My plan for an early start to the day was hindered by some difficulty with paying for the 3 nights B&B in Nelson. I booked all my stays with a reservation agency and all worked fine in Wellington but in Nelson the host wanted my credit card details herself. After a long telephone call to the agency to convince her that I had already given these and payment would be made via the agency. A lesson learnt for my onward stays.
The route to Golden Bay is easy –you just keep going west along route 60, past the vineyards, orchards and diary herds that are a good part of this region’s economy. Its a great day for travelling –a cloud free sky and only the occasional other vehicle. My first stop is Mapua for coffee and a freshly baked muffin with harbour views and a photography gallery full of local shipping history. At this time of the year in the sunshine it was idyllic –I’m sure it gets very busy during the summer.
Soon I reached Motueka and along the deserted stony beach at high tide I spotted white faced herons, a pair of variable oyster catchers (they are black, just 4000 exist & only in NZ) and then a pair of white herons perched on a rusted wreck.
Onward to Takaka driving in and out of sun and shade over Marble Mountain with its 365 bends, tapestry of trees and 360 views. Near the summit a sign asks are you ready for a miracle –an indication of the alternative lifestyle in the Bay! Well, my miracle was Golden Bay coming into sight through the trees and Takaka Valley spread out below. Amongst the many things I now know I’ve forgotten about the three years I lived here is the beauty of that Valley as it sweeps seaward to Golden Bay.
Through Takaka, past Motupipi and I was soon at Heather’s house on Able Tasman Drive for another reunion. Heather and her family were our neighbours in Pohara Valley Road from 1957-1960 so there was lots of catching up for us to do. We have some old photos but there are some faces that neither on of us can name.