02-07 Golden Bay

Kea on Mount Arthur
Kea on Mount Arthur

07. – 08., 12.02.10, Golden Bay and Farewell Spit, Mount Arthur

Gill, Mike and I are now on a 2 day trip to the most Northerly point of the South Island, Farewell Spit, so named by Captain Cook. Today we have driven to Collingwood and looked at various sights on the way, had a swim and stopped at several craft shops for which the Golden bay is well known. It has been beautifully sunny and warm here. After dinner we went for evening trip to Cape Farewell and Wharariki beach which has big dunes and rocks, but unfortunately there was no red sunset for which it is famous. The next day there was an excursion with a 4 wheel drive vehicle along the spit to see waders, gannets and seals. It is a huge sandy beach, with lots of dunes and less rocks, but not so many sea birds as I had expected. We drove along the entire 30km of the spit and reached an old lighthouse keeper’s house now converted into a café.

Friday, 12th. One evening in the second week when Jeff and family came round for dinner we wondered whether to try the Mount Arthur (1784m.) climb despite the rather cloudy weather. In the end we went and it was certainly worth it. There was a bit of cloud and slight rain on top but it was mostly sunny, although Jeffrey and I did see 2 small patches of snow on our ascent. There was quite an amazing jungle at middle height and other strange plants higher up. I think I got a few good bird photos including tomtit, bellbird and kea, the mountain parrot. Gill came with us to above the tree line and also saw them. She then went back and was collected by Mike and Katie long before Jeff and I came down.


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