The Golden Bay

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Split Apple Rock

Day 25   Motueka – Collingwood

Today is a site seeing day as I head a bit further north. First stop of the day is to head back into Motueka from the night’s camp site. Motueka is kind of the last shopping town if your heading north, so I go and stock up the van from the supermarket and then start the trip North. First on the list of sites today is Split Apple rock, I did see it a few days ago, but wanted to have a look from the beach. Up highway 60, then on to Sandy bay road and down to the carpark. The beach is another short 15min walk.  Once at the golden sand beach, the rock is pretty much centre of your attention, giant round granite rock that’s naturally split in two and resting on top some other rocks 150m off shore.  Some say it looks better at high tide but still quite a sight at low.

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Next on the list is the Wainui Falls, this is a 1.5-hour drive away and located in the north part of the Able Tasman National park. After getting back to SH60, I then have to climb my way up Takaka Hill and then back down the other side. At the top I passed a few Cyclists that were recovering after their big climb, only to have one past me on the way back down the tight twisty road. Bit embarrassing but I was going as fast as the van would let me, averaging around 70kmh and this cyclist just kept on pulling away, don’t think you will see me going that fast around blind corners while only a couple of centimetres of rubber touching the road. She waved out as I passed her again on the flats, with a big smile on her face.

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Wainui Falls

Turning off at Takaka, I head east along Abel Tasman drive until I see the signs for the falls. The falls are a 40min walk from the car park, but it’s a very nice walk. The track follows the river all the way up so isn’t too hard and there’s lots of good photo opportunities to be had. Lots of little rapids and nice calm pools but billions of annoying sand flies if you stop anywhere. After a photo stops and crossing a wire bridge I come to this fantastic Water fall. Not quite as high as Dawson’s falls a week or so ago but still plenty of water coming over and another great site amongst the bush of the Able Tasman national Park.

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After getting back to the van and a quick coffee from the café at the carpark, I head back out to Takaka, on the way I stop off at a Memorial for Abel Janszoon Tasman. Mr Tasman discovered New Zealand in 1642 and anchoring in Golden bay, after an altercation with one of the local Maori Tribes while they were at anchor, Mr Tasman decides to head further north but strong winds and surf prevent him from going ashore to collect fresh food, they carry on up to the Pacific Islands.

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Dancing Sand Springs

Fourth site for the day is a little further north, the Te Waikoropupu Springs, commonly known as the Pupu Springs. It said that these springs pump out 14000 litres of water every second and are some of the clearest waters in the world, with scientist saying that the water visibility was to be around 63m but with the Maori’s claiming them sacred, so no one can swim or dive there anymore. The springs has a nice track that leads you through some bush, across some small streams before coming to the main spring where you can see the water bubbling up out of the ground. Unfortunately, with the glare from the overcast day I couldn’t get any good pics. The picture above is the smaller Dancing Sand spring, next to the main one.

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Last stop of the day is a place I was told I couldn’t go past without stopping in, the Mussel Inn, it’s a great little café / bar that is known for having lots of live music and nice food as it was getting late in the afternoon I decide to have some dinner here and what do you order at the Mussel Inn? Mussels of course with a couple of slices of garlic bread and I had to try there Manuka beer and it’s not too bad. Time now to find my accommodation for the night, so I head further north to the little town of Collingwood and find the local campground.

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After checking in and set up, I head out for a ride around town. Ending up at the beach I take a short stroll to find lots of Oyster catcher birds, a couple of Gannets from the local colony and 100m off shore a couple of seals, playing around in the water. This town is also where you can take the tour of farewell Spit from. Farewell Spit is massive long spit that sticks out from the top of the South Island. The Spit has a large colony of Australasian Gannets at the very end as well as other wildlife including seals and 90 other bird species live there. After my ride, I turn in for another night. Tomorrow I head to the most Northern part of the South Island.

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