Golden Bay - Collingwood

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Oceania » New Zealand » South Island
November 21st 2016
Published: November 26th 2016
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After breakfast this morning we were given the keys to Sandra's Jazz and we headed off to Golden Bay on the north west coast of the the South Island. At one stage during the planning phase for this trip we had thought about driving down to Kaikoura to go on a whale watching trip. Unfortunately, the area around Kaikoura has been badly affected by the earthquake on the 13th so Bernie found a tour that we could do up in the north west rather than over on the east coast.

We stopped at Takaka to stretch our legs. While we were in town we called in to the local chemist to buy some anti-itch cream for the sandfly bites on my feet that were driving me crazy with the itching. We usually have a tube of Medicreme antiseptic cream with us when we travel because it's a good all round first aid treatment for: cuts, abrasions, minor burns and also relieves itching due to bites and stings, but somehow neither of us put a tube in our toilet bags. We managed to buy something that looked very similar and I slathered it on the bites on my feet as soon as we got back to the car. Ahhh, much better!

We called in for lunch at a restaurant and micro-brewery called the Mussel Inn. Believe it or not their culinary specialty is mussels. We both decided to have a bowl of their chowder which was served with some delicious garlic ciabatta on the side. Of course Bernie washed his down with one of the Mussel Inn beers and I tried an apple and blackcurrant cider. With a few Ks to go until we reached Collingwood Bernie asked if he could buy any of their beer to go. He'd only tried one and they had another five beers in their range!! Sorry, but no, they don't have an off licence, but the supermarket in Collingwood carries their beers.

We continued on to Collingwood where we checked in to the Collingwood Park Hotel. The hotel was quite small and basic, but had everything we needed for our brief overnight stay. We took a quick walk down to the Golden Bay beach and then looped back around past Collingwood's famous chocolate shop - Rosy Glow Handmade Chocolate. We bought a piece of their pistachio and ginger slice for afternoon tea and some melting moments to take back to Richmond.

It was a lovely sunny afternoon, but incredibly windy. Despite the strong winds we decided to drive over towards the ocean beach from Puponga and then tramp (NZ word for hike) out to Wharariki Beach. We parked at the end of the road which put us smack bang in the middle of someone's farm where we were greeted by cows, sheep and a couple of peacocks. We clambered over the first of several styles and started off up the hill following the signs to Wharariki Beach.

We tramped up hill and down dale and quite enjoyed the sections that were down dale because they were sheltered from the horrendous wind! Eventually we arrived at the beach where Bernie insisted on walking right to the water's edge because there is an arch in the rock/island that stands just off the beach and we couldn't see that feature from the edge of the sand dunes. The things we do for a photo! It was very unpleasant walking across the sand because the wind was whipping it into our bare legs ... not to mention our eyes and mouths. Yuck! It was a little bit better when we reached the hard-packed sand. It was still windy, but at least we weren't being subjected to a sandy microdermabrasion. Just as well because we had to walk quite a way before we achieved the angle necessary to see the arch!

Thoroughly over the wind we trudged back over the beach and into the shelter of the scrub. After being blown about so much it was a relief to be off the beach and on our way back to the car. I had put sunscreen on my arms so off course my arms were feeling a bit like sandpaper with sand stuck in the sunscreen. Ugh, I definitely needed to get back to our motel room to have a shower before dinner.

Feeling much better after showering we headed out for an evening meal. There's really only one choice in town - the Collingwood Tavern. Conveniently located just a few doors down from the motel there was an extensive range of pub classics available to choose from. Bernie opted for the rump steak with a pepper sauce and I ordered the fish and chips. We were given a buzzer that would let us know when our meals were ready. While we waited we headed out to the beer garden where we watched the sun set. The sun disappeared over the horizon about the same time that our buzzer went off so we decided to take our glasses inside and eat indoors. It had turned a bit chilly now the sun had set.

Steps 15,916 (12.38km)

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