Again I decided to clock up the miles (or kilometres as it is here) and having left at 8am, I drove up to Nelson to have a glimpse at the Saturday morning artists market. As I had already bought a load of stuff I resisted the unusual pottery and crafts, and headed up to Farewell Spit, a 25km sandbank at the tip of the North Island formed by the west coast’s river outflows.
Within 6 days I had went from the most Southerly point in the South Island to the most Northerly and was definitely starting to feel like a ‘ticking it off’ tourist merely stopping briefly and clocking up the kilometres. I was keen to get to the North Island though as I have to sell my car at some point and catch up with my mate in Wellington.
(Picture : Pupu springs – crystal clear with the spring on the left) On the way to Farewell Spit I stopped off at the Te Waikoropupu Springs which is the largest natural springs in NZ, pumping out around 14000 litres of water every minute (or was that hour?). Unfortunately you cannot swim in these as they are culturally significant to the Maoris and are sadly one of the many victims of the imported waterborn Dydimo pest that is infecting New Zealand at the moment. The water is apparently the clearest water in the world, except from underneath the Ross Ice Shelf.
(Pictures : Farewell Spit and coastal scenery) I only took a brief walk around the Farewell Spit area up to the lighthouse. I was still undecided whether to do a days walking on the Abel Tasman followed by a day’s kayaking, or just kayak, or do none of them. A quick call at 5pm booked me on a ‘Royale With Cheese’ one day trip with Kaiteriteri Kayak. It’s the longest day trip offered in the Abel Tasman area with around 18km covered in the day.
Once again I scooted along the coast until darkness fell, and with the distraction of picking up a couple of German hitchikers to take them a few km’s along the road, I even forgot to look in past the classic Payne’s Ford climbing area on the way. I would have loved to stop for a couple of day’s climbing there but needs must.
(Picture : Kayaks and water taxi at Bark Bay) After a night’s stop in Marahau I had an early morning start to arrive in time for the kayaking. Despite the distance it was a pretty easy going day with a small group of folk. It would have been great to spend a few more days chilling out around here although my decision not to walk was vindicated by a British guy on the trip saying a lot of the walk he did was through the trees with minimal views until you walked across the fantastic beaches they have in the area. I was glad I saw this area slightly off season though as it would have been mobbed with people and boats otherwise.
The day took us and the kayaks from Kaiteriteri beach by water taxi to Bark Bay, then we kayaked down the southern half of the Abel Tasman park. The seals weren’t as playful as they sometimes are so only had a short swim around us, but didn’t climb up on the kayaks as has been seen in the past. We then rafted together and hoisted a makeshift sail to catch the wind across the ‘mad mile’ on the way home. There are so many options to kayak and camp here it would be amazing to spend a few days just chilling out with a few bottles of wines or beer, a tent and some food just popping on past the beaches and swimming in the sea (when the sea temperature was a bit warmer!)
After a last minute ferry booking for the following day I headed to Nelson to spend the night.