On our final day in Golden Bay (booo!), Andy and I decided to fit in as much as possible. Our flight home from Nelson wasn’t scheduled to depart until the evening, so we took full advantage of the time we had left. In the morning, we reluctantly said farewell to our incredible bach and hit the road toward Te Waikoropupū Springs (also known as “Pupu Springs,” a decidedly unappealing name). These springs have some of the clearest water in the world (around 200 feet horizontal visibility) and are spiritually significant to the local Māori.
We started off on the boardwalk that leads to the springs.
It wasn’t long before we made it to our destination.
It’s hard to get an idea of just how clear the water is on a cloudy day, but it was spectacular nonetheless. Up until recently, divers were allowed to explore the springs, but due to their spiritual significance and fragility, they’re now off limits.
We headed out shortly so we’d have plenty of time to explore other places on the drive from Takaka to Nelson.
Andy was kind enough to stop on the road just outside Takaka so I could get some shots of a lonely abandoned house that had caught my eye earlier.
We made the serpentine ascent up Takaka Hill and decided to take a detour to check out a Lord of the Rings filming location (by decided I mean that my nerdy self talked Andy into it). The spot was several kilometers down an unsealed road, but we were rewarded with stunning scenery and no humans (or hobbits, sadly) in sight. I couldn’t really pin down the precise filming spot, but it was great to explore the area. It’s all Middle Earth to me.
Our trusty steed (car commercial, perhaps?):
And when I saw something to climb, I couldn’t resist.
We continued a little further to the area known as Canaan Downs. It would be an awesome spot to camp, but maybe not during the hippy festival, Luminate, that’s held here once a year. I much preferred having it all to ourselves.
I had to get a couple shots of the road through the trees up ahead before we turned back.
After making the bumpy return trip and finally reaching the main road over the hill, we didn’t stop again until Kaiteriteri.
Wow! What an incredible spot. Kaiteriteri is the gateway to Abel Tasman National Park and becomes a huge tourist spot in the warmer months. It was almost empty when we arrived, so we had most of the beach to ourselves (except for some Kiwi kids carrying a pig head that they proudly told us they found… hmm). We grabbed lunch (green-lipped mussels, yum!) and strolled leisurely along the shore.
The color of the sand and water was incredible. I’d love to come back in the summer and kayak around here.
We explored the shoreline and took a trail up to a great lookout spot with views over Kaiteriteri and the adjacent Little Kaiteriteri.
We still had quite a bit of time before our flight, but we decide to just head back to Nelson early.
We stopped briefly at Tahunanui Beach just outside Nelson, but the weather had become a bit cold for any enjoyable exploration.
We decided to just drop the rental car off at the airport and walked to a cool nearby pub to wile away our remaining couple of hours. Not a bad way to end an incredible trip! Now, we’ll just have to head back down for the Abel Tasman trek in the warmer months.