We arrived in Golden Bay four weeks ago and followed the road right up to Collingwood.
Sleepy and laid back, it is situated on a tiny tip of land separating the mouth of the Aorere River, in the Ruataniwha (“Taniwha’s den”, or, even scarier, “Two Taniwhas”?) inlet, and the calm waters of Golden Bay.
There is fishing to be done, and Otis would be doing this all day at the moment. He went fishing with Gary, the camp manager, at high tide off the pier one day. They didn’t catch anything, but later on, Gary came around with two smoked Kawhai fillets. Absolutely delicious, and luckily for me, Otis likes the idea of fishing better than actually eating the fish once it’s smoked.
Days passed just combing the beach on the way to the old steam train (“it looks like a rocket!”) playground, or the Courthouse Cafe, or the place where you get real fruit ice cream. Summer is great, and in a place like this, days rolled into one.
My shirt’s ripped now, I haven’t worn shoes for a couple of months, and my only shorts can stand by themselves with salt (hang on, they’re Cactus pants, so they do that anyway).
There’s a piece of land for sale at the corner of the beach. It would nicely fit a bus. We could build a loo and shower, and a hut for work&play and we’d be set. It even comes with a wrought iron gate.
Holidays are fulfilling, with Hannah’s sister and family coming for a visit. We’re at Para Para beach now and it doesn’t get much closer to beach life: swimming, digging, lazing around, waiting for the tide to return, more swimming. It feels great to be in tune with the tides and to recognize them as your main indicator for what to do with your hours of the day. The kids have lots of cousins to play with all day, and on one and the same day, Otis learns to ride his bike we’ve been lugging around since Wanaka, and Elliott masters the balance bike. Great stuff! In my mind, I already see bike trips, camping trips and explorations of unknown territories.
We’re passing through Takaka, and coming to Pohara Boat club, continuating the maritime theme. We see stingrays, a pirate ship with a Cafe on it, and meet up with Amanda and Dan and their two kids again, who we met in Motueka a few weeks before. Fantastic :)!
Takaka itself is the hippie center of the universe, or at least of the southeastern part of the northwest of the South Island. You couldn’t swing a cat without hitting a clothing bell or somebody’s aura. It’s lively, colourful, musical and generally BO-ie. I’m enchanted and am trying to imagine what our boys will be into when they’re 20.
Oh, we also went to Wharariki beach, one of my favourite beaches in New Zealand. Seas of sand and seas blow my mind, and the sandblasting is invigorating. We can’t get past this place without getting some nice dune surfing in. To my delight, Otis really loves it.