A Travellerspoint blog

Too Much To Put a Title On...

...way too much.

semi-overcast 22 °C

From Jackett Island we head further north-west towards Reg Turner's luxurious B&B, Song of the Tui, outside of Collingwood. Along the way, a short hike catches our attention through a silver beech forest and past marble outcrops to Hardwood's Hole. The gaping hole is NZ's deepest vertical shaft at 400 m deep and 70 m wide, that's a lot of hole. The hole was formed from a former acidic stream which gradually dissolved fissures in the underlying marble. The hole was enlarged by collapse as its sides were undercut by the impressive waterfall that must once have plunged down it.

Reflective Pond

Reflective Pond


Looking Out of Harwoods Hole

Looking Out of Harwoods Hole

Driving on, we grunt our way up and over the Takaka Hill which supports some amazing coastal views. We enter Takaka and Julie spots a few places to satisfy her womanly need to shop. She finds an artist making all sorts of neat “New Zealand” art from old useless bits and pieces. We end up buying an old rusty table saw blade that had been transformed into a Kiwi bird with the help of a plasma cutter. Very eco-shiek. We also stop at Wholemeal cafe, a funky cafe/art gallery/restaurant. Takaka is a very laid back to near-horizontal town with rootsy artists. Creativity is displayed everywhere including the local park, artist murals on outdoor walls, and fabulous fountains. So far this is Julie's favourite town in NZ.

Our final stop before reaching Reg's place is the Te Waikoropupu Springs, the largest freshwater springs in Australasia pumping out 14 000 litres a second. They also have the distinction of being the clearest water on earth. The only other natural water that is clearer can be found in frozen antarctic glaciers. The water is unbelievably clear, it was as if you were looking into an aquarium but it is a freshwater pond. The surface of the pond bubbles in places as the quartz sands are tossed up about half a meter by the up-welling of subterranean water from the vent, giving it the name 'Dancing Sands Spring'.

Massive Pupu Springs

Massive Pupu Springs


Massive Pupu Springs

Massive Pupu Springs

The Te Waikoropupu Springs, also known as Pupu Springs, are a treasure and sacred place for Maori. In Maori traditions the springs are the purest form of water which is the spiritual and the physical source of life. They provide water for healing and in the past were a place of ceremonial blessings at times of birth and death and in the leaving/returning of travellers. Touching the water and swimming in the water is restricted in order to protect it.

From the springs we head to Reg's, driving up his long winding drive to the top of a hill providing views up the valley reaching into Kahurangi National Park and down the valley which meets the ocean. We arrive just in time to eat a wonderful dinner of roast chicken and potatoes, lovely! Reg shows us to our accommodations for the next 10 days, a separate cabin with bathroom and kitchenette that is spotless. Reg is a wonderful, energetic, jolly, old man that has run many different lodges around NZ. He gives us the grand tour and is truly proud of previous wwoofers' involvement in his well landscaped property. Our first day of work consists of prepping soil for seeding by sieving it, adding compost, and then planting vegetable seeds inside his tire gardens.

Tractor Tire Veggie Gardens

Tractor Tire Veggie Gardens

We put extra hours in to be able to take the next day off to explore the Farewell Spit area. The spit is formed by the erosion of cliffs in the Southern Alps which is washed into the Tasman Sea via the rivers. The ocean currents then carry the finest sediments north, depositing them on the spit. Million of cubic meters of sand are added to the spit each year. It would be a wonderful spot on a hot summer day, with endless beach on the north side of the spit but today the cool wind prevents any thoughts of sunbathing or swimming. So instead we check out Fossil Point where fossilized shells and worm casts are found in blocks of mudstone fallen from the cliffs.

Native Pukeko

Native Pukeko


Outer Beaches of Farewell Spit

Outer Beaches of Farewell Spit


Fossil Point on Farewell Spit

Fossil Point on Farewell Spit


Tiny Ram’s Horn Squid Shell on Farewell Spit

Tiny Ram’s Horn Squid Shell on Farewell Spit

On the south side of the spit during low tide the mud flats are covered with flocks of birds searching for seafood. It's just a few hours past high tide so the flocks of birds haven't arrived yet, but we still come across Black swans, Caspian terns, and a single Bar-tailed godwit.

