Sunday, 11 December 2011

New Zealand Tour. 23rd September 2011. Up Takaka Hill to Golden Bay and beyond!

Today we drove from Nelson to Golden Bay. To do this we had to climb the famous Takaka Hill.
Takaka Hill is the only way in or out of Golden Bay and the winding road that you have to drive to access this region road helps to maintain an air secrecy and isolation to this beautiful area. The region has an idyllic unspoiled coastline, the large Kahurangi National Park and the Pupu Springs. Takaka Hill was a challenge for the campervan and its driver, but the views of Nelson and the Tasman Bay from the top of the hill were worth the drive.
The Pupu Springs are the largest spring system in New Zealand and among the largest in the world. The water is the clearest water I have ever seen and it pumps out of the ground at an amazing speed. It was a shame that due to the waters being of cultural significance that you can not swim in the springs. The water is always 11.7 degrees Celsius and the underwater plants looked fascinating.
The Pupu Springs are the largest spring system in New Zealand and among the largest in the world. The water is the clearest water I have ever seen and it pumps out of the ground at an amazing speed.
We stopped for late breakfast at the Mussel Inn, but found that they only had Carrot Cake. The place looked a bit run down and in need of some good dynamic management..it did not live up to its Rough Guide reputation of ‘ you can always get a simple, fresh and wholesome meal’, I got a piece of slightly stale Carrot Cake!

We made our way to what I think was the best beach in New Zealand, Wharariki Beach. To get to this beach you have to walk, and its a lovely walk. There is a mapboard in the Wharariki car park that shows you the tracks you can follow, there are a few options and I chose the long track through fields of sheep and lambs, and a small wood before ending on the idyllic beach. The Wharariki beach is over a mile long and it is filled with dunes, rocks, caves, sea arches and islands...its a photographers dream.
We then drove a short way to pick up the walking track to Cape Farewell /Piller Point, this walks countryside was just like being in the South of England, and we did get a good view of Farewell Spit. This arc of sand is the longest natural sand bar in the world (they love these facts in New Zealand, longest, deepest ect). I then enjoyed a cup of tea and company of the owners at the Paddlecrab Cafe. We were going to stay overnight in the Golden Bay Area but due to it being out of season it was very quiet and many places were shut, so we headed back over Takaka Hill to the gateway to the Able Tasman National Park, the village of Kaiteriteri.
Here we booked in at the very large Kaiteriteri Beach Motor Camp. This camp is located on the beach, and as with all the Motor Camps in New Zealand had a choice of Cabins as well as places to put the campervans. There were large bathrooms, but you had to pay for hot water, a large kitchen and a few restaurants. However all the eating places shut at 17.00, in fact the whole place shut at 17.00! so we didn’t get to watch the rugby on TV or find a bar that was open...a quite night in then with a few ducks for company!