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.
Merry Christmas everyone. I hope you had a lovely (if perhaps cosy) time with your family.
Now, back to my 2018 trip to New Zealand. I must say that this reminiscence has been good for me. It’s providing me with a great opportunity to relive that trip and really cherishing it. I hope you’re enjoying these posts too.
We’re still in the Golden Bay area of New Zealand, and today we’re walking to Wharariki Beach, which is in the north-western corner of the region.
The beach is accessed via a walking track across some paddocks from the end of a dirt road.
We passed through some interesting coastal vegetation. The stream is brown due to the tannin in the water (like in Tasmania) and the bushes are flat as it’s almost always very windy in these parts.
It was however a fine, sunny, early summer’s day, so walking these paddocks was a pleasure.
One of the loveliest things to do on an extended beach break is the meander on the beach at all hours.
There was plenty of opportunity to do that in Collingwood as the town is on a huge sand spit.
One can wander about in all directions for hours upon end, often without seeing another soul.
Once on the sand, there were plenty of things to see. I was very interested in seeing what the sand hid and then consequently revealed when the tide receded.
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).
But the highlight for me is still Awaroa Lodge on a balmy winter’s afternoon, watching the tide rollup in and out of the estuary. Perfect.
We some interesting things around Awaroa – remnants of colonial machinery, interesting rock formations…
And rainforest streams.
We stayed two nights at Awaroa Lodge, that’s perched at the edge of a pretty estuary. It was lovely to be able to kick back after a day’s walk.
Crossings across the estuary is entirely determined by the tides. At low tide we can wade across in knee deep water. At high tide, a boat is needed.