Golden Bay: Waikoropupu and Wharariki

15 January 2015

Dave and I got back on Tuesday evening from a very enjoyable few days in Golden Bay. Perfect (very hot) weather, great scenery, and far too much great food and wine. Slightly out of order, day two’s adventure below.

Te Waikoropupu Springs, usually referred to as Pupu Springs, are very close to Takaka (about 6km), but Wharariki Beach is about an hour’s drive from there, right at the base of Farewell Spit.

Pupu Springs is the largest fresh-water spring in New Zealand. And it’s beautiful. Just a very short walk (1km return) over manicured boardwalks gives you a spectacular view into the crystal clear waters.

After that short warm-up, we drove just around the corner to the Pupu Hydro Walkway. This two-hour walk had some steep ‘up’ bits (if you take the right fork at the beginning), but the climb was worth it. The track takes walkers along a narrow track constructed on the edge of a long and narrow water race, built at the turn of the 20th century to provide high-pressure water for gold sluices. In 1929 the Golden Bay Electric Power Board built a small hydroelectric power station that took water from about half of the existing water race. The rest was left unmaintained. After a substantial restoration project in the 1980s, the power station still supplies the national grid in the 21st century.

After all that exertion (and a shower!), we headed to Anatoki Salmon for lunch. This innovative salmon farming business has branched out to include fishing opportunities for tourists (catch your own and they’ll cook or smoke it) and a cafe specialising in showcasing their fresh product. Delicious.

With all afternoon still to fill, we followed the advice of the motel owner and drove about an hour to Wharariki Beach. A short 20-ish minute walk got us to the water… but not without a thorough sandblasting. It’s a beautiful beach, but not somewhere we wanted to stay for long in the face of 25-30kt winds and plenty of dry sand. Ouch. But the sand dunes were beautiful. I brought some of them home in my shoes.

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