We left Golden Bay and headed for the wild West Coast. Although it is generally less than 50km as the crow flies from Golden Bay to the West Coast, this area is so rugged that there aren’t any roads through the area, though it’s great for real outdoor types. A famous walking/hiking/tramping track, the Heaphy, passes through here and though beautiful, I heard it’s not a Sunday stroll by any means.
So who dares to live on the wild west coast? Only the hardiest of Kiwis – it’s wild and woolly most of the time in the west. There are towns scattered throughout, though it doesn’t get much larger than Westport, population a touch under 5,000.
Like a lot of Kiwi towns, it has its share of art deco public buildings, as the older buildings were all destroyed in an earthquake in 1929. Earthquakes are a common theme in New Zealand.
Close to Westport is Cape Foulwind, named by Captain Cook, who didn’t have very a good time on the West Coast.
At least now there’s a lighthouse to warn people away from the dangerous coast.
Once over the dunes, the beach stretched out before us.
We were on the windy west coast, and boy, was it windy. And everything was on a vast scale.
Our destination turned out to be these boulders of beach rock, as they contained fossils – shells that are remnants of the sea floor that existed during the Miocene period, approximately 10 million years ago.
We also had a little surprise when we searched for fossils.
Luckily, he was having a long nap and hardly stirred, else we would have been in trouble.
We are venturing out on one more walk in Golden Bay before we head off elsewhere. This walk is to the southern end of Farewell Spit. The spit forms the most northernly point of Golden Bay, and indeed, the South Island of New Zealand. It stretches out 26km into the sea, and being so exposed, it is the site of frequent whale strandings.
We didn’t venture to the far end of the spit as that requires a 4WD or a 6 hour tour. We did however venture to the end of another no-through-road and walked across some boggy paddocks.
Between the sea and the paddocks are some low dunes.
These trees give you an idea of how windy it gets in these parts (though it was pretty calm in the paddocks during our walk).
Happy New Year everyone! Let’s hope 2021 is at least a little better than its predecessor. Now back to our walk to Wharariki Beach.
After the paddocks came the dunes, and then the expanse of white sand beach.
There were other people there, but you wouldn’t call it a ‘crowd’, although for Golden Bay it might have been.
Hubby had fun exploring as the geology of the place was quite interesting.
Humans weren’t the only visitors here. There’s a little colony of New Zealand fur seals there.
This wasn’t my first visit to this beach. I did this walk way back in 2004 as well.