I made my way north today along the coast to Farewell Spit. First stop Pupu springs –the largest freshwater springs in NZ and the clearest in the world. The walkway skirts the ‘lake’ filled with water gushing from marble rock rifts and is surrounded by a replenished forest of manuka and kanuka trees and ferns. The gold mining industry destroyed much of the forest that once covered Takaka valley. The bird life was impressive -plenty of ducks, a shag drying his wings and lots of small birds happy to fly around me.
Next stop was Collingwood with another small museum full of local history. Sadly the Rosy Glow Chocolate House was closed! The road to the Spit is full of one way bridges, has very little traffic and leads to sand dunes that provide a wetland home for lots of non-migrating birds and many that migrate north to China. After lunch at the Paddlecrab cafe and a look through their binoculars at the flocks of black swans, geese and other waders, I walked a small part of the 26km beach and got close to the amazing dunes. I could see rain clouds over Golden Bay –crunching my way on the crushed shells along the high tide mark of the Spit beach I enjoyed sunshine.
On my return journey I took the turn to the Whanganui Inlet and drove along the Westhaven marine Reserve. My hire car now has all the signs of being driven many km along gravel roads but it was well worth the bumpy ride to see that part of that coastline.
Tonight Heather and I went into Takaka just as our families did 50 years ago. Then it was to do the shopping and my Mum and Dad would collect the weekly newspaper from England. Now we had supper at the pub, served by the nephew of another of Dad’s colleagues at the Works. We’re now watching the news about the UK elections –a reality check into the world outside the bubble of nature I’ve been immersed in today.