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  • Writer's pictureClaire

27/03/24 Moetuka to Farewell Spit

Showered fed and watered we called via the reception and asked to book in for another night. While I was there I booked the use of the spa pool for 1800 hours, and requested we move up a couple of spaces as the wind had picked up and the next spaces up had wind breaks which we hoped would make a huge difference to the amount of wind buffering poor Ismene.

With our accommodation sorted we headed off on todays adventure, starting off with driving right through a beautiful rainbow. After filling up with fuel we drove through hops, apple, pear, nectarines, peach orchards and then more vineyards. Perfect growing climate for sure!  There was a huge produce place in the side of the road and I wanted to call in on the way back, and then I saw another , then another …. They were every half a mile or so!! we had plenty of choice of places to purchase goodies on our return anyway. The weather turned a bit eeyore (gloomy) and there were a few spots of rain in the air.  Bugger is what I say to that.


Do you recalll the Alpine  Pass I told you about in Australia? Well today we drove a other one! My god it was steep and windy and narrow. My right leg is giving me hell from the hard braking I’ve been doing all the way along the route. And I wasn’t even driving!! Si was loving every minute of the road, so that was good. The views down into the ravines and valleys below were breathtaking, and the road just kept on climbing, and climbing and climbing for about a good 10 kms. It felt a lot more!  Then after going up …. We had to get back down the other side. That was fun…. For Simon!  Not so much for me!  

Making the descent alive, we travelled onwards and came to a town called Collingwood. I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many pairs of elephant yoga pants, Dreadlocks and hippies in one place. Ever. The place is yet another quirky little town, lots of vegan restaurants and cafes, and hippy clothing sold on every other store. Defo stuck in the 60’s.  We had a drink and Si had a light snack before we travelled onwards. Everyone inside the place, looked like they could do with a good scrub, maybe even two..

Our destination of farewell spit wasn’t quite as accessible as we’d hoped, the road ended at Pūponga and went down to gravel only so we swung a right and carried on a Sealed road towards the Spit. To get there we had to cross a river bridge that had one narrow channel forcing the incoming tide through, the power behind it was incredible, and given the bridge was pretty substantial, I couldn’t believe that the gap was so small for the tide. The water was crystal clear, and as we crossed there were 4 penguins on a small sand bank, the ride was coming in so fast that by the time we’d crossed, they were under water and gone from our view. The unsealed track took us to a farm park and the beach.  To get to the farewell spot we could walk 4km across the beach but we needed a permit to access the spot anyway. The beach was covered with crushed shells and pebbles, with bits of tree thrown in for good measure.  A lonely pair of kids pink flip flops were left on the beach grass, all lost and folorn. Believed to be an endangered species, they should really be looked after far better. As for the abandoned kettle still hooked over a piece driftwood, i can only assume someone was coming back to use it!

Pretty bleak, exposed and positively sci-fi, Farewell Spit is a wetland and a renowned bird sanctuary, the summer home of thousands of migratory waders. I think I read there are over 90 species of birds known to congregate there. Including the little blue penguins.

The spit's 35km beach has colossal, (I love that word,colossal) crescent-shaped dunes, from where you get panoramic views across Golden Bay and a vast low-tide salt marsh. One tour operator has permission to drive along the beach to the Kiwi beak shaped spit, but the tours run dependent on tides and days. Needless to say we didn't realise that until after we'd been!

As we had seen all we could we retraced our tracks and got back on the road. The area seems to be a magnet for black swans. The low tides and salt marshes suiting their needs . I don’t think I have ever seen so many in one place there were hundreds of them! 

The journey back didn’t take anywhere near as long as it seemed to on the way there, and we reached Collingwood very quickly, there were people protesting about vaccine injuries and the cancer spikes the world over. They were all ages and actually looked a bit respectable! Lots of people were hooting, I assumed in support because no-one was throwing stuff at them or telling them to go home so we concluded most were in agreement.!  I certainly was!! Obvs. Closet conspiracy theorist on tour!

We stopped on our way back at the larger of the roadside fruit stalls we’d seen on our way to the Spit. Well that was a grave disappointment… the stuff they were selling looked great but it was most disappointing to discover that they were selling in massive bags, not even I could eat that much fruit before it went rotten so we pulled back into the Road again and kept our eyes peeled for the others we’d spotted.   We decided to stop just up the road from the campsite because it felt local, so we pulled over and bought some crunchy red appes and juicy tangelos for tea tonight. 

Despite not reaching our intended destination, we’d still had a lush day out, and managed to capture on video the winding roads on video for Si. Honestly some of them really needed to be seen to be believed. Fekin traumatised I am mind!!

We were back in time for my sauna session and I wasn’t really feeling it, instead we opted for an early tea, finishing up what was left in the fridge and sat in the lounge area chilling out and generally relaxing.  One of my reasons for cancelling the spa tub, a load of boys came out just before I was due to go in, I bet they peed in the tub! A pretty sunset topped the day off nicely.

Much love.

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