Published: March 25th 2011March 18th 2011
March 17th - 18th 2011
From Cape Farewell and the beautiful Wharariki Beach (see last blog), we drove back towards Motueka, stopping briefly in Takaka for a look around. Its a neat small town, very arty and a bit hippy-ish. The library has free internet (wi-fi and PC) but they only allow a certain number of people to use the wi-fi at a time. I guess the people sitting in front of their laptops outside aren't counted! We had a short wait for our turn to sit in the little room, but when we got in there we found Sarah, our last CS host, and a German girl we'd hosted just before Christmas, both surfing away. Small world! We weren't surprised to see Sarah as she was the one who told us about the free wi-fi, and said its her only internet access at the moment.
Just past the top of Takaka Hill are the Ngarua Caves. We just made the last tour of the day, spending about 45 minutes being shown through about 300m of cave full of stalactites and stalagmites. Also on display were some moa and kiwi bones – the result of the poor birds falling
down one of the many tomos or holes from the surface down into the cave and not being able to escape. It was an interesting tour, some bits we knew already from previous cave tours and general reading, but some was specific to that cave system. Due to the type of cave it was, there were no glow worms, so when the guide turned the light out, we really were in total darkness.
At the base of Takaka Hill on the Motueka side is the “Riwaka Resurgence” or the source of the Riwaka River. A short bush walk took us to the base of Takaka Hill or the 'Marble Mountain' (guess what stone is or was quarried here?!) where the river comes gushing out a hole. The river, especially in this area, is held sacred by Maori. It forms in caverns deep in the hill and deep, crystal clear pools have formed where it emerges. Unlike at Pupu Springs, you are allowed in the water here.
From the source of the Riwaka River, it was time to meet our next hosts, this time from Hospitality Club, in Riwaka. We were offered driveway space by a French – New
Zealand family, and a chance for Samara to interact with their kids and those of a visiting Christchurch family. It was certainly chaos for the couple of days we spent with them. There were 6 adults and 5 children (Samara the youngest at 6 mo, then there was a 7 mo old, a 22 mo old, a 3 yr old and a 4 yr old)– and one bathroom. We were of course very appreciative of their time and welcome when they already had a house full. (We probably had more space in the van than they had inside
) A good example of how children have been affected by all the quakes in Christchurch, one of the children visiting, a three year old boy, was playing with a small dolls house (filled with cars) and kept shaking it like in a quake and was repeatedly reminded that he was safe now. This family's house was ok – nothing a new roof wouldn't fix – but they still have no power, water or sewage.
We based ourselves there for a couple of nights while we went back into the Abel Tasman NP for the day. We took a ferry /
water taxi from Kaiteriteri as far as Anchorage in Torrent Bay. Torrent Bay was named by Dumont D'Urville, a French explorer in the early 1800's, for the three streams flowing into it. We did a couple of short walks from the DOC hut and camp at Anchorage. The first was round Pitt Head, named by or after Colonel Albert Pitt who bought land there in 1900. There is a pa site there along with a modern navigational light. We got good views of the bay and out to sea through the trees and at a few cleared view points. It was a beautiful day, bright and clear, and getting pretty hot. To cool down slightly, we stopped at Te Pukatea Bay (Pukatea is the NZ Laurel tree) on the way back from Pitt Head to Anchorage. It was a lovely little beach, sandy, clear turquoise water, backed by bush. Then a large group of kayakers turned up and the place got busy and noisy. It would be lovely to have these little spots of paradise to ourselves, but that would just be selfish!
The next walk was to Cleopatra’s Pool. This is another side trail off the main Coastal
Walk though it does follow the high tide track round Torrent Bay. We weren't sure if we'd make it to the pool as we were cutting it fine with timing to get back for the return boat. We slogged up the hill, Samara asleep in the backpack, and got to within a river crossing off this pool, but weren't about to scramble across with our precious load and didn't to take the time to unload her and take turns clambouring across. There were other deep pools amongst the rocks in the river. In hindsight though we did have time as we sat on the beach for nearly 30 minutes waiting for the boat.
That 30 minutes gave us time for Samara to play in the sand. She didn't seem to mind or notice when we buried her legs in the sand as she was to busy trying to eat it. Im sure a fist full of sand will aid her digestion no end!! The ferry ride back was uneventful, providing a restful interlude in an otherwise busy day.
The other kids in the house also been to the beach so they all took shifts in the bath tub
with Samara enjoying her biggest bath since Hanmer Springs.
The following morning we said goodbye and good luck to our new friends and headed on to Nelson.
There are more photos below