Archive for September, 2012

Around Golden Bay

September 25, 2012

A lazy weekend was spent around Golden Bay.  Saturday we went off into Collingwood to check out the town and its surrounds.

 collingwoodmural 3

Busy main street Saturday                   Northernmost mural in SI 

We checked out the museum and the library, wandered the main street then set off around the town only to discover a chocolate shop along the foreshore. Well, someone had to try a few to find out if they were any good!  Indeed they were.

floating 2floating spit

Farewell Spit floats above the horizon!

From Collingwood you get a good view of Farewell Spit, its dunes and indeed trees growing out near the end of the Spit.  The top of the Lighthouse is just peeking out behind those trees, but we will find out more about that once we do a tour of the Spit  Monday.

Saturday night and back to the Pakawau Old Scool Cafe where we met up with some other fellow motorhomers and went in for afternoon drinks.  The six of us were sitting outside having a few drinks, telling a few tales when the most bizarre incident took place….which on reflection could only happen in small town New Zealand!  A young woman came into the bar with a baby in a pushchair.  We saw her chat to the barman/owner then she came outside and made a beeline for our table.  “I know this is going to sound weird” she said, “but I wondered if you could look after my baby whilst I race into Collingwood to get same baby formula?”   “here is a jar of food, I wont be long, thanx”.  Well, what could we say?  She left immediately.  Robbie the owner came out and laughingly said “ You guys are game”.  We jokingly wondered if she was indeed going to return, then Robbie told us he hoped she was, as she had just borrowed his car to go into town!!  Here we were, literally left holding the baby!  We spent the next wee while entertaining the wee 9month old, coming up with all sorts of elaborate stories of ‘what if…..’  Mother did indeed return, returned the car, picked up her infant and left!  Rumour has it the partner/husband was supposed to come home earlier in the day.  We suspect there may have been a few words later that evening.

Sunday we headed up the Aorere Valley which is inland behind Collingwood.  This is also the access road into the start of the Heaphy Track.  We crossed over the Aorere River which was just beautiful in its colour and clarity.  And we wandered in to see Salisbury Falls which is not too far off the beaten track.

 slab 2

A decent sized slab of rock dropped in the river during the last flood in the valley some twelve months ago.

clear waterfalls

River lookin down from the bridge and the falls just upriver of the bridge.

Of course in this area is the Bainham Store, famous for the fact that it is pretty much still in its original state and it continues to run a Post Office and has its own postmark. We stopped here for a while to explore its treasures, and to partake of their Devonshire style tea.  Delicious!

bainham 1 bainham 2

The owner was exceptionally hospitable and we chatted for some time, we also managed to find a couple of books to buy from the second hand collection.   (Not the usual culprit doing the buying either!!!)

mosiac sofaMosaic Sofa at the back of the Bainham Store

We just so happened to find out that Reg Turner, ex Solitaire and Cassimir Lodges, now lives in the Valley, so we gave him a call and visited to catch up on old times.  Oh the Lodge tales that were told!

reg Reg & Princess

Back to Pakawau and a night at the Cafe watching the netball live on the Cafe’s TV.  A very exciting but frustrating match.  However, dinner at the Cafe was excellent and we can highly recommend the meals here all delivered with warm, friendly hospitality.  And its a damn good place to stay to explore this area. 

benny   Pakawau Cafe cat – looks awfully like Benny, RIP!        

Takaka to Pakawau and beyond

September 23, 2012

Wednesday 19 September

Its not everyday that you get friends ringing to say that they are calling to visit especially when you are on the road.  But that is indeed what happened when Barry rang to say that he was flying in to catch up with us whilst we were in Takaka.   By lunch time we had driven out to Takaka airport and picked up Barry and his brother-in-law Gary.  The rest of the day was spent catching up before we delivered them back to the airport for the 75minute flight back to Taupo. 

Barry and Gary go

                 Gary & Barry                       Departing

duskdusk at Pohara on our last night.

