I again woke up early this morning – my circadian clock still on Denver time – planning to visit Wainui Falls in Abel Tasman National Park; and Waikoropupu Springs (known locally as “Pupu Springs”) in Takaka. I’m glad I got an early start because it turned out to be one of the hottest days since arriving in New Zealand on the 19th. Consequently, I had plenty of energy in my tank by getting an early start before it started heating up. My first hike was Wainui Falls in Abel Tasman National Park. By the by, all of these pictures will enlarge by clicking on them without significant loss of resolution.
On the way to the falls, I stopped a number of times to take pictures. Each wondrous site I saw was trumped by the next site . . . and the next one after that. Words fail me in describing how beautiful and unspoiled the country is. I saw a deserted beach that stretched for a mile or so without one person sunbathing. Wow! In California, real estate agents would have already staked out parcels and sold 3/4 of them by noon. Ha. After the hike to the Wainui Falls, I stopped on the way back and went swimming and sunbathed for an hour, before continuing on to Pupu Springs.
The Wainui Falls hike is approximately 40-45 minutes or an hour and a half round trip. The first part of the hike is out in the open, with farm land and mountains the scenery. You approach the trail head about a quarter mile from the parking lot. The rest of the hike is along the river or stream fed by the falls. All of the hike is covered by bush, which is welcome protection from the sun.
It was almost 11am when I went back to “my beach” and swam a bit, then caught a few rays. By 1am , I was on the road to Pupu Springs. The stunning scenery had me stopping a number of times though, to take more pictures along the way. By the by, this is where Peter Jackson filmed much of the Lord of the Rings trilogy. I also forgot to mention in other earlier posts, that New Zealanders refer to a hike and hiking as “tramp” and “tramping.”
Waikoropupu Springs or Pupu Springs is the largest fresh water spring in New Zealand. The sign above also indicates it is the largest fresh water spring to be found in Australia as well. Approx. 40 bath tubs of water (14000 liters) is released every second from the 8 main aquifer openings. This would provide sufficient water for a city the size of Boston. The springs are known for their clarity and the Maori consider them spiritually significant. The floor of the springs is covered with white sand and the vents move the sand upward in what is known as “dancing sands.” For the few SCUBA divers who are given permission to dive in the springs, this is supposed to be quite a treat to observe underwater. As a diver, I would love to be given the opportunity to dive in these waters.
Well, I really enjoyed my time in the Golden Bay and Abel Tasman National Park area. Tomorrow, I will be on the road to even more exciting adventures. Michelle and Leigh Kelly, owners of Bay County Lodge, have really made this part of my trip memorable, by providing me excellent suggestions on what to see and do here. Equally important, I just chatted with Michelle and she gave me suggestions on what to see in the “West Country,” near Greymouth – my next destination. I definitely am going to visit the Punakaiki Pancake Rocks and Blowhole; as well as the Coal Creek Falls track and Truman track. Addtionally, she provided some tips on a few hotel/motel suggestions when I arrive there.
However, let me leave you with this . . . You’ve all seen the Visa “Priceless” commercials, right? In the spirit of those commercials:
1. Price of a liter of New Zealand unleaded gas – $2.11
2. Tour ticket to see Waitomo Glow Worms – $48
3. Ferry ticket to cross from North Island to South Island – $171
4. Rent a Hyundai for 3 weeks in New Zealand – $900