The Shambhala

Trip Start Sep 09, 2004
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of New Zealand  ,
Thursday, February 15, 2007


If you want to try the world's shittest Indian, go to Motueka. We stayed there last night (not at the Indian mind, in Motueka.)

We went in following an appetite-building perusal of the township on foot, consisting mainly of one long main road lined with the usual amenities. We stopped to watch the sun go down at happy hour and got to see a bit of a scuffle between two of the local youths, one who's behaviour was so pathetic I honestly expected a dinner lady to turn up and lead him away by the ear. Tit.

This morning we took the monstrous drive over to Takaka (the emphasis is on the 'Ta' by the way) which involves a long and deliberate snaking up into a giddy altitude teeming with awesome scenery. Once you make it over the hump you have to snake back down in a low gear, all the way down the other side and into the village itself. The map's ridiculously deceptive here. Takaka could only be a fingernail away from Motueka and Nelson yet it soaks up a good hour and half out of your day. The view en route is worth it though, it's a beautiful part of the country.

Takaka and Motueka sit either side of the Abel Tasman National Park, both providing access to some spectacular beaches. Much of it is unspoiled and boasts the classic white sands and crystal clear emerald waters, as well as providing a playground for seals and dolphins. It's paradise out here.

Upon our arrival we checked out a potential camp spot before continuing on up to Farewell Spit, stopping briefly en-route for a snicky-snacky-snoo at a superb little eatery called 'The Mussell Inn'. It's basically an old house in the woods which has been tidied up and converted into a bit of a themed bar-cum-restaurant. The atmosphere was fantastic and the food superb. The mussel chowder and garlic loaf is to die for and at $9 it's a steal, a perfect belly-warmer for checking out the edge of the land.

The Farewell Spit is that huge elongated sandbar shaped curiously like a kiwi's beak at the northern tip of the south island. It stretches for miles and is home to thousands of 'migratory waders from the Arctic tundra', an absolute paradise for bird lovers. It's also a dark and sombre location for the masses of pilot whales who end up beaching themselves here so often, a huge ongoing problem apparently.

The weather wasn't playing ball today but the presence out there was superb, especially the additional jaunt we took over to Cape Farewell - the northern most point of the south island - a real rugged and weathered 'end of the earth' location. Spot on..
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