Starting Point: Kaiteriteri
Ending Point: Moteuka
Kilometers traveled: 211
Posted late due to lack of internet connectivity
Today we decided to cross over Takaka Hill and spend the day in the Golden Bay area. So we headed up and over the mountain and headed as far north as we could get. We ended up in Farewell Spit, the largest natural sandbar in the world. Farewell Spit is also a Nature Reserve and Bird Sanctuary with limited access to most of it. You can walk about 4 km of the beach there without a permit, which is what we did. We drove up through Golden Bay and parked on the inner beach side. We wandered on that side for a bit, then crossed the spit to the ocean side and walked down to Fossil Point. We passed loads of oystercatchers along the way. Turns out it is breeding season for them so there were loads of nests up in the rocks and cliffs near the beach. I apparently got a bit too close to one and the mama bird dive-bombed me twice – a warning to stay away. Must not have liked the look of me in my big straw Panama hat. I think the guy ahead of us was messing with her when he passed and she was feeling anxious. But there is nothing quite like having an angry bird with a very long strong sharp beak fly right at you. Scary!
Fossil point is a popular place for seals to come and frolic in the waves and bask in the sun on the rocks or the beach. And one wandered up out of the surf while we were there. We watched him for a bit, but then the big eco tour bus came by and scared him off. So we headed back down the beach and over the dunes to our car for a picnic lunch.
After that, we stopped off at Te Waikoropupu Springs. Pupu Springs (as they are more commonly called here) is the largest freshwater spring in Australasia, and the clearest water in the world. You have an underwater visibility of 63 meters, which is about as clear as you can get. We wandered the track around the springs and spent a lot of time on the viewing platforms looking at and photographing the water. It’s very colorful because you can see all the plant and animal life underwater. It reminded me of an impressionist painting. The springs are waahi tapu (sacred) to the Maori. In Maori tradition, the springs are waiora (the purest form of water), which is the spiritual and physical source of life. The springs are a protected place, and you cannot touch the water at all as they are trying to protect it from didymo infestation. I like to think that we also don’t touch them as a means of showing respect for the sacredness of this place. It was beautiful.
After that we wrapped up our day and headed on to our holiday park at Moteuka. To our happy surprise, the campground had a hot tub, and our fee for the night included 30 minutes of time in it. So we soaked our weary bodies and then ate yummy beef schnitzel sandwiches for dinner. Woohoo for gourmet cooking on the road.
Our plan for tomorrow is to head West to Westport, along the Tasman coast. It’s a slightly larger town and we want to see Skyfall, the new James Bond movie. It just came out here today so we’re hoping they will be showing it when we get there.