Takaka, Springs, Golden Bay & SalmonMarch 1 in New Zealand ⋅ ☀️ 16 °C
Today is the first day of Autumn in New Zealand - time for a drive up to Collingwood on Golden Bay and then do a little chinook salmon fishing! But first we had to gear ourselves up for the infamous Takaka Hill drive.
Driving through the rolling hills of Mapua, we passed apple orchards, hop farms and grazing animals. A little further, we drove through the Abel Tasman park area and a little further we started the steep and winding drive up the Takaka Hill.
It looks pretty bushy but looking at it closely, you notice that the rocks are marble and had been smoothed out over years by erosion. Chris has his NZ driving down pat so the trip over the hills was as bad as we thought it would be. It was still steep and winding, but okay. We enjoyed stopping at some of the lookouts. This area was filmed in both The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings movies. We didn’t feel that we had time to hike out to the Ngarua caves or see the deep Harwoods Hole. You can only do what you can do in the time you have.
We did stop ad walk out to the Hawks Lookout. It was very easy and only took 15 minutes. The rock formation along the side of the trail looked like small scaled models of mountain ranges. From the lookout you look down the Riwaka Valley and out to Motueka and the coast. Lovely. It was a nice break from going up the steep and winding road. Going down was fine.
On we went to Collingwood, the town where our Elora friend, Doog, grew up. It is the last town on Golden Bay ad it feels like the end of the road. Most people who come here continue on to see the Farewell Spit. We didn’t. We had a fancy coffee in the interesting old Courthouse Cafe, visited the museum, saw the cemetery and read about the history of the school in the upper part of the village.
Then we turned around and started back to Mapua. But, we still had a few side trips on the way.
Just a short distance from the town of Takaka, we came to an extraordinary spot - Te Waikoropupū Springs. They are the largest freshwater springs in New Zealand, and the largest coldwater springs in the Southern Hemisphere. This sacred Maori place is considered a treasure, and is held in high cultural and spiritual regard. Although people cannot swim in the springs, or even so much as put your finger in the water, it is easy to follow this rule as it contains some of the clearest water ever measured. A community of eels and native fish can be seen darting around underneath the bubbling surface, and we heard more birdsong here than any other walk we have taken. A wonderful stop.
But we haven’t gone fishing yet... Next stop - the Anatoki Salmon Hatchery - a fresh water Chinook salmon farm located in a sheltered valley beside the Anatoki River. We could can buy direct from the farm, or fish to our hearts’ content, paying only for what we catch. As we only needed one fish we figured that we would stop fishing when one of us caught a fish.
Rods, nets, bait and instructions are provided for free. Chris won. His fish wasn’t very big but it was fine for the two of us. The staff weighed, gutted and gilled the fish, and then smoked it for us to take home for dinner. We had a smoked salmon on a bagel and fries for lunch while we waited. We watched as friendly pigs wandered around eating scraps and saying hi to the kids who were there.
Heading home, we went over and down the ‘hill’ and took a detour home by pretty Ruby Bay.
We were happy to see Dawn and Michelle again and get caught up in everyone’s daytime adventures.Read more