After that incredible sunrise from my last post, the day dawned sunny and warm in Takaka. Andy and I had a nice breakfast and took in the view from our bach.
We then hit the road west to go up towards Farewell Spit, which forms the western arm of Golden Bay (the beak of the kiwi, if you will). The spit itself is off limits since it’s an eco sanctuary, but there are some incredible beaches at its base. We were headed for Wharariki Beach.
On the way, we had to make a pit stop (by we I mean me, with Andy kindly pulling over) to get these shots.
We made it to the town of Puponga and continued up an unsealed road to the parking lot for Wharariki Beach. I gained an unexpected admirer as soon as I got out of the car.
We kind of match.
The trail to the beach took us through picturesque pastures studded with sheep.
I will forever think of the Shire whenever I see rolling green hills like these.
Soon, the fields gave way to marshland, and a stream wound through the hills to the sea.
This particular spot is a favorite for young seals, and we watched them frolic and leap out of the water.
Soon after, we reached the large dunes overlooking Wharariki Beach.
What a profoundly beautiful, windswept, wild place.
It was high tide, so we couldn’t access the caves that speckle the area, but it was epic nonetheless.
We continued along the coast and came to the rock formations I’d seen countless photos of. Images never do New Zealand justice, though (she says as she writes her photography blog), and these gigantic formations were stunning to behold in person.
Tide and time have carved arches in these giants, slowly wearing down their foundations.
Reluctantly, we turned to head back inland. It was still early, but we had a lot to see.
The nearby hillsides were studded with hardy bushes, tangled and hunched from constant exposure to the unforgiving coastal winds.
This country never fails to provide me with fodder for my obsession with lone trees.
We came across countless pairs of early spring lambs scattered throughout the farmland, their mothers never far away. So adorable, but we all know what happens to most of them.
We elicited stares from many of the locals.
The hill lice were out in full force.
On the road back toward Puponga and our next destination, the tantalizingly-named Fossil Beach, we stopped off to check out a deserted mining operation. These types of places quickly become indistinguishable from the dense bush in New Zealand, but there were a few bits and pieces remaining.
More adorable lambs and even some fossils to come… so stay tuned!