Tuesday, 2 September 2014

“It’s Just A Hill, Get Over It!"

So says the Golden Bay slogan selling itself to visitors and referring to the huge Takaka Hill with the very winding road on both sides of the summit, and the only road in and out of Golden Bay. It is well worth the effort to visit Golden Bay and spend some time exploring. We’re thoroughly enjoying it so far and have had, once again, some brilliant weather while other parts of the country suffer from rain, flooding and high winds. I can't remember when we last heard rain on our roof.

Before we move further west around the large crescent of Golden Bay to Collingwood here are some random shots from around Takaka & Pohara.

We have come across a lot of abandoned Freemason Lodges on our travels, some in some very remote areas, it was obviously a very popular order in it’s day. I’m not sure if the Takaka Lodge is still used by Masons but I did see a group of ladies wearing exercise gear exiting it. I love the walkway, it’s was a built up bridge crossing the paddock. The cow and tanks look out of place to a visitor but this is at the end of the main street & seemed quite appropriate in dairy mad Takaka.

Built over 100 years ago the Telegraph Hotel has loads of character that speak of grander times but it still stands marking the entrance to Takaka township.

We took a short side trip to East Takaka where I knew there was an historic church I could add to my fast growing folders of church photos. I just have to find time to process them! An added bonus was the historic East Takaka Hall which was formerly the East Takaka School c1904. That would explain why the darn tennis court was right in front of the hall, like about a metre from the wall. There was no way to get a decent photo without the netting taking over.

The East Takaka Church c1868 was built for the Church of England but was always made available to other protestant religions too.


Just around the corner from our campground is the Pohara band rotunda, in a rather odd spot on the side of the road. I can understand it being on the beach and that the road etc would have probably been added around it since it was built but the beach isn’t that nice. A great big tidal flat at low tide with no sand or dunes, I wonder if the harbour breakwater as altered the beach over time, similar to Westshore in Napier. Still a nice spot to stop and rest as you walk by.

Further on past the harbour on the top of a rocky outcrop is the Abel Tasman Memorial. Abel Janszoon Tasman discovered New Zealand in 1642, he sailed his ship around Farewell Spit and into Golden Bay where he anchored. It all makes sense now, I became aware of Project Janszoon while staying at Kaiteriteri and wondered how it got it’s unusual name. Project Janszoon is a privately funded trust that works with DOC in protecting Abel Tasman Park’s native birdlife.

The view from the memorial looking back towards the marina & harbout.
I wonder how long this rustic home has stood here on a narrow finger of land in Ligar Bay where the tide laps at the bottom step on both sides of the property. Floundering would only be a matter of stepping outside the kitchen with a spear in your hand.

One last walk we wanted to do before we left Pohara was the track to Wainui Falls in the Abel Tasman National Park. We had intended to do the walk on our way home from Totaranui the other day but we got waylaid with the "motorhome off the road" crisis. A dairy farm surrounds the carpark and the first part of the track passes by the paddocks alongside the Wainui River.

It’s not long before the track disappears into beautiful native bush with tree ferns and nikau towering over us and we catch glimpses of beautiful emerald green pools as we pass gaps in the bush.

At one of the slip sites where we have to clamber over fallen rocks I hear a soft bleating and looking up high on the rock face I spot a family of wild goats; Dad, Mum & baby. The kid is just too cute, he keeps bleating and trying to get to Mum but everytime he jumps up on the rock Dad butts him down. They are so sure footed, its very steep and they jump about no problems at all. They have moved on when we come back along the track but I can still hear the baby bleating in the bush high above the track. They are very lucky nobody with a gun has spotted them yet.

A walk with two rewards! A swingbridge & a waterfall, our kind of walk. Flash floods must come roaring down this valley, all the way along the river are great piles of wood and debris including these two huge logs balanced atop a rock in the riverbed just below the swingbridge.

After clambering over a couple more large slips that had dumped whole trees into the riverbed and sidling along a narrow section of the path we could finally hear the roar of the waterfall, then around one last corner & there it was thundering into a deep pool sending spray all over us.

I can’t imagine how mighty the falls might be in full flood but I do know you wouldn’t be able to get anywhere near them without getting wiped off the rocks.


  1. How lovely to see all the places that my husband and I have just taken our friend from the UK to visit. She had a swing bridge and a waterfall on her wish list and was amazed that we had found a two-in-one. I was a bit surprised that you said the area by the rotunda was a tidal flat with no sand as it is actually a continuation of the beautiful Pohara beach that glistens in the sunshine when you walk along it and is most definitely made of sand. However, if you see it from the road side there are a lot of boulders in place to stop erosion and that may be a bit off putting. My husband and I love driving over The Hill for the day and the views that you see as you drive over are just breathtaking. Great pictures and thanks for sharing.

    1. Thanks for your comments and I'm glad you enjoyed the photos. Maybe we've been a bit spoilt with the beaches on our travels (Wharariki Beach & Kaiteriteri being just two) )or maybe the storm that had passed through not long before we visited Pohara had an effect on the beach but we were disappointed that it seemed to be mostly mud. We walked from the campground right around to the harbour at low tide and out on the water line, perhaps silt had filled the small bay by the rotunda.

      We'll certainly be looking forward to visiting Golden Bay again, it's a beautiful and often overlooked part of NZ.


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