short for bachelor pad, but now is thought of as a holiday home.
In distant times, baches might be thought of as a simple beach-shack (aka SeaChange), and Beach End Cottage is a good example of one of these. On the end of a beach, away from town, set into the bush, an arms-throw from the water’s edge and with a neverending view of the bay. Nowadays baches can also be water-front resort holiday ‘houses’ (or is that just for the city slickers?).
Anyway, I’m glad that the bach was still there for us to experience. There are worse ways to experience Collingwood and Golden Bay, I’m sure.
The reward for traversing Takaka Hill is being able to visit beautiful Golden Bay. This wasn’t my first visit to the area, but previous visit was 14 years before, so I was curious as to whether the area had changed much. That is, become a Byron Bay kind of place, or had it retained its feeling of seclusion.
We stayed in the town the furthest way along the bay. It’s called Collingwood, and has no links to the Melbourne suburb of the same name other than being named after the same guy. Actually, I’m stretching the truth when I call Collingwood a town – it’s really a village.
That’s most of downtown Collingwood! It did start out quite big – a centre for its own gold rush in the late 19th Century, but a series of fires razed the town, and when the gold rush receded, so did much of its population. But its location as the sunniest spot in New Zealand and close to a slew of national parks makes it an adventure playground to those willing to brave the drive out.
From Nelson, we drove further into the north-west of the island. Our destination, the mystical Golden Bay. But to get there, we had to traverse the notorious Takaka Hill, which separates Golden Bay from the rest of New Zealand (for those who think that NZ isn’t isolated enough from the rest of the world).
The pass is around 791m high, but seems higher since we can see down to sea level a lot of the time. There’s Nelson in the mist!
At the top of the hill is Hawkes Lookout. Time to stretch and photograph the views.
We also met some of the local birdlife. The weka is a common flightless bird in these parts. They’re not shy but not mischievous either.
Hubby, ever the geologist, was interested in the rocks protruding from the hillside. They’re limestone. These hills are the crunch point between the two tectonic plates that Australia and New Zealand are on.
Being a bit of a Lord of the Rings fan back in the day, I thought these types of rocks look familiar. A bit of research uncovered that they did film in the general area, although much higher up (with the aid of helicopters). And probably in winter (we visited in early summer).