Day 15 – Takaka Area

Sunday, Jan 31, 2016

Tokaka to Motueka

What a day! It was a long one.

The temperatures were very warm and it was sunny most of the time.

One of the first things I did in the morning was call the credit union because it was apparent that they had locked my accounts. I had tried to get cash with my debit card in Hokitika but the machine kept informing me that my limit for the day had been exceeded. When I reached Tokaka, I tried logging in to my accounts and I got a message that I had been locked out so I called the answering service for my Canadian Cell phone and there was a message from the credit union to call them. Fortunately, I was able to call them and get everything straightened out. I had told my credit card companies that I was travelling but I had forgotten to inform the Credit Union.


We left campsite in Pohara, near Takaka, early in the morning and stopped for a quick breakfast at a cafe. During breakfast I was reflecting on some verses and one of my favourites came to mind – Mathew 28:20 ” And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”. I didn’t realize that this was a sign of what my day would be like.

After breakfast, we drove to the Farewell Spit area, the northern-most area of the south island, where we planned to check out the caves and hike some of the trails ( see the map above ).

When we reached the Port Puponga, we kept going to the end of the gravel road until we reached the end of the road at the car park next to the trail to Whararika Beach. Here we hiked the trail to the beach that had been exposed by the low tide.


While we investigated the beach and caves, we saw several different birds and a few sea lions, some of them in the caves.





When we had finished wandering around the beach and caves, we decided that I would do the 4 km hike to the Pillar Point Lighthouse and then take the trail back down to the road and Cheryl would return to the van and drive it there to meet me. I started my trek at 11:30 and we agreed to meet around 1:00 pm. I set off on the steep climb up the hill and and was surprised that the warning about steep cliffs and narrow ledges was actually true.


However the scenery was spectacular and hard to capture with the camera.








This is where things started to get interesting. I reached the point where I thought that the path might lead down to our meeting point at 12:30 but there were no signs to indicate that it was one of the paths so I kept on going. As I was hiking up and down the mountains sides and through the groves of trees, I sensed that I might be going on the longer trek that leads to the Farewell Spit cafe, but I kept going. It was getting close to 1 pm and I could see the spit getting a lot closer so I kept going.


Whenever I passed through a grove of trees, the cicadas were very noisy. At first I didn’t mind, but after a while it got very annoying. I passed a group of horseback riders and wished I was starting to think it would be good to ride the horse the rest of the way. I kept my eye out for the next red pole that would indicate the direction to go, since the path that was no longer readily visible. It was almost 1 pm and I still hadn’t reached my destination so I pushed on as quickly as I could and I finished the last of my water as I saw a carpark in the distance over a few hills. As I approached the car park I noticed that it said that it was the Farewell Spit cafe and parking lot. I had gone a lot further than anticipated…another 4 km, and it was 1:30 pm. I bought an ice-cream bar and a bottle of water, looked at the map of the hikes that was posted outside the cafe and I knew that I would have to walk to our meeting place because Cheryl would be waiting there for me. I walked as quickly as I could and considered hitching a ride with one of the few cars that was heading my way but I decided against it. I thought about the verse I had reflected on in the morning and felt confident that everything would work out. Along the way, I saw the same horse back riders I had seen on one of the mountains, coming towards me. I kept walking and walking until finally I turned the corner and I saw Cheryl and the van. She had just returned from hiking up to the cliffs to see if I was there…what timing. It was 3:30 by the time I got to the van and I had hiked 12 km instead of only 4. I had burned a lot more calories than I had anticipated, but I felt good.

As we drove toward Motueka, Cheryl informed me that she had gone back to the caves to take some pictures and that she had slipped and fallen while she was on one of the rocks in the caves. She had a few minor cuts and she had sprained herself a little but she said she was alright.

On the way back we turned off at the exit to go to the Pupu Hydro Walkway. This is an old hydro station and it is a 2.7 km walk up a steep incline to the water intake, then a 2 km walk along the top and then another 2.5 km to get back down.

At the top the water is fed through a diverter section,


through a 1.7 km raceway,


to a screen that is used to keep the water clean from debris,


down a steep pipeline,


to a small generating station,


After walking another 7 km, we returned back down to the car and headed to the nearby springs on our way back to the highway. This was a short 20 minute walk to see the springs that are known for the volume and clarity of the water that is discharge from them.

In this picture you can see the water discharge.


The water is so clear that I was able to see to the bottom everywhere I looked.


It was definitely worth stopping to see.

We had completed everything we wanted to do and much more, so we headed to our next campsite, in Motueka, so that we could prepare for tomorrow’s adventure. We arrived at the campsite just before 9 pm and set up camp just as it was getting dark.

3 thoughts on “Day 15 – Takaka Area

  1. Great post Ralf. Glad you saw Pupa Spring. Just driving the road from Takaka to Motueka is an experience. Enjoying your journey…

  2. If you need I can always Western Union you some funds to get you home.
    Did you pre plan this or are you just lucky?


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