Thursday 20 September

Another glorious day in the Bay, so after a quick phone call to Mike & Bernadette we decided to pack up and head straight up to where they were staying at Pakawau.  We arrived by lunch time and quickly settled into a lovely spot at Pakawau Old School Cafe. 

pakawaudawn pakawau

All parked up                         Dawn from Pakawau over to Farewell Spit

After a quick bite to eat we headed up to the Farewell Spit Lookout and Information Centre and through Puponga. 

SpoonbillsAlong the way we came across a flock? of Spoonbills….is there a collective noun specific for Spoonbills?

coal wharfThe remains of a wharf at Puponga, this wharf used to have a train running out along it carrying coal from the nearby coalmines to the waiting ships.

farewell spitView from the lookout at the start of the spit,


pilot whalefive fingers

skeleton remains of a pilot whale near the lookout.  Note the 5 “fingers” in the fins.

Back to the van and a night of playing Sequence with Mike & Bernadette and emptying a few more bottles from the cellar!

Friday 21st September

We decided to take a drive out to Wharariki Beach which is on the western side of the top of the South Island, just below the start of the Spit.  There is a walk over the hills, through farmland and a bit of bush to the sand dunes and beach.

wanderingwandering 2

A walking we will go!

campLooking back to Wharariki camp, from the start of the walk.

threeand yes, there are triplets here fighting for a feed.

 whararikiwharariki 2

finally made it onto the beautiful beach after walking over the sand dunes.

duck rock     island

“duck” island off the beach             This island covered in flax

starfishStarfish on the beach

seal 2 seal

Seal basking in the sun on the banks of the river flowing out in to the bay.

Bernice went on ahead on the return journey and along the way came across this beetle struggling upside down in the sand.  Deciding to leave the beetle well alone (it was around 3cm in length), she drew a large circle around it in the sand to alert those following to its plight.  Roy turned the beetle over, administered mouth to mouth and CPR but to no avail, the beetle was beyond resuscitation!  RIP beetle.

bernice's beetle

Whitebaiters are out in force at every wee stream and river along the way however none have reached our pans as yet.

birdand the final obligatory bird picture!

Salmon and Milk

September 21, 2012

An unlikely mix I know, but all will be revealed later in the post.

Tuesday 18 September

We are sticking around Takaka for a  few more days, exploring the region at our leisure, the joys of not having time constraints!!!The day started with a walk through the Labyrinth Rocks with Mike & Bernadette before they headed off further north.  

ipadphoto2_thumbBernadette trying out her ipad for picture taking.

BetweenPohara and Takaka there is a sign on the side of the road pointing to the Labyrinth Rocks.  Interesting! So we had to have a look.  It turns out to be an area of Kaast limestone formations which a person had bought and then made tracks through.

The tracks were narrow and the direction of them was dictated by the various rock formations.  Below is a selection of photos  showing various parts of the track.

kaast1_thumbkaast2_thumbObviously the remains of those that could not find their way around.

kaast4_thumbkaast5_thumbkaast8_thumbsupplejackvine_thumbkaast7_thumbEven found Tigger had parachuted in to assist us to find our way around!!

Whilst out exploring, we have come across a huge number of roadside stall selling everything from eggs, to veges, fruits, & herbs to smoked fish.  But when we came across a sign on the side of the road saying Village Milk, we were not quite sure what that meant so we headed in the gate to check it out. 

Inside a small shelter was a vending machine, dispensing plain, un-homogenised, un-pasteurised, unadulterated milk, complete with litre bottle to purchase if required.  Wow, we were so thrilled to find this we thought we had best try some.  Funnily enough we had seen these same vending machines in our travels through Germany and Italy and wondered what they were! We tried our first litre and are now hooked.  Back for another couple of litres this time with our own bottle to refill. 

milk signmilk3_thumb

  Sign at road                             vending machine


Bottle dispenser                         Milk dispenser


Milk filling in action                    

We decant the milk into glass bottles and keep in the fridge and yes, the cream does rise to the top, and yes, it tastes delicious, especially in a flat white or even better in a hot chocolate!!  Smoothies are good too, with Mozzarella cheese making next on the list.   Check out and lets hope that lots and lots of these outlets spring up all through the country and we get back to eating real food.