Inner Shore of Farewell Spit

Inner Shore of Farewell Spit


Caspian Terns at Farewell Spit

Caspian Terns at Farewell Spit

Just west of the spit is Cape Farewell, the most northern location on the South Island of NZ. It is rugged and carved by the wind and ocean waves. The mammoth cliffs and caves are so big, it seems hard to take it all in. The vegetation is continuously pounded by strong winds and so much of the vegetation is windswept scrub growing horizontally to the ground.

Cape Farewell Ocean Cliffs

Cape Farewell Ocean Cliffs


Nate and Julie at Cape Farewell

Nate and Julie at Cape Farewell

We head to Wharariki Beach with its dramatic coastline consisting of massive sea arches, soaring sandstone cliffs, echoing caves, scattered islands, and golden beaches. The winds here are remarkably strong, forcing you to take a few steps here and there to stabilize yourself. This is one of the most breathtaking coasts we've ever been to.

Sand Dunes at Wharariki Beach

Sand Dunes at Wharariki Beach


Wharariki Beach Reflections

Wharariki Beach Reflections


Wharariki Beach and Arch Islands

Wharariki Beach and Arch Islands


Wharariki Beach and Arch Islands

Wharariki Beach and Arch Islands

The next day Reg has us cleaning and reloading stoat traps that haven't been successful with any kills. Stoats are deadly killers to NZ's native bird life and killing them is forefront in conservation. The local watering hole, The Mussel Inn, offers a free pint with every stoat tail turned in. Now that is some incentive to set some traps.

Stoat Traps

Stoat Traps

Reg has been itching for three years to use flat river stones to face the concrete around the front of his house. With my mason wizardry skills, I use stones that we collect down at the river to make his dreams come true. I enlist the help of everyone, Julie prepping stones and giving the wall a skim coat, and Reg clearing the dirt away from the foundation and even slapping a few stones on. With a few long days we manage to finish to a point where Reg can easily polish the job off on his own with the skills and know how past on from myself. Reg was gleaming with delight at the finished results. To celebrate the completion of the job, his 70th b-day, Jodie giving birth to a health baby boy, and the fact the we are now Aunt Julie and Uncle Nathan for the first time, we crack many a beer and toast to all. The stress of wondering about the progress with Julie's sister's pregnancy is over and she spends some time on Skype getting all the details.

Laying Stones at Reg's

Laying Stones at Reg's

While staying at Reg's we decide to take 2 days off and do the nearby trek to Boulder Lake Hut, an alpine lake at roughly 1000 m elevation. The trek takes us through lush native forest, over crevices in the forest floor, beyond the tree line through alpine scrub, and over ridges of loose shingle. We are constantly fighting the uphill battle and trek into the clouds in the early afternoon. Finally the sight of the picturesque lake is a godsend. Unfortunately our hard work isn't rewarded this time, as the clouds had set in before we reached the tree line and this thick blanket didn't lift until after our hike out. The night at Boulder Lake Hut is our first “hut” experience. It is so secluded, remote, and peaceful. This is not a tourist type track and you could tell. Nearby are two waterfalls, one behind the hut and the other was the point where Boulder Lake overflowed into the valley far below. Crystal clear alpine water flowed over both falls. As we hike out in the misty morning Julie stumbles upon a Kea, its dark silhouette against the grey backdrop. Kea's are the only alpine parrot in the world and are notorious scavengers that have become quite brave. An unguarded backpack or hut door left open could spell disaster. They have been also know to kill a sheep simply by continuously pecking on their back until taking it down. Luckily, this one is not so brave.

