Tuesday, 6 November 2007


We decided to make the most of the weather by avoiding the notoriously wet and windy west coast, and staying up north in Golden Bay for a day or two.

Unfortunately, by the time we arrived in Takaka, having being buzzed by motorbikes pretending SH60 was a racetrack and checking out some pretty spectacular scenery, the weather was pretty duff.
And there isn't much to do in Golden Bay if the weather's not delivering.

We had a pretty dull day, enlivened only by a short visit to the Golden Bay Museum. Here we read about Abel Tasman's "discovery" of New Zealand in 1642. This intrepid dutchman dropped anchor in Golden Bay for a couple of days, quickly got into a fight with the locals, came off the worse, and slung his hook pretty damn quick. For some reason, his naming the country "New Zealand" has stuck. Debs and I both find the Maori name "Aotearoa" - Land of the Long White Cloud - both more apt, poetic and just damn right. Sorry about that, Abel.

The other attraction in Takaka was Dave Whittaker's little labour of love, the Labyrinth Rocks Park. Dave, an affable old buffer from Eat Yorkshire, fought the bureaucrats to set up a great little walkway full of gnomes and plastic dinosaurs, through an amazing rock formation in his back garden. After spending a fun filled hour in the labyrinth (a bargain at NZ$7 each), we had a great chat with him about his love of Golden Bay and pending retirement. If anyone's interested after seeing the pics, it's up for sale - a snip at NZ$500k.

After deciding to ditch Golden Bay, we headed West via Buller Gorge, where we walked the Buller Gorge swingbridge, onwards to the Punakaiki pancake rocks and blow holes via some awesome scenery.

Ben and Debs

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