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Published: February 16th 2011
Some days I just forget where I am and have to recount or look at a map for where I have been!! So I am in a campsite in my little camper ( loaned to me by Dave's friend Ian - thanks Ian) and I have driven up the East coast from Christchurch in horrible weather- grey clouds turning to windy and lashing down rain... not much stopping there ( its the place where you can go to sight whales- but not that day)- however seals dont seem to mind the weather and there they were sitting in groups on the rocks as I passed by. But turning the corner at the top of the Island and patches of blue sky became a gorgeous sunny afternoon and.evening. As usual interesting views - farmland , vineyards... hills in ridges here - so up and down you go, then some valleys. Heading for Nelson and Tahuna Beach I got settled for my first night camping. Campsites are great with all the facilities you need and nice and clean and modern. ( 460km ). Woke to a fantastic sunrise and a drive then on to Takaka in Golden Bay, at the Abel Tasman Park.
Beautiful coast line backed by - you guessed - mountains to drive over again. I think this is good training for rally driving here. There is only one way in and one way out here - over Takaka mnt....so up and up and round and round bends I went. Somewhere I stopped at Bob's Lookout ( he is so famous out here)- and then at the top at Hawes Lookout I took a walk to see some limestone outcrops. Then down and fabulous voews of Golden Bay. So I checked in at the Tourist info in Takaka and decided to make my way to the very top of South Island - Farewell Spit- this is 25km curving sand spit at the end of Golden Bay- most of it is a Nature Reserve- but the public are allowed on the first 2 km. So I got my boots on again and off I went across the famers fields , through the woods and bush down to the beach- which was endless and shimmering in the heat- only a few other people to be seen inthe distance.. off came the boots and I had to paddle.
Back at the ranch - I
am on the beach at sunset - the campsite is rght next to the beach- fotos taken as the sun went down. Slept soundly after all of that.
So up to today and I was going to drive to a place for a boat ride but as the road turned into a gravel road for the next 10km - narrow and up over a mountain ( why didnt the girl in the tourist info tell me it was agravel rd- no indicator of it on the map!!!!!!!!) - I decided I had had enough and truned round and headed for a waterfall walk which I had just passed and was in my guided book as a must do!!! And I was glad I did it - only about 45 mins to wlak to it and pretty easy - apart from the steel rope bridge to cross the river!!!Bit scarey that if you had no head for heights. But all was worth it - thundering down between a fault line with granite on one side and limestone on the other....well I think that was the story. Aling th eriver bedwere huge boulders and sometimes a little pebble beach Michael is always
in my mind but here I was reminded of how he always loved to get into the water - rocky pools in Scotland , lakes and river beds in Sweden - always freezing apart from the rivers in France but he loved it- he would have been scrambling over the rocks and getting his kit off- no worries!!!
So thats the sea and waterfalls and next visit was to the largest natural springs in Australasia and the clearest in the world (so they say). Ahhh - I forgot - in between was a stop at one of the bays and into the sea - looked so inviting and I was HOT - but the sea was bloody freezing - I have to remember this is the Cook Strait waters. So in the sea - got wet half a dozen strokes and out I came. Time for a doze in the beach and then a picnic lunch.
Back to the Springs- Waikoropupu seems to be the full name but Pu Pu seems to do for the road signs. A short drive out of Takaka and there you are. Boots on again and a short walk through some forest in several stages
of recovery from bush burning by the golddiggers of yore - you walk alongside a babbling stream and come to the springs pool. Well its the clearest water i have seen and some amazing plantlife growing there ( big signs telling you not to touch the water - they are trying to keep it free of any nasties) - several springs bubble up huge quantities of water every minute...what a sight. Incredible and beautiful to behold.
So no flowers today - and I have had some trouble choosing the best fotos- hope I can get them all downloaded before my time runs out on the internet.
And don't worry I am not doing without my boat trip - tomorrow I will be up and over that Takaka mountian back to the other side and a proper road to go to the boat trips.
Bye for now .
Ps - Now I know where I am - I am at Pohara Top Ten Campsite in Golden Bay.
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