Start of Boulder Lake Trek

Start of Boulder Lake Trek


Lunchtime on Boulder Lake Trek

Lunchtime on Boulder Lake Trek


Alpine Flower on Boulder Lake Trek

Alpine Flower on Boulder Lake Trek


Silver Beech on Boulder Lake Trek

Silver Beech on Boulder Lake Trek


Decending to Boulder Lake

Decending to Boulder Lake


Boulder Lake Trek

Boulder Lake Trek


Boulder Lake Hut

Boulder Lake Hut


Waterfalls at Boulder Lake

Waterfalls at Boulder Lake


Boulder Lake Hut

Boulder Lake Hut

Cooking at Boulder Lake Hut

Cooking at Boulder Lake Hut


Reflections in Boulder Lake

Reflections in Boulder Lake


Kea on Boulder Lake Trek

Kea on Boulder Lake Trek

The trek out is all downhill, much easier than the trek in, but our legs are fatigued and the terrain is very slippery from the clouds and morning dew. As a result, we take a couple tumbles but nothing life threatening.

Nate Down!

Nate Down!

Because we completed the trek out 1 hour quicker than the trek in, we head to Salisbury Suspension Bridge just down the road. This footbridge was built in March 1887 and the Salisbury Creek and the footbridge were both named after the Salisbury family who came to seek their fortune in gold in 1860. It was built over the beautiful Aorere River.

Aorere River from Salisbury Footbridge

Aorere River from Salisbury Footbridge

We spent the next days recovering from the trek, and working. We decide to have a feast of cockles for our last meal at Reg`s so Julie and I head down to the ocean. Raking and digging through the coastal sand flats at low tide we gather much less than the generous limit of 150 per person. We steam them on the BBQ and enjoy every morsal. Seafood is great to have so readily available. The only problem is too much of good thing can turn bad.

Cockle Collecting in Collingwood

Cockle Collecting in Collingwood


Nate, Reg, and Julie

Nate, Reg, and Julie

Posted by ontarions 00:03 Archived in New Zealand Comments (3)

Jackett Island Slave Labour

...for good reasons.

sunny 23 °C

The blog continues! Welcome back to the travels of the Ontarions. Shall we get to it? We say goodbye to Bob and his new buddies, 7 ducks, that have been hanging around his place and getting friendlier and braver. We are off to Nelson to grab some things before heading North-west where towns get sparse and so do other required items. While in Nelson we stop at South St., the oldest fully intact street in New Zealand, which dates back to 1863. It is lined with neat little cottage-type homes and shops.

Time is tight and we have to meet up with Miranda and Ben, our next wwoofing hosts who have a summer home on Jackett Island. So we head to the town of Motueka and meet them at Toad Hall, where we load up groceries before heading to the harbour. The only way onto Jackett Island is by some form of boat, so we load the essentials into their Argo, we all jump in, and plunge into the water. After a short water crossing and a tour down the beach, Ben pulls up on the deck of their awesome summer pad. They give us the run down on everything around the cottage including monitoring solar power battery levels. Then they show us the reason why we are there, to slow down the erosion of there beach front.

View of Ocean From Our Bed

View of Ocean From Our Bed


Summer House Kitchen

Summer House Kitchen


Making Lemonaide

Making Lemonaide

In 1995-96 the Council initiated the construction of a 700 m long by 1.5 m high geotextile groyne/breakwater with the intention of deflecting southerly directed sand from the Motueka Spit offshore and maintain navigable channel to Port Mouteka. As a result of the groyne, the sand is no longer being deposited on Jackett Island but instead on the spit, which has grown significantly in length and width and Jackett Island is eroding. The extensive shingle platform (rocky beach) is exposed now, while previously it was covered entirely by sand. About 20 m of beach front has eroded from Ben and Miranda's property since 2000, and several attempts at soft-engineering solutions (eg. Dune stabilization) have failed in recent years. Their home has become more and more at risk. Our mission is to fill large sacks with cement along their beach front to reduce the force of the waves hitting the sand banks. This should slow the speed of erosion until they hopefully win the court case that will see the removal of the groyne and the restoration of the beach. Over the course of our stay we filled around 20 sacks, each bag taking about half an hour with Julie and I shovelling and mixing cement like machines.

