A Travellerspoint blog

By this Author: NZBarry

Collingwood to Turimawiwi River

2020 Caravan Diaries

overcast 20 °C

Driving up the coast from Collingwood takes you to a great drive - it goes from a tiny place called Pakawau curving around the Whanganui Inlet, out to the west coast and down to the Turimawiwi River. I have heard from locals that it is possible to drive down to where the road up the west coast ends at Karamea, but to do that, you have to know what you're doing. I don't.

The road hugs the coastline for about 30 km - I find it a bit scary at times, when it is necessary to go across a narrow causeway: what if I meet someone half way? What if I have a sudden temptation to drive over the edge? The latter does not happen, and I only meet one vehicle, so pause before I go over to let him get out of my way.


The inlet itself is surrounded by bush and the area is a scenic reserve, so it is a little surprising to see a house stuck all by itself in the bush. I can't quite work out how people get to it - I spot a track, but it does not seem to connect, and even boat access looks awkward.


To get to the West Coast, the road has to go over a bit of a peninsular. My first time down this road, which would easily be ten years ago, I was shocked to find a cafe, the Nugget, in the middle of nowhere - at Mangarakau. I of course had to go in and check it out. I was back through a few years ago and stopped to take a photo - the owners (son and daughter-in-law of the people I encountered last time) came out to see what I was doing, and invited me in, selling me some beer to take down to the river, despite them being closed for New Year's Day. This time, the place is properly closed, so I'm on my own.

There are a couple of rivers - quite small but big enough to merit a bridge. First there's the Wairoa


and then the Paturau


Then they give up on bridges - the Anatori River has to be forded. I was first here in Webster, and didn't really see a van as a good vehicle to explore the river in. Last time I was in Old Jeep and had no hesitation. This time round, there's a big sign warning that the river is treacherous, could damage my vehicle and to proceed at my own risk. I park up for a bit, hoping another vehicle would come by and show me the way - it only takes about ten minutes and I'm on my way.


The road is really just a good farm track from here, and is quite elevated - after a few kilometres, it comes to an end at the Turimawiwi River. Yes, there is another ford, but only to allow access to the farmhouse across the river - one of our more remote sheep farms. There are a few blokes with utes, often with a quad bike on the back - no-one seems to be actually doing anything, they're just hanging about.


There's nothing for me to see here, so I head back - heading over a hill as I get near Anatori, I am struck by the lush green of the grass and the dark brown colouring of the creek running through it.


My last pause is at an old wharf not far after the road connects with the Whanganui Inlet coast - there are a few people fishing, but I doubt the wharf is up to being used for much else.


Posted by NZBarry 12:48 Archived in New Zealand Comments (0)

Go West, Old Man

2020 Caravan Diaries

sunny 21 °C

For some reason, my post about my trip in 2016, the last time I was in this area, mentions the Rockville Machinery and Settlers Museum but stops without going any further. No worries, I revisit this area about 20 km south west of Collingwood, on the road that terminates at the beginning of the Heaphy Track. I go out as far as the Salisbury Bridge, and make my way back - this is a bridge that was, a footbridge over the Aorere River - built in 1887, much to the dismay of those who wanted to take their horses across to their farms or their gold claims, because they could not. It was rebuilt in 1902 and then finally washed away by a flood in 2010. There is very little to see of the bridge, just its supports, but the river is very pretty at this point (and possibly remains pretty in the parts I cannot see).


Back up the road a little is a shop which opened in 1928 and has been in the same family ever since - the Langford Store of Bainham, I am a wee bit confused about the history - the shop's website says that Lorna, the grand-daughter of the original owner, ran it for 63(!!) years until 2008, then handed over to another Langford, Sukhita. But then in December, Julian Lee visited for Seven Sharp, and the story is that Lorna died in October 2020, and not long before she died, tracked down Sukhita - her grand-father's brother was Lorna's father. Anyway, I do not stay for a tea and scone, because I remember the scone from last time as being very dry.


I go in and spend a while wandering around the Rockville Machinery and Settlers Museum - there isn't much reflecting the settlers aspect, just a couple of rooms set up with quite a lot of assorted household stuff. I am told there will be a crank up in early January - where they start up the old machinery - but I'll be long gone so satisfy myself with looking at the old tractors and the like. Some are the same model as I drove, way back in the day, such as the Fordson and the David Brown P25 - I think we had three of these mighty wee tractors. As you can see, they are pretty low on creature comforts.