Next activity on our list of ‘to-do’s’ was to go Salmon fishing.  OK, so it was at a Salmon Farm, but we did fish in the Lake and not the hatchery.

gwh3_thumbFisherwoman in action

gwh2_thumb[4]Fisherman with his catch

A great bit of recreation, and the best bit was they cleaned and filleted it for us and we took it home for dinner. MMmmm.

So that is how we get Milk and Salmon in the title, it does not have quite the same ring to it as the land of Milk and Honey but we think its pretty damn good.  Have we said it before?  It’s a tough job but someone has to do it 🙂


September 20, 2012

Wandering around the shops in Takaka was a very pleasant surprise, particularly as neither of us usually have any interest in wandering around shops.  A lovely wee town it is, with nice shops, art, cafes and people.  One of the first things that became very evident was the lovely art works decorating buildings.

 mural 9mural 2mural 5mural 11

mural 4mural 3

mural 6

After scoping out the town we took a drive out towards Abel Tasman Park, here the roads became very windy, and very narrow in places as late last year they had some serious rain which washed out sections of road.

half a roadHalf a road

We headed through Ligar, Tata and Wainui Bays, all beautiful, mind you the weather did help. 

ipad photographyCaught taking photos with ipad


ligar 2ligar

ligar bay to poharatata bay

Ligar and Tata Bays.  Lovely wee Bays, where we even caught a local in having a swim, a bit chilly just yet we thought. 

seaside residenceThis lovely seaside bach was out on its own on a small isthmus, a real Kiwi bach.

tasman Abel Tasman Monument

Up around Wainui Bay, which is near the end of the sealed road before you enter Abel Tasman Park on the way to Totaranui,we came across lots of evidence of flooding with large areas covered in thick silt.

silt 3Farmland covered in silt


silt 1silt 2

this abode did not escape, one can only imagine what that the level of water must have been to deposit such silt.

tui flax 1tui flax 2toilet 1even the toilets along the way were beautifully painted.


thrush  Obligatory bird picture.

Over the Hill

September 18, 2012

A leisurely start to Sunday, bread baked, washing and drying done and by the time we had a quick bite to eat we were off for our trip up over “the hill”. Takaka Hill which we have heard so much about loomed ahead of us.  Michael and Bernadette went on ahead of us whilst we took our time, pulling over to let traffic through regularly and at one stage stopping so that we could get some space between us and another large motorhome. 


A tight corner or two on the downhill side.

The trip was uneventful and not half as bad as we were led to believe and soon enough we were in Takaka and meeting up with Mike & Bernadette.   We headed out to Pohara where we parked up at the local Boat Club at Tarakahoe harbour.

 parked at Pohara Boat Clubdawn

Parked up………..and the view from the van back window!

An early morning wander around the area reveals the extent of the limestone formations found here.  The main road goes through a gap in the base of a rock cleft.  The cleft has been widened a little at the top and also raised on the left side.


main road 1rock on rock

And down in the sea is a piece of bedrock which is being eroded by the sea, but not before another rock had fallen on top of it. These two are at least 40 metres from the nearest cliff face.


leaning togethertypical limestone formations

The rocks on the left lean against each other providing mutual support whilst that on the right is gradually being worn away from the rest of the formation.

The limestone is full of fossils

 fossils galore


abel tasman memorialOn a rise just along from the harbour above Ligar Bay is this memorial to Abel Tasman.

Behind the harbour is the remains of the Golden Bay cement works which were closed in the 1980s when the operations were moved up to the far north of the North Island.

old cement works

And this is what is meant by the expression “like a shag on a rock”

best foot forward


And one last photo from Motueka….a specialist shop!!


We’re off, soon…..maybe?

September 14, 2012

Another week has rolled around, with plans made to move on Sunday….all going well. It is weather dependent really particularly if it is not too boggy underfoot so that we do not get stuck in the mud! Here’s hoping all will be well.

We are heading over ‘the hill’, Takaka Hill which the locals tell us just a hill, get over it! Whereas a few fellow motor homers insist on telling you horror stories of brakes failing, steep climbs, twisty corners etc etc. However we figure that milk tankers, logging trucks and the like regularly head over everyday so it should not be a problem….check back in a few days and you will see.