Sacks Filled with Concrete infront of Home

Sacks Filled with Concrete infront of Home

Shoreline Protection

Shoreline Protection

Besides the crazy amount of cement mixing and back breaking labour, we had a wonderful time taking in everything Jackett Island had to offer. Ben and Miranda left us with the entire summer home to ourselves, only visiting twice during the week. The sea fare was excellent! Julie gathered and sundried seaweed for munching on, we gathered mussels, tua tuas, and pacific oysters for various dinners, we ate scallops (from the neighbours), and Kahawai (a fish Ben caught just off shore). Each experience has its own storey. Kahawai fishing was hard work, as we trolled in the kayaks during high tide hoping to get some bites. On another occasion, while digging through the sand for tua tuas on the spit we noticed a nude man jogging towards us giving us a wave. I spent a lot of time relaxing on the deck while Julie practised her downward dog. Morning beach walks and explorations during low tide were common. The only way for us to escape the island was by paddling the kayak to the mainland. For a change of pace one Sunday morning, we headed into the market at Motueka for a nosey around. It was a great market, and we've noticed that second hand clothing is a regular booth at New Zealand markets.

Lowtide on Jackett Island

Lowtide on Jackett Island


Julie Collecting Seaweed

Julie Collecting Seaweed


Oyster Shuck Fest

Oyster Shuck Fest

Collecting Tua Tuas on Motueka Sandspit

Collecting Tua Tuas on Motueka Sandspit

Nate Foraging For Tua Tuas

Nate Foraging For Tua Tuas


Julie at Jackett Island

Julie at Jackett Island


Kayaking into Port Motueka

Kayaking into Port Motueka


Sucking Pacific Oysters on Jackett Island

Sucking Pacific Oysters on Jackett Island


Julie in the Yoga Zone

Julie in the Yoga Zone

Julie's sister Jodie was due to give birth at any time, and our only means of Internet access was at the neighbours (Rudy and Edith). For reasons unknown our net-book wouldn't connect to their network, so he insisted on Julie using his computer whenever she wanted. They were so friendly and we shared many laughs with them. Rudy showed us his bee colonies, and he was into astronomy and showed us all the constellations in the southern hemisphere. He also got a strange kick out of launching his little Yorkshire Terrier, Rookie, at the resident family of geese to watch the insanity unfold.

Smooching

Smooching

The time spent secluded on the island was very relaxing and just what we needed. Ben and Miranda were so giving and made sure we had tons of food and beer. They were very grateful with the work we completed along the beach. Ben said that he only has another 30 or so more sacks to fill to feel safe before this years storms roll in. Good luck with that! We're outta here! Thanks for everything.

Ben Crossing Over to Jackett Island

Ben Crossing Over to Jackett Island


Jackett Island Sunset

Jackett Island Sunset

Posted by ontarions 23:56 Archived in New Zealand Comments (1)

Big Bad Bob's...

...and The Knob.

semi-overcast 20 °C

We depart from Kaikoura and our plan is to hike to the Sawcut Gorge which is on our way to Nelson, but heavy pouring rain in the area puts a quick halt to that. Instead we leisurely walk around the Wairau Lagoons, a saltmarsh and estuary formed around the Wairau River mouth located just east of Blenheim. The area provides habitat for over 80 species of wading birds and waterfowl. We gather some cool wildlife footage of the Royal Spoonbills which have a very unique beak. We watched as it slowly swept its open bill from side to side in search of crustaceans and aquatic insects in these tidal flats.

Mudflats at Wairau Lagoon Wetland Reserve

Mudflats at Wairau Lagoon Wetland Reserve


Royal Spoonbill and Pied Shags at Wairau Lagoon Wetland Reserve

Royal Spoonbill and Pied Shags at Wairau Lagoon Wetland Reserve


Black Swans at Wairau Lagoon Wetland Reserve

Black Swans at Wairau Lagoon Wetland Reserve

Wreck of S.S. Waverly at Wairau Lagoon Wetland Reserve

Wreck of S.S. Waverly at Wairau Lagoon Wetland Reserve

Just past Blenheim, which is surrounded by vineyards, we stop at Grove Mill Winery, who claim to be the worlds first carbon neutral winery. They probably just buy credits to gain that distinction, since the lady didn't answer Julie's questions about the subject. We sample 6 different kinds of wine and decide that we can't leave without a few bottles of the award winning desert wine called Gewurtztraminer.