I don't think I ever saw one of these, but it must be one of the smallest trucks in the world - it is a Daihatsu Midget II. These have a 660 cc motor but are very light, so can get up to 70 miles an hour - apparently there was a trend to race them in Japan!


Here's some more general shots of how the museum looks and a couple of things that catch my eye:


This is not the end of my day, far from it, as I head on out over the Anatori River as far as the road will take me - more on that shortly.

Posted by NZBarry 09:12 Archived in New Zealand Comments (0)

Pottering Around Pohara

2020 Caravan Diaries

overcast 20 °C

During the week I spend in Takaka, I think I go to Pohara a total of five times - it is only 8 km down the road, and there are some great places to eat. My first drive down there is really just to get a sense of the vibe of the place - I see there's a coffee roaster just as you go into Pohara, then a big holiday park along the coast, with several bars and places to stay on the other side of the road. I carry on past the marina and actually end up right at the end of the road, at the DOC camp at Totaranui - the last bit is rather a twisty affair. On the way past what I think is Ligar Bay, I am impressed by the huge expanse of golden sand (this is Golden Bay after all), but need to be high to get a decent photo. I think I'll get one on the way back but, of course, by then the tide has come in very quickly, and there's nothing to see. I don't think the beach at Totaranui is particularly special, but since I was there, several of my Facebook friends have been and posted amazing photos.

Heading back, I pause at the marina, mainly because the rock formations around it are very cool, but also it turns out that this is a thing I do, I visit marinas - with no intention of ever having a boat (that said, I have stayed at the marina at Half Moon Bay in my caravan a couple of times). These are the rocks as I approach the marina from the Totaranui side.


Then I stand at the marina, to see how the rocks look from there.


As for the marina itself, most of the boats tied up are commercial, but there is also a wee bay with several yachts.


Somewhere along the way, I see what seems to be a lighthouse, stuck well away from the coast. Investigation reveals it to be attached to a house - which reminds me of the Grand Designs episode where they built what they called a lighthouse - this one looks a lot more like one.


I come back one day for a coffee at the Totally Roasted coffee roastery, as it has had very good reviews, but must have come too early, because there is very little food on offer. It still seems to be quite popular. Rather than head back into Takaka, I wander the coastline a bit, encountering a fellow who is obviously just out of the sea as I do - he tells me the water is deliciously warm. I'm happy to take his word for it.


A far better idea is to take my book into the nearest pub - Korora’s Nest - for a beer and to take my chances with lunch. I get a pretty good steak sandwich.


Little do I know it, but I am destined to return. In an odd coincidence, friends from Dunedin have also decided to spend some time at Takaka, and we arrange to have dinner. My walking about has encouraged me to suggest we meet at another bar, the Kotare Sands, so my friends make the booking. I sit at the table they have booked and am enjoying a pint and the live music, when my friends text to find out where I am. Yes - they have gone to the wrong place, but there are two of them and only one of me, so I have to move. Its a good thing I do, because I come back the next night to try the food at Kotare - its alright, but the food at Korora's Nest is splendid. My marinara might not look very flash, but it is well cooked and very tasty and my friends rave about their steaks with potato gratin.


But the pies, oh, the pies! Best apple pie I have had in a long long time! It is more of a cakey concoction than pastry, but so delicious.


Posted by NZBarry 10:26 Archived in New Zealand Comments (0)

A Pupu Perambulation

2020 Caravan Diaries

overcast 20 °C

The official name is Te Waikoropupū Springs but everyone, including the various road signs, calls them the Pupu Springs. They are just outside Takaka to the west. DOC says they are the largest cold water springs in the southern hemisphere, with some of the cleanest water measured in New Zealand. They are the subject of a fairly long-standing court battle, over a proposal to take water for irrigation for local dairy farming, which would involve consequential pollution to the springs. I go back for another look - last time I was here, there were quite a few people about but today I have the place to myself. There is a convenient board walk through the bush, running alongside one of the streams that feeds the pool.


The water is pretty clear - there is a claim that underwater visibility is 63 metres, and there's quite a lot to see under the surface (an "aquatic garden of Eden" is how one author has described the place). This is the source of the water used for Dancing Sands gin, made locally: so called because the Dancing Sands vent apparently causes sand to dance in the upward flow of the water. I think you have to be a diver to see it - all I can see is the rippling as the water emerges at the surface.


