We arrived in the Golden Bay area after a long drive from Greymouth. We went straight to the YHA Hostel but after a quick look around we decided to check out some other hostels around the area. Takaka is REALLY small we soon discovered and a bit of a ghost town! We found another hostel which was closed down then ended up outside another hostel which also looked very quiet. Outside this hostel was another couple who said they had been in and it looked like it was open for people to stay but there were no owners in sight! We all decided to go in for another look around and found a note saying that they would be back in a while, a price list and to make yourselves at home with a cup of tea! We couldn't believe the owners would leave their house open with a computer, T.V, stereo etc but it's such a small town with little crime that the people around here obviously feel its safe enough to do this!
We decided to do exactly what they had said and make ourselves at home with a cup of tea. We all sat down for about half an hour and it turned out the other couple Darren and Kirsty were doing a similar route to ourselves and were a similar age to us. We all went to the supermarket and started cooking our tea when the owners finally came back about an hour after we had arrived! The owners Chris and Jackie were really friendly people and very sociable. After tea we all stayed up with the owners with a bottle of wine while they went over what we could see and do the next day.
We woke up to a dry morning so decide we would all share a car and drive first of all to the Pupu springs. The Pupu springs is one of the areas main attractions and is one of the world's largest fresh water springs. We walked around the springs which were really nice and the water was the clearest we've ever seen. After looking around the springs we went to the Pupu Hydro walkway which is an area on a hill were local people in the 1800's built a waterway to power the local area during the gold rush. We didn't realize that it would take so long to get to the walkway and it was a bit of a steep hill to climb!
After we got back from the walk we made our way in the car to a fantastic beach which isn't known to a lot of tourists but Chris and Jackie had told us about it the night before. You had to walk 20 min through a sheep field and sand dunes to get to the beach but when we got there it looked so beautiful. It was untouched and no one else was on the beach which was great! Chris had told us about a seal nursery that can be found when the tide is just right so we went looking for the seals and found them near a rocky area! The seals were only about 8 months old and were so cute and not scared at all of us. They were swimming around really chilled out and doing tricks in their little pool and even came up to us to check us out and have nibble of our fingers! We ended up spending ages here as they were so much fun to watch but then we left them and went to check out the caves while the tide was out. There were some great big caves that we went inside to have a look and even saw a big seal in one of them!
We headed back to the hostel around 5 after a rather busy day in the fresh air and chilled out in front of their nice log fire before another early night.
The next day we decided to head for Nelson and Darren and Kirsty were also going there so we decided to meet up in the same hostel in Nelson.
We followed each other to get to Nelson which probably took us about 2 hours. We went straight to a hostel we had seen on the internet that had a swimming pool and spa, but after we got to the hostel we found out a girl's hockey team had just rung up before us and taken all the available beds! We got told to try another one down the road but when we got there the reception was closed with a sign saying back at 3:00 but only 1 available bed! We also saw another hockey team getting on a bus outside the hostel so gathered that there was obviously big hockey event going on nearby and they had taken most of the available beds in the town! We were all getting ready for lunch by this time so we made a decision to just visit the Wearable arts and cars museum then carry on driving straight to Blenheim were the vineyards are. Before we set of we thought sod it were going to be cheeky and use all the hostels cooking facilities and crockery seen as though there's no one around and they have no rooms for us! So that's what we did although we all felt really naughty afterwards and I don't know what we would of said if we had been questioned ha!
The WoW museum turned out to be really interesting although it was quite small. The museum is an arts museum and holds a collection of clothes mainly dresses that designers have made out of different materials like milk bottles, briefcases, maps of the world and other crazy things! All the clothes in the museum were worn and modelled in last year's catwalk show which is held in Wellington every year (unfortunately it's on 2 days after we leave NZ!). For the men the museum has a large collection of classic cars including the old mustang, Ferrari's, minis and corvettes and apparently the whole collection is owned by just one guy from Nelson!
After the museum we got back in our cars and headed off to Blenheim to check out the wines!