After a stop for a few necessities in Nelson, we head to Bob and Mary Lancaster's to continue our wwoofing expedition. Bob welcomes us and has a wonderful Indian dinner ready, so we sit down for a meal and some chit chat to get to know each other. Bob's wife, Mary, was away guiding a trekking adventure. They own the company “High Places” which guide hikers to remote mountain ranges around the world. Bob is really busy with his business and needs wwoofers like us to get his property in order.

Native Tui

Native Tui

He shows us to the sleep-out, which is our pad for the week. It's a cute cabin with a bed, bathroom with shower, and kitchenette. Due to the amount of cobwebs in the place it looks like it hasn't been used in a while. Once we clean it up a bit, it's perfect to settle into for the week.
At Bob's we spend a lot of time weeding, planting, pruning, cutting, and fixing things around his property. In our spare time, we head into Mapua to bum around the harbour at low tide. Mapua is a great little town with many “one-of-a-kind” shops and quaint cafes. There are loads of amazing useful items for sale which are created out of old throw-away products, such as hooks made out of old cutlery. Creativity thrives here!

Sleepout at Bob and Mary Lancaster's (Our Pad)

Sleepout at Bob and Mary Lancaster's (Our Pad)

Bob loves to hike, especially in alpine areas and wants to take us to Gordon's Knob. So we finish our wwoofing duties early and set out towards the trail. As we get closer, we turn onto a logging road and drive through an unappealing non-native pine tree plantation. Pine trees grow incredibly quick in New Zealand and so they are grown for wood that is to be exported. We reach the beginning of the trail, and the top of the plantation. The neat part about the Knob is you start hiking at an elevation of 950 m. Here the forest begins to transform back into dominantly native species and a short hike through this ecosystem brings us to alpine scrub and views of the snow covered Gordon's Knob. The alpine scrub is saturated with auburn and orange colours, reminding us of the Canadian Fall colours. Beyond the scrub we hike through patches of gnarly Silver Beech thickly coated with lichens and mosses. We then set foot across loose gravel scree, and then thick soft mosses and grasses as we reach the edge of Gordon's Knob. The summit of the Knob seems like an hour away and with the sun beginning to set we accept defeat and turn back. Our vantage point of the surrounding ranges make us feel very small in comparison. The Southern Alps sprawl across the horizon peeking above the cloud cover. The sun is setting fast, so we make like a baby and head out.

Snow Capped Gordon's Knob

Snow Capped Gordon's Knob


Lichen Covered Silver Beech Trees

Lichen Covered Silver Beech Trees


Hiking Up To Gordon's Knob

Hiking Up To Gordon's Knob


Silver Beech Trees Covered in Lichen

Silver Beech Trees Covered in Lichen


View From Gordon's Knob

View From Gordon's Knob


Nate and Turpentine Plants

Nate and Turpentine Plants


Mossy Things

Mossy Things

Julie and Bob Hiking The Knob

Julie and Bob Hiking The Knob

We had a great time with Bob and will keep in touch. Good luck with the new potato/pumpkin patch Bob! We are off to Jackett Island for some erosion control, and some fresh seafood!

Nate and Julie Hiking Gordon's Knob

Nate and Julie Hiking Gordon's Knob

Posted by ontarions 19:16 Archived in New Zealand Comments (2)

The Kaikoura Experience

...mind altering

semi-overcast 18 °C

We leave Glen's early in the morning, and our car weaves its way north up the east coast, our destination is Kaikoura. Everything looks reasonably close on the map, but some roads wind up through countless saddle passes and back down to sea level. Gore Bay and its Cathedral Cliffs catches our attention on the map so we take the scenic detour. It's a very cloudy day and our views are limited.

Cathedral Gully

Cathedral Gully


Foggy Gore Bay

Foggy Gore Bay

As we approach Kaikoura, the mountains get bigger and are situated closer to the shoreline than we have seen thus far. In Kaikoura marine animals are abundant due to ocean-current and continental-shelf conditions where the sea bed gradually slopes away from the land to about 90 m deep, then plunges to more than 800 m. Here warm and cold water converge and create an upwelling bringing nutrients from the ocean floor into the feeding zone. Kaikoura's proliferation of wildlife include whales, dolphins, seals, penguins, shearwaters, petrels and albatross.

