Warning: A non-numeric value encountered in /home/twotrave/public_html/wp-content/themes/Builder-Cohen/lib/builder-core/lib/layout-engine/modules/class-layout-module.php on line 499

Taking in the North of the South

With our first taste of the South Island showing us spectacular scenery, we could tell we were in for even more stunning natural beauty as we travelled North West toward ‘Golden Bay’.

Aside from its lovely beaches and seaside views, Golden Bay also has quite a colourful history. It was first called Murderers’ Bay by Abel Tasman – who discovered New Zealand – because some of his crew were captured and eaten by the local Maori tribe when they went on land to forage for food. It was later renamed Golden Bay during the gold rush of the 1850s.

Aside from its lovely beaches and seaside views, Golden Bay also has quite a colourful history. It was first called Murderers’ Bay by Abel Tasman – who discovered New Zealand – because some of his crew were captured and eaten by the local Maori tribe when they went on land to forage for food. It was later renamed Golden Bay during the gold rush of the 1850s.

We made our way, passed many outstanding coastal viewpoints and quaint countryside towns, to the northernmost tip of the peninsular to see Farewell Spit – a 30km long sand spit that is home to a huge array of local wildlife. Unfortunately, no one is able to just walk on to the spit without being on an official tour (because it’s a place of huge ecological importance), so we took in the view from Cape Farewell – the huge granite cliffs overlooking the spit.

The view from cape farewell is impressive as the sea crashes into the rocks below

The view from cape farewell is impressive as the sea crashes into the rocks below

Getting to the Cape was quite entertaining as the road went directly through farmland, complete with farm animals, and Dale had to try out his hand at shepherding so that we could get through!

Hmmm... how do we get through here...

Hmmm… how do we get through here…

Unfortunately, the sea spray was obscuring most of the spit when we arrived, but we appreciated the view all the same.

The spit is over there somewhere. Apparently, on a clear day you can see the entire thing stretching away into the distance

The spit is over there somewhere. Apparently, on a clear day you can see the entire thing stretching away into the distance

Before we left, we also took a quick look at the nearby Wharariki Beach – a place that has a reputation for dramatic rock formations and arches.

The beach was a little walk away through the rolling country hills

The beach was a little walk away through the rolling country hills

When we arrived it was totally deserted and we had the entire beach to ourselves to explore hidden caves and take in the rugged beauty of this coast.

The beach was certainly beautiful and the fact that it was just us made it seem as if we were uncovering a secret place. It reminded us of a much quieter Cathedral Cove.

The beach was certainly beautiful and the fact that it was just us made it seem as if we were uncovering a secret place. It reminded us of a much quieter Cathedral Cove.

We even found a friend, although he was quite large, a little smelly and a bit scary.

When we got too close, this guy gave out a huge growl

When we got too close, this guy gave out a huge growl

As we made our way back down the coast toward Abel Tasman National Park – yet another place renowned for gorgeous beaches and stunning scenery – we stopped off at Te Waikoropupu Springs to look at “the world’s purest water”.

The water from these springs is always a cool 11 degrees Celsius and, if you were under the water you would be able to see 63 metres ahead – it’s that clear!

The water from these springs is always a cool 11 degrees Celsius and, if you were under the water you would be able to see 63 metres ahead – it’s that clear!

The water is also around 10 metres deep, but it looks like you could touch the bottom easily because it’s so clear.

The water is also around 10 metres deep, but it looks like you could touch the bottom easily because it’s so clear.

For comparison, the water that we snorkelled in when we were in Brazil had a visibility of 40 metres. Unfortunately snorkelling’s not allowed here because the spring is sacred to the Maori, but at 11 degrees maybe that’s for the best…

When we reached Marahau – the gateway to Abel Tasman National Park – that afternoon, we decided to make the most of the sunny weather and try our hands at paddle boarding.

Paddleboading fun!

Paddle boarding fun!

A cross between kayaking and surfing, it took us both a while to get used to and both of us ended up in the water on more than one occasion!

Standing up...

Standing up…

Falling down...

Falling down…

We were totally shown up by our paddle boarding instructor’s dog, Kelly, who was a total natural. “Don’t worry” said our instructor, Daryl, “She’s been doing this a lot longer than you!”

Kelly the amazing paddle boarding dog

Kelly the amazing paddle boarding dog

The next day we were up early to catch a water taxi into the national park, where we would do one of the walking trails along the coast back towards Marahau. We were just expecting to be dropped off along the circuit stops, like you would on a bus, but the ride itself was quite entertaining. When we caught the taxi, we the boat was on the back of a trailer being pulled along the road by a tractor and, when we were lowered into the water, we were taken for a quick visit to Split Apple Rock and a spot where we could see fur seals basking in the sun before being taken to the first scheduled stop.

It's a strange sensation to board a boat that gets pulled along down the road

It’s a strange sensation to board a boat that gets pulled along down the road

We were glad we got to see Split Apple Rock too. I had thought we'd be able to Paddle Board to it the day before, but Daryl told us we weren't quite ready to go that far!

We were glad we got to see Split Apple Rock too. I had thought we’d be able to Paddle Board to it the day before, but Daryl told us we weren’t quite ready to go that far!

When we found our way to the start of the path, we bounced along happily, taking in the beautiful scenery of the sandy bays and forested granite cliffs all around us.

Abel Tasman National Park

Abel Tasman National Park

The walk was a very pretty one, complete with wonderful sweeping views of the coast and occasional waterfalls, which acted as picturesque places to stop and rest.

Just one of the beautiful beaches on the way

Just one of the beautiful beaches on the way

And another...

And another…

A huge green lake made by a nearby waterfall

A huge green lake made by a nearby waterfall

Apart from the beaches at the very beginning, we had thought that the path would lead us along the other beaches in the park, but unless you had time to go on a detour for a few hours (which we didn’t), there wasn’t a lot of beach access along the trail. Even more disappointingly, a lot of the time the trees and hedges along the path obscured the views we had come to see. Although when there was a break in the foliage the vista was spectacular.

A view from the trail

A view from the trail

At one point the path opened up completely and we had a glimpse of this remarkable panorama

At one point the path opened up completely and we had a glimpse of this remarkable panorama

Golden Bay and Abel Tasman National Park were certainly beautiful and we would have liked more time (particularly in Abel Tasman NP) to relax on the beaches and take in the atmosphere a little more, but the road was calling us and we were due for a visit to the rugged and wild West Coast…

Comments

  1. Dear Kirsty I have just read your blog on Able Tasmin . It reminded me of how happy I was when we sat on the beach there relaxing on the beach after such a wonderful holiday I was so happy . You always seem to have such fun were ever you go I am so happy for you . Able Tasmin was the culmination of the trip for us , I can’t help feeling that it would be a little. down hill for you after there were many interesting things to come across but non as beautiful. Lots of love Mumsee Ps fabulous photo’s again.

    Sent from my iPad

    >

    • Yes, Abel Tasman is a beautiful part of the world. We really enjoyed our time there and would have loved longer so we could have relaxed a bit more and maybe done more than a one day hike. Kayaking around the beaches seemed like an amazing thing to do that we didn’t have the time for too!
      Don’t you worry about what’s coming next – there’s lots of stunning scenery and exciting adventures still to come before leaving NZ!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *