We drove to Collingwood, got a few things in the General Store and then checked into Somerset House. We took a shower, planned the next couple of days, took a nap and cooked dinner. They don´t have free WiFi in this place and basically no sound isolation. The owners are nice, the kitchen well equipped, it is clean and there are several showers and toilets, but I think I would choose another accommodation next time. After we went to the Collingwood Tavern, it was New Year´s eve after all. They had a DJ and there was quite some crowd. We had some drinks, talked to locals and Kiwis visiting from Nelson, danced a bit and toasted on the New Year at midnight. I was a bit disappointed that apart from a countdown for midnight there was nothing going on, no fireworks (normal in NZ due to fire risk in summer), no big cheer, special drinks or anything. Like this night was nothing special. Well, shortly after we went back to the hostel and toasted again with our sparkling wine before going to bed. We were both pretty knackered from the paddling. Next morning we enjoyed the included breakfast and then drove up north. First we stopped at Mangarakau Swamp and did a little walk there. Was rather unspectacular. We continued to Kaihoka Lakes. It is really beautiful there.
We sat on the lake side, had our lunch, did a small walk and then drove on to our main goal of the day – Wharariki Beach. If you have the standard Windows Desktop picture, you know how it looks like there. We didn´t have such nice weather as in this picture though, but the rock formations are anyway spectacular and we also saw many seals. The dunes are beautiful too.
Back to the car park we had a little snack in the cute little café there and watched a horse getting nosy and trying to get some food out of a car before we went to Cape Farewell – the northern most point of New Zealand´s South island.
We drove back to the hostel, had dinner and secured pictures and chatted with other guests before going to bed. The next day we pimped the included breakfast with eggs, avocado and paté and drove up to Cape Farewell again. We had booked a horse track with Cape Farewell Horse Tracks. The weather was too bad for the original route and the 3 hours ride. But we could still go. We only went for 2 hours and on a new route that they usually don´t take. We partly had to go through bushes; it was quite adventurous and fun. My horse loved the Manuka trees and I had a hard time keeping him out of them. During the ride the sun came out anyway and it was really nice. I was on Momo, an ex-race horse and the fastest horse in the stable, Nate rode Arni. We were a group of six plus two guides.
Since it was unexpectedly sunny we went to the Farwell Spit again after the ride and had cake and tea/coffee at the Farewell Spit Café & Visitor Center before we did the Pillar Point Light House Track over the Old Man’s Range (2-4 hours, we had 2.5h).
We drove to Tataka – a beautiful little town.
Unfortunately most shops were already closed, but it was nice anyway. We got ice-cream and Swiss sour dough bread, filled up the car and got a carton box for another parcel home in a liquor store. On our way back to Collingwood we stopped at the Mussle Inn. It is a really nice atmosphere there, kind of a beer garden, nice beer – they brew themselves – and good food.
On our way back we saw quite a nice sunset. Back at the hostel we prepared our luggage for departure and gave away a few things before settling for the night. The next morning we had to provide our own breakfast since it was too early for the included one. At 8 we were on the road to Nelson, where I dropped Nate at the Airport for his flight home. Another good bye!
The Gold Coast is beautiful; I could have spent more time there for sure! But next time I would probably rather stay in Tanaka. There is a bit more going on.