Friends Michael and Bernadette are back with us and are also heading over the hill with us. Oh, and for those interested, their TV is now working! This week we have spent quite a bit of time together playing cards and the like with much hilarity helped by the consumption of a few bottles of port! We are getting through the remnants of our elderly wine cellar. One bottle consumed this week was a bottle of Hunters Cabernet Port, which we bought when living in Tokoroa in the mid 1980’s. It had not only aged well, it has travelled well through moves from Tokoroa to Auckland, a move within Auckland, then onto Oamaru, and goodness knows where it’s been with us in the van. There are still many bottles left from the Tokoroa wine cellar days, but we are getting through them quietly. It’s a tough job, but someone has to do it 🙂


September 9, 2012

As Sundays roll around we say ‘yep, its time to move on’ and every Sunday, we come up with another excuse to stay on another week.  We are still here at Kaiteriteri, some days soaking up the sunshine, other days soaking wet!  So what have we been up to?  Well, we ventured into Nelson to the Saturday Markets, met up with friends,  we have completed a few odd jobs, had a haircut, started polishing the van, sightseeing, knitting, baking (Christmas Cakes made!) and generally keeping ourselves out of mischief.

Just along the main road into Kaiteriteri they are putting in new footpaths, and where there is insufficient room they are cantilevering them above a 8 –10 metre drop down on to the road below.

building footpathno room

suspended footpaththe path

Also note the width of the road, it makes for very interesting driving through in the van, especially when meeting a truck or bus coming the other way.

Another day we went for a drive up to Marahau. This is where you can catch a boat into Abel Tasman National Park gaining access from the sea.  We did this trip a couple of years ago so this time was a land based look around.

marahaucarved bird

View over the bay at Marahau with the tide out and an interesting bird sculpture outside a shop.

wild chooksOn the way home, we came across this group of chickens on the side of the road.  We weren’t game enough to chase them into the bush to find free range eggs!

On another recce around Motueka we came across a roundabout of sorts, which was all planted up with an old dinghy in the middle.  This reminded us of our trip around France, where there seemed to be a roundabout at nearly every intersection which were decorated with sculptures and plants, usually with something that was unique or famous to the region eg. large sculptures of oyster shells, or dip net fishing etc.

boat  roundabout 2

French example                    Motueka example

Just along the road from the roundabout we discovered the Motueka Saltwater Baths.

salt water bath 3salt water bath 2

salt water bath 1A tad chilly for a swim.

Just along from here we enjoyed Fresh Fish and Chips for lunch whilst enjoying the scenery.

old motueka wharfOld Motueka Wharf Memorial

ship wreck Shipwreck just off the beach

dawnAnother spectacular dawn at Kaiteriteri

morning mistand the following morning revealed mist enshrouded tidal flats toward the mouth of the stream.

Spring has sprung and we are seeing a lot more blossom on the trees and shrubs

spring blossom 2spring blossom

Above the camp there are a number of Mountain Bike trails which cover a wide range of skill levels and different terrain.  Went for a walk of about two hours covering one of the more gradual tracks.  It led to the top of the hills that surround the  Camping ground and gave a good view of the main beach.

view from on high

At each of the track intersections there were marker posts naming the trails and also giving map coordinates.  It is really well set up and at weekends there are a large number of people who come out here specifically to utilise the facility.

mb post 1 mb post 2 mb post 3 now i know where i am

This couple were whitebaiting in the stream that flows into Tapu Bay, alongside a maimai that has obviously been around for a while.

whitebait and maimai

and the number of bird species seen here continues to grow.   The thrushes are always around filling up with worms out of the soft ground.  The Tui are not yet abundant according to the locals, but they are still appearing daily in selected trees.  We also see Plover and gulls regularly.

thrushtuiploversitting it out

I did not appreciate the size of the Pukeko foot until they were outlined on the tarmac as a wet footed Pukeko crossed.   The mobile phone is 11 cm long just the same length as the middle toe of the Pukeko.

sizeable feet

Oh, and yes, we are “stuck” here for another week, a tough job but someone has to do it!