Kaikoura

Kaikoura

Kaikoura can be split into two words: kai meaning food and koura meaning crayfish. So the first thing we did was buy a whole crayfish (similar to a lobster) for dinner at our wwoofer's house. Our wwoofing host Jaunita, lives just north of Kaikoura across the road from one of NZ's best surfing beaches. The beach is busy with a small community of surfers living in vans that come and go. Juanita's home is amazing and full of creativity. Thirty years ago, Juanita and her husband at the time built their house. Shortly after they bought the property macrocarpa trees blew down and they used them for beams, counter-tops, and all sorts of furniture in the home. To add to the creativity and beauty of the home, there is pottery everywhere, as Juanita is a potter. Her cupboards are full of beautiful handcrafted bowls, mugs, plates and even a juicer. After our fabulous crayfish dinner Juanita sets us up in our accommodations which basically is our own apartment on the first floor of her home. We have a queen size bed, full bathroom, and kitchenette complete with a set of pottery dishware. We listen to the sound of the roaring waves from our spacious room as we fall into a deep sleep.

View From Our Room at Seaward Pottery

View From Our Room at Seaward Pottery

The next morning we awake to an amazing sight out our patio door, the Seaward Kaikoura mountain range. The hazy day before was hiding these picturesque snow capped mountains along the coast. What an amazing property Jaunita owns, panoramic mountains out the back door and a surfing beach out the front. The food Juanita cooks for us is fabulous, including curries, roasted veggies and chicken, and she even made us Paua, an amazing bivalve from the sea. In exchange for our fabulous accommodations and food, Jaunita has us pruning fruit trees, washing windows, weeding, and cleaning up the gardens. One day we head into Kaikoura and do some pruning at the Little Laundromat, a property her and her friend own. This is the coolest laundromat I've ever seen. They have a retro washing machine at the end of the drive, a retro ironing board at the front door, and inside its painted bright, fun colours. I just wish I had a photo. When Jaunita isn't potting, she is chatting with us and teaching us about life. She is a very unique and interesting person full of insight and strong opinions on many worldly things. We really have a good time getting to know her and her friends, who often stop in for dinner, wine, and a smoke.

Glasshouse at Seaward Pottery

Glasshouse at Seaward Pottery


Seaward Kaikoura Range

Seaward Kaikoura Range

During our stay here we spend some time exploring the area in and around Kaikoura. First, we hike partway up Mount Fife to view the braided Kowhai River and its wide gravel riverbed. The views are one of a kind and we can even see Kaikoura and the peninsula off in the distance.

Kowhai River Valley

Kowhai River Valley

Second, we hike the Kaikoura Peninsula's National Walk at low tide, exploring along the shoreline and taking pics of the squawking red-billed gull breeding/nesting colony.

Seaward Kaikoua Range from Kaikoura Peninsula

Seaward Kaikoua Range from Kaikoura Peninsula


Redbilled Gull Colony on Kaikoura Peninsula

Redbilled Gull Colony on Kaikoura Peninsula


Kaikoura Peninsula

Kaikoura Peninsula


Kaikoura Peninsula

Kaikoura Peninsula


Limpets on Kaikoura Peninsula

Limpets on Kaikoura Peninsula


Kaikoura Peninsula

Kaikoura Peninsula

Third, just up the road from Juanita's we check out the Oahu Seal Colony. The adult fur seals are passed out all over the rocks, basking in the afternoon sun, while the pups play in pools of sea water. We follow a stream inland to Oahu Waterfall, where only seal pups can climb to. They swim about playfully below the waterfall, interacting socially with each other as we watch in awe.

Ohau Point Seal Colony

Ohau Point Seal Colony


Baby Seals at Ohau Point Seal Colony

Baby Seals at Ohau Point Seal Colony


Baby Seal at Ohau Waterfall

Baby Seal at Ohau Waterfall

We really enjoy wwoofing at Seaward Pottery with Jaunita especially the spectacular views, hanging out with her and her friends, morning and evening walks along the beach, and relaxing on the deck with great food. It is tough to move on but the road is calling again.