The surrounding bush (and lack of people) make for a very peaceful environment - thankfully, DOC so far have resisted pressures to allow commercialisation, like glass bottomed boats or kayaking.


A bit further up the road, the Pupu Hydro Power system has been operating for nearly 100 years (with a gap in the 1980's when vandalism caused a hiatus). It is an ingenious scheme, taking advantage of water races originally built for a gold mining operation. Apparently, there were nearly 4 km when first built, but only about half that length is still in use. How it works is that water is collected high up in the hills, by building a weir in Campbell Creek, and diverted along the water races to a point above the power station. There it is piped down to the station where it runs turbines and generates about 1 GWh a year (I don't know how much that actually is). Here's a useful map to show the general scheme:


I spend an afternoon wandering through - there is a choice at the beginning - left or right. I pick right because it is shorter and soon regret it, as the path is tough going.


It turns out I make the right choice as going left would have involved a long tramp up a gravel road with little to see. I at least get to see traces of the former scheme, such as this disused pipe hidden in the undergrowth (and a much less hidden one).


After about 30 minutes I get to the head pond - it is from here that the water is piped 105 metres down to the station. I think the brush-thing is actually a form of filter, to stop bits of foliage getting into the pipe.


The water race runs to here from Campbell Creek, about 1.5 km away - there's a board walk or well-formed path the whole way, but at times the walkway gets very narrow with a fairly long drop off to the side. I'm not good with heights and there are points at which I wonder what I am doing.


The weir itself is not exactly overwhelming, and has broken away over the years. The diversion of the creek into the water race is probably much less effective as a result - it happens under the cover of bush.


At one point on the gravel road, I have to stop and take in the view.


Down at the station, there's not much to see - a plain corrugated iron shed, and the pipe running from above, although at least there's a window allowing me to see what is inside the shed.


Posted by NZBarry 21:11 Archived in New Zealand Comments (0)

Wander to Wharariki Beach

2020 Caravan Diaries

sunny 20 °C

After a day resting up in Takaka and its surrounds, I decide to go a bit further afield, out beyond Collingwood towards Cape Farewell. I don't plan on seeing much of Farewell Spit, as it is very low lying and there is no public access - with the café closed, the only vantage point is at sea level, and it gives no advantage. I stop for a coffee and carrot cake in the Courthouse café in Collingwood and wander the streets (there are two of them) with little to see - the great gift shop in the former post office has closed but some of its stock is in the second hand shop next door, and the chocolate shop has also closed.


Cape Farewell is the most northern point in the South Island, quite easily accessed by walking a couple of hundred metres through a farm. It is blustery and there isn't much to see, so I do not linger.


There is a bit of the road I have not explored, out to Wharariki Beach. I am a little surprised to find not only a holiday park but also a café, one which is open - the sign says it will be open every day "if sunny". It has outdoor seating of a fairly rustic design, and a resident peacock who wanders around. I naturally stop in for a coffee.


The walk out to the beach is rather more substantial, through a farm where I am quite exposed to the wind, then through some bush and finally along the top of a sandhill ridge.


At this point, of course, the battery in my camera fails me but I do have a bit of juice left in my phone. The scale of the beach is so big that it seems deserted, even though there are several groups of people about - including some on horseback.


The rocks here are apparently so famous that Microsoft has used them as one of their standard Windows screensavers - maybe you have seen them (probably without bonus fingers)?


I wander about a bit, and then discover the downside of sand dunes being the path back to the beginning. One line of dunes looks very much like another, and I, of course, don't pick the right one. Looking across to the next one, I don't think it is right either. There's a pretty hefty wind blowing sand along the surface of the beach, which has covered my own tracks, so I can't follow them.


If the beach had been deserted, I might still be there but a couple of women were on their way out - I watched until they had gone, and then headed up after them. Back near the café, I encounter a peahen with three chicks on the path. Mum takes off up the bank, but the wee chicks are a bit confused about how to proceed. I don't want to get between them and their mum, so wait and eventually each one takes to wobbly flight to join mum up on the bank. I don't know if they are related to the peacock down at the café, but I do ask him why he is hanging out there while his wife and kids are stuck at home.


Posted by NZBarry 03:33 Archived in New Zealand Comments (0)

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