We drove over Tataka Hill and stopped at Hakeew´s Lookout where we did the little walk with a nice view.
We also stopped at the caves but realized that you can only enter with a tour. So we drove the rest of the way to Motueka where we checked in our AirBnB. Our host Mike borrowed us push bikes and we cycled into town to go to the supermarket and the bottle shop. We had a nice BBQ with lamb, asparagus and potatoes and a beer. Later Mike joined us and offered cheese, crackers and salami. We talked for quite a while before going to bed. The next day we had booked SUP boards over BookMe for two hours. We checked out and drove to Marahau where we picked up our boards. It was low tide and the water was very far out plus it was super windy and choppy. Not exactly the perfect conditions for SUPing, but the Able Tasman SUP Freedom people didn´t care and sent us out anyway without any option of changing to a kayak (more stable), changing the time or day or refund. We first had to walk for ages through the water carrying or pulling the boards because the water was not deep enough to stand on them without destroying the fins. When we could finally get on the strong wind and waves made it almost impossible to paddle. We fought for about half an hour until we went around a bend where it got a lot better and we could actually start to enjoy the paddling for a bit before we had to turn around.
We had such strong headwind that we hardly came forward and in the end we had to walk again for quite long. Instead of an excuse or being worried the rental guys just laughed at us when we returned wet (from falling in a few times), cold and exhausted. I definitely cannot recommend Able Tasman SUP Freedom!!! Back to the car we changed into dry clothes. I realized that we had forgotten out cooling bag in Mike´s fridge, so we had to drive all the way back to get it and drove the same windy road for the 3rd time that day. Then over Takaka Hill again. We did the Bushwalk of the Takaka Hill Walkway (30 min instead of several hours for the whole track). On our way to Wainui Falls we were both so tired that we stopped in a Café – Plan B – for a coffee. At the Wainui Falls we did the walkway. It is supposed to be 1.5 hours return, but we had less than one hour. The waterfall is beautiful, but there are so many sand flies that it is not exactly inviting to stay there very long unfortunately.
We drove on to Tataka were we checked in the Kiwiana Hostel and pitched up our tent in the garden. After dinner we played pool in the common room and then settled on the couch to watch a movie. We chose a Kiwi movie named “Boy”. We had to get up early the next day to get ready, pack up, check out and drive to Tata Beach where we had booked an overnight kayak trip in the Able Tasman National Park with Golden Bay Kayaks. While we got the briefing about safety and the area it was raining, but when we finally started paddling it had stopped. We got a map and instructions how far we should go the first day, where to camp and where to paddle the second day and warnings where we shouldn´t go for safety reasons and off we went. We first explored the close buy islands then paddled along the shore with one break at a nice beach
until Tata Point. We had seen a seal and a few sting rays on our way. We arrived at Tata Point sometime around 1-2 pm already. The kayak guys had told us that the wind was supposed to pick up drastically around midday and we shouldn´t paddle any further for safety. The next day was supposed to be nice. So we stayed at the beach in this beautiful bay the rest of the day, swimming, chilling, exploring a bit, reading,…
We chilled the beer we brought in a small natural rock pool and enjoyed that later in the afternoon.
The Able Tasman National Park is just amazing! We found a really nice spot to pitch up the tent. We had a bit of shelter from the wind behind a wall of wood and cocked our dinner there before going to bed eventually.
There was only one family on the other end of the beach who arrived quite late, otherwise we were completely alone. The Wekas there are quite cheeky and you have to be very careful with your stuff. They also make a lot of noise. Especially in the morning while we had breakfast and packed up our stuff we constantly had to be careful that they didn´t steal or destroy things. They anyway spilled my tea and stole our waste bag plus during the night had a feast on my flip-flops which were lying between the inner and outer tent. It was a beautiful morning.
We paddled to Wharwharangi Bay and did a part of the Able Tasman Track to Separation Point there. The walk took us about 1.5 hours.
Back to the kayak the weather had changed. It was very cloudy and very windy. The waves were 1-2 meters high. So actually the weather was exactly the opposite of the forecast: beautiful the first day which we spent on the beach instead of paddling) and bad on the second day. We thought about the option Golden Bay Kayaks had given us to call and be picked up, if it would get too rough, but we are both adventurers and like challenges so we decided to try to get back. Getting into the kayak with these waves was an adventure in itself and we got pretty wet. It was quite scary with those high waves and we feared several times to capsize, but we always made it. We just couldn´t stop to paddle at all otherwise we would drift off or be a play ball of the waves. We dipsy-doodled through the waves in order to have the right angle to be not thrown over, but also stay on course somehow to get back. It was hard work, we paddled like crazy, but somehow we managed to get back to Tata Beach in a bit more than two hours, without one single break. The guys from Golden Bay Kayaks were already standing at the beach waiting for us and had quite some respect that we paddled through that and didn´t call. We were the only boat out there; nothing else was on the water in that weather. Was a great feeling to have made it! We got our stuff out of the kayak and brought it back to the car, changed into dry and warm clothes and cooked some instant noodles and tea to warm up, before setting off to Collingwood for a few days in the Golden bay area.