Nate Relaxing After Hard Day of Wwoofing

Nate Relaxing After Hard Day of Wwoofing

Posted by ontarions 11:38 Archived in New Zealand Comments (3)

Banks Peninsula & Area

...hello again!

semi-overcast 17 °C

We are slowly grasping the wild concept of driving on the opposite side of roads now, after a few close calls and quick u-turns. I gave Julie a go at driving, lets just say we had some good laughs when every time she went to put her blinker on her windshield wipers came on. Just walking down the sidewalk and crossing the road is all ass backwards too. The traffic is coming from the right when you step off the curb, not the left like at home.

Anyways, we made it to Glen's bachelor pad in the hills near Little River to help him with tasks around his house, earning food and board in return. He is slowly working towards taking his property off the grid and becoming fully self-sustainable. With large veggie gardens and fruit trees, lots of available firewood, a fast stream and solar panels for hydro, becoming self-sustainable is within reach. He also plans to get chickens to provide him with eggs and will use their poops for fertilizing everything. He has an outdoor bath by the river, which is pretty cool, however being that the air temperature is only about 10-15 °C you tend to avoid showering until a hot sunny day appears. We spend our free time relaxing by the stream and exploring different bays and towns in the Banks Peninsula.

Wwoofing at Glen's

Wwoofing at Glen's


Port Levy

Port Levy


Port Levy

Port Levy


Le Bons Bay

Le Bons Bay

We take 2 days and head to Akaroa, a quaint town with deep French ties. It's a beautiful place to explore and sip coffee by the harbour. We complete a few hikes including the Beach Trail in the Hinewai Reserve; part of the Banks Peninsula Trek; the trail to Little Haylocks Bay in the Akaroa Head Reserve; a walk along the coast in the Pohutu Marine Reserve. We also did a coastal walk along Akaroa Harbour past the light house and up into the Anglican Cemetery which was devastated by the previous earthquake.

Earthquake Damaged Grave Stone at Anglican Cemetry

Earthquake Damaged Grave Stone at Anglican Cemetry


Pied Cormorant

Pied Cormorant


Snow Peaked Hills

Snow Peaked Hills


Collasped Sea Arch

Collasped Sea Arch


Akaroa Harbour

Akaroa Harbour


Sunset in Akaroa Harbour

Sunset in Akaroa Harbour

Back at Glen's he talks to us about his buddies, Marcus and Megan, who own Manaia Native Habitat. This is a property being converted into a wonderful property full of native flora and fauna offering hiking trails and camping. For a change of pace, Glen sends us over to the Habitat since they need help preparing for the season opening. We spend most of our time clearing overgrown trees, mostly the invasive elderberry trees, and doing general repairs. Marcus and Megan treat us to some amazing meals and really appreciate our help sprucing up the property. While at the Habitat we were shacked up in “Goldie's Cabin” (one of my middle names is Goldwin, after my Grandfather) which was great. A huge storm brought buckets of rain and left snow on the high peaks but despite this Megan and Marcus cooked and delivered dinner to our cabin. What an awesome stay.

Goldie's Cabin at Mainia Native Habitat

Goldie's Cabin at Mainia Native Habitat

The last few days we spend back at Glen's place building a stone wall and moving firewood from up on the slope down to the wood pile using the “Flying Fox”. His little piece of paradise will definitely give him plenty of joy as he and wwoofers work towards creating a self-sustaining property. His neighbour is a bit ahead of Glen in terms of sustainable power. She has a hydro-electric and solar setup to provide all of her power. She diverts water from a pool in a stream through a pvc pipe to a turbine that is 100 m downstream. Being that it is spring and the river flow is high, currently the hydro-electricity provides enough electricity for the house. However, she also added solar panels to keep the house's batteries fully charged at all times especially in times when the river has low flow and provides less power.

Splitting Wood at Glen's

Splitting Wood at Glen's

Our time spent on the Bank Penunsula has been very rewarding and enriching. We can't imagine what is to come, but if the rest of New Zealand is as beautiful as this, we are in for some mind blowing experiences.

Paua Shell

Paua Shell


Oyster Catcher in Pohatu Marine Reserve

Oyster Catcher in Pohatu Marine Reserve

Posted by ontarions 02:36 Archived in New Zealand Comments (2)

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