End of our South Island Adventure
Trip Start Dec 08, 2009
14Trip End Mar 15, 2010
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Last night we had a very nice lamb chop and salad barbeque dinner and went for a late evening walk through town (two blocks) and onto the beach. It was low tide, and the shells were just waiting for us to pick them up. We have scallop shells of every color and size. The beach was so serene.
This morning we made arrangements to take a 4-wheel drive tour of Cape Farewell Spit a very narrow bit of land about 35 km long and less than 2km wide at the widest point. It is a wildlife sanctuary and is a protected area. Only the two companies licensed by the Dept of Conservation (DOC) are allowed to drive onto the beach. You can only go when the tide is out; so the trip will be from 2:30 until 9:30 PM. We then went back down to the beach, which was now at high tide and walked along for a while
The trip to Farewell Spit was excellent. Our guide was very knowledgeable about the ecology and the wildlife. At Cape Farewell you can see the rock formation that is the most northerly tip of the South Island. On a clear day you can see Mt. Taranaki on the East coast of the North Island about 200 miles away. From the paddocks of Cape Farewell we drove over the dunes and onto the spit. About 68 varieties of migratory birds summer here. We saw Black Oyster Catchers with their chicks, Black Backed Gulls (Dominican Gulls) Stilts, Shags, Gannets, and White Fronted Terns. In the non-bird department we saw Southern Fur Seals, some with pups.
We stopped at the Cape Farewell Lighthouse for a cup of tea provided by the tour company. The company uses one of the three houses that were formerly inhabited by lighthouse keepers. The light is now automatic. On the return trip we stopped to climb a sand dune at the top of which we could see over into Golden Bay side of the spit. The sun was very low in the sky and we cast long shadows onto the dunes.
Back at Collingwood for a toasted cheese sandwich supper and a glass of wine. The perfect ending to a lovely day.
Tuesday, 19 January 2010
A couple we met at the motel told us about a beautiful beach north of here. After breakfast we set out for Wharaiki Beach. The drive is about 26km from Collingwood along a gravel road. When you can't drive any further, you walk up through a sheep paddock, over a ridge, and down the dunes to one of the most beautiful sights ever. It’s about a twenty-minute walk. There are caves and interesting stone formations on the beach and holes in the rocks for the water to come crashing through at high tide. The walk back to the car park was a bit more strenuous. Walking up the dunes is a one step forward, sink into the sand, and start again process. It was my cardio for the day. The rest of the day was quiet: reading, a nap, a two minute walk to the shop for an ice cream cone, a short walk on the beach, and, at low tide, taking a bucket and shovel and digging a small bucket of pippies (like small clams) for our evening meal.
Collingwood has been a wonderful three-day sojourn
Wednesday, 20 January 2010
We awoke to a cloudy day. It had rained overnight. The drive back over the Takaka Hill was slow and foggy. In the town of Takaka we stopped to have a look in the shops. There are quite a number of craftspeople there. I had read about a woman who makes jackets of felted Merino wool. The jackets are beautiful, and now one is mine! We stopped here and there at antique shops along the way and arrived in Nelson in the late afternoon. We had a walk through the center of the city and booked a room for the night. After a little rest we walked back through town to a very nice restaurant where they have stone grilled meals. They bring your meat on a very hot (800F) stone. You cook it at the table to your desired doneness. Delicious. We considered going to the movies after dinner, but the show didn’t start until after 9PM, and we didn’t think we could stay up that late!
Thursday, 21 January 2010
We awoke to gray skies and pouring rain
We stopped in Blenheim to get some groceries and were just getting ready to leave the car park when a woman pulled into the next space and hit our car. Nothing serious…we exchanged particulars and went on our way to Seddon and our friends Rob and Merodie Cameron. We got to their house before they did, found the key where they said it would be, and made ourselves welcome! We had a great time catching up with Rob and Merodie and showing the map on which we have highlighted our South Island route.
Friday, 22 January 2010.
Kate and Laura are 38 today. In honor of their birth and the fact that it is also the Cameron’s daughter Fiona’s birthday, we have had a quiet day at home. Buzz has been helping Rob and his builder erect a new woodshed. We talked to both Kate and Laura, I made lasagna for dinner tonight, and all is right in our world.
Saturday, 23 January 2010
Buzz and I took a little tiki tour to Blenheim and then back to Seddon along the Taylpr Pass Road
Ssunday, 24 January, 2010
We said our "goodbyes" to Rob and Merodie with the reminder that they owe us a visit since we have now been to see them twice. I think they are too much "homebodies" to travel so far, but you never know. We drove up to Picton and got the ferry back to Wellington. The crossing was
much more pleasant than on the way to the South Island three weeks ago. Still, we only spent a few minutes on deck preferring to have our picnic lunch and read our books on an inside deck looking out the window. From the Ferry terminal we drove the 30 minutes to Pinehaven and a warm welcome from Darcy and Phyllis Ross.