After exploring near Wharariki, Andy and I headed toward the other side of Farewell Spit. Wharariki Beach is on the west side, so it’s rough and exposed. Fossil Point, our next destination, is on the Golden Bay side.
The first bit of the trail lead through pastures and was a bit tricky to follow at times. I had to make sure to get plenty of lamb shots since Higgs wasn’t around to be the token adorable animal.
Not a bad place to be a sheep (well… maybe not great to be a lamb).
As we continued on, pastures gave way to gnarled trees, which I loved.
Soon, we emerged onto the beach and promptly headed towards the cliffs to look for fossils. They weren’t as easy to find as you’d expect at a spot called Fossil Beach, but their elusiveness made searching all the more fun. Luckily, Andy had his trusty rock hammer with him.
This was the best one we found. I spotted it and Andy was able to pry it loose without doing any damage to the fossil itself. Great team work!
The beach itself was incredibly gorgeous when we finally looked up from our fossil hunting mission.
As you can see, there weren’t many other people around. Our twin trails of footprints stood out in the undisturbed sand.
We explored a cave before my hunger got the better of me and we decided to head back towards civilization.
Luckily, the place where we parked had its own cafe with a great view of Farewell Spit. I finally got to try whitebait fritters, which have been on my “must eat” list since first arriving in New Zealand. They’re basically a bunch of little fish fried up with some eggs and seasoning. Not exactly what I expected, but delicious nonetheless.
We headed back along the coast towards Takaka but had enough daylight to do a bit more exploring. We stopped near the town of Collingwood to check out another abandoned gold mining area in the forest. Not long after the trail began, we came across the COOLEST BRIDGE EVER.
Andy quickly jumped down and offered to get my picture on it. He knows me well. Thanks, Andy!
The ruins of the mining operation have mostly been swallowed up by nature, but the forest on its own was worth the hike.
Just one more bridge shot. Pure magic!
We then made our way to the town of Onekaka. It used to be a bustling port, home to the Onekaka Iron & Steel Company, but business tapered off in the 1930s. Now, only the rusting remains of the dock serve as a reminder of what the town once was.
This was just my kind of place – history, ruins and nature all rolled into one.
And of course, we can’t forget the human element.
We made our way back to Takaka as the sun began to set over the hills.
We poured a couple drinks and sat on the porch of our bach to enjoy the unexpectedly warm evening. What a great day.
Our last day in Golden Bay is up next, but there’s still a lot in store!