Takaka Travel Blog› entry 13 of 25 › view all entries
Takaka was a real funny place, and we we mean that in a nice way! It was so "hippified" that it made Totnes look like a reform school, plenty of nice cafe's serving really weird but delicious food, plenty of shops selling all sorts of exotic organic stuff, like shoes made out of mud and twigs.
Our hostel was a funny place (funny as in "ha ha" as well as "peculiar!) and it was a good base for exploring the area.
We took a drive up to Whararaki Beach on the Abel Tasman Sea, right at the very top of the West Coast of the South Island, just below Cape Farewell (the most northernly point).
This beach had to be visited at low tide to see the geological marvels - the rocks in the sea. There is also a colony of seals there, which don't mind humans coming near them (although not TOO near, as some young travellers discovered to their immense shock!).
We stumbled across the "hole in the rock" by accident and had walked right past it! It was another photographer's dream, as was much of the entire beach. We walked right down to the very end but couldn't spot the seals. On the way back, the tide had dropped another few feet, and we saw a large seal swimming away from the shore, however there were two pups perched above a sheltered pool.
Next to the "seal rock" there was a cave that was pitch dark, two grubby backpackers (who hadn't noticed the seals) walked in, shouting to make echos - they soon came running-out with a initially a look of horror - the most horrible sounds (of the male seal) were amplified by the accoustics of the cave and it was just a very loud and very scary sound! The other seals were peaceful enough though.
The sea on this side of the South Island is too dangerous to swim in, there are dangerous "rips" that can drag you out to sea before you realise what is happening, but it was a fantastic beach to visit. If this was in the UK, there would have been tacky shops, ice-cream shops and donkey rides, but it was just empty and serene.
The following day we visited the springs near to the town of Takaka. They lay claim to being the clearest springs in the world, we couldn't verify that ourselves but they looked pretty sparkling! A pretty wide river flowed away from the spring site, we didn't initially realise that it entirely came from the spring source. There was plenty of wildlife around as we had to be leaving early as we were starting our trip down to the West Coast towards the Glaciers and Wanaka.
We're having trouble keeping up to date with our blog at the moment as we are nearly always doing something or going somewhere - we don't have as much spare time as we did in the big cities! Please be patient with us!