Farewell, South Island

Saturday was a big day of driving for us… we left Hokitika at 9am and arrived in Golden Bay just after 6pm… You know you’re driving in NZ when google maps shows the kms to drive is smaller than the time to drive them. Of course this is due to the steep, winding, narrow roads which frequently come to a stop at a one-way bridge or you’re forced to slow down behind a dawdling campervan. The biggest hurdle was Marble Mountain – Takaka Hill… one of New Zealand’s windiest road. The drive climbs up an elevation of 791m above sea level and contains a corner for every day of the year (365 bends – some almost 320-degree hairpins). Near the top there was a pull over bay which treated us to our first stunning view of this part of our trip and a new roadside friend…

Our airbnb in Golden Bay was right on the beachfront – like most properties in the bay, as it is such a long and sparsely populated part of the country. On arrival we quickly unpacked and then head down the beach. It’s of course New Zealand’s heatwave during our stay – blown across from Aussie.

On Sunday we head up to Farewell Spit – a place that has always intrigued me as it looks like a kiwi, the sandspit being the perfect curve for its long beak.

Kiwi on the map!

We head out for a leisurely walk along the sand. You can’t actually walk the whole thing, the only way to get to the end is to book a whole day tour in town and a 4WD beach bus drives out at low tide. However, our leisurely walk turns into something a bit more when we miss the signs and end up taking the 12km route which takes us through the dunes and loops down the other side of the spit. It was very scenic walking through the dunes -but on the western side with 40km/h winds we spend about 2hours walking into a blasting of sand! At least we’re well exfoliated by the end. We were definitely hungry but we spotted a cafe with a lookout over the spit so we enjoyed a meal while observing the clouds of white sand blowing across our tracks…

The rest of the day is spent relaxing and another dip in the bay. That night we head towards Abel Tasman National Park, having takeaway pizza on the beachfront. We venture to the start/end of the great coastal walk. At the carpark we meet two friendly German backpackers who needed a lift as they had just finished the 5 day track and their car was at the other side (a bit poorly planned) so we give them a lift back to the main highway. Little did I know that Kadin had organised a surprise for us to do the Abel Tasman Coastal walk the next morning… But in Gemma-style! We took off in a little plane and viewed the Abel Tasman National Park – including that track. We could even see the beach that New Zealanders all pitched in and bought. Only took us 25 minutes – and the views were incredible…

After our adventure flight we head to Te Waikoropupu Springs. Here you will find the world’s clearest water, with visibility averaging 63 m. It is also the largest cold water springs in the Southern Hemisphere – we had spotted it from the air too. Our pilot told us that Golden bay has other springs out in the bay itself and Abel Tasman would refill his ships freshwater supplies straight from sea. The water was amazing – hopefully our photos can do this place justice…

Have fun at work!




  1. Hello Gemma

    Have so much been enjoying your adventures and photos. What an excellent blog you are writing.

    Just thought I would respond today as TOMORROW is the day we are all back to work. I have been back a couple of weeks, but tomorrow is the official start day. Oh dear, here we go again. We will all be thinking of you when we have our January birthday morning tea tomorrow at recess. Bet you will be having a better time than us. ????

    Take care, love and best wishes to,you both

    Lorraine ________________________________

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Lorraine!
      Yes I will be thinking of you all tomorrow too 🙂 Relaxing with family at the moment and getting ready for our next adventure. Still have a good feeling about our 2019 lotto! Send my love to the team.


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