|View of Nelson, across Tasman Bay|
We stayed at the Heron's Rest, a cozy B&B with views of Golden Bay from our room and the deck. We arrived to find an an envelope with our names on it taped to the front door. The note inside invited us to could come in and get settled, explaining that our hostess, Maureen, had forgotten about her hair appointment in Takaka. Maureen only knew that a couple named Mike and Susan were driving in from Blenheim -- she didn't even need a credit card to hold our room. This all seemed very normal to us, but we reflected back on how surprised we would have been to find this level of trust at the beginning of our trip.
Click here for larger images with captions.
|View from the deck off our room|
The note further invited us to join Maureen for a glass of wine at 5:15PM, so we took advantage of the down time to take a little snooze before heading outside to the garden. Soon another couple arrived and we extended our hands greeted our British ex-pat hosts Angus and Maureen. They looked at us oddly -- we had the wrong Brits -- the couple was actually Trevor and Hilly, who were staying at the Heron's Rest Cottage next door. Maureen arrived soon enough but we didn't get to meet Angus as he was back in the UK visiting his mum. The five of us had a jolly chat before dinner. We were particularly interested in hearing about T&H's recent adventure to Antartica. (Penguins!)
Collingwood village was a handy 5 minute private bush walk from Heron's Rest and we didn't need to drive anywhere. We ate at the Collingwood Tavern, known as Tinky's by the locals, where we met up again with Trevor and Hilly and watched the sun setting over the bay through dinner in the back yard.
|Mike about to board "The Gypsy"|
Our return trip included a lunch stop at a lighthouse keeper's house, a little green oasis surrounded by tall trees the workers had painstakingly planted a century ago by carrying soil back from Collingwood, saddlebag by saddlebag. We passed some of the same sea lions on the way back and also stopped to watch an Oystercatcher open and extract the good stuff out of a mussel. The last stop was to climb around on a barchan dune, one of many huge crescent shaped-shifting dunes on the spit. Hiking up was tough from the side, but we had fun running back down the steepest slope of powdery sand.
|Mike and Susan at the Mussel Inn|
|Quiz Night at the Mussel Inn|
On the way home we stopped at Waikoropupu Springs, generally known simply as Pupu Springs, known for the volume and clarity of the waters flowing from its several vents. Fresh water comes from 8 different vents at the rate of 14,000 liters/second! Signage warns visitors to make no contact with the pristine water. A few minutes from the springs, we stopped for afternoon tea at the Wholemeal Cafe in Takaka and felt transported to home to Boulder in the hippie organic brightly colored surrounds. Their Carbonara, a pasta with bacon and mushroom cream sauce, is Susan's favorite New Zealand meal yet. Unless you ask for "streaky bacon", the bacon here is more like ham. On the way home again, one more side trip to see the pretty beach holiday town of Kaikerikeri, but it was quite hot, clouds were rolling in and we were pretty much beached out so we headed straight for Blenheim without taking as much as one photo, if you can believe that!
OK, well there was that one shot of hops fields outside of Motueka we took thinking of Mike's homebrew enthusiast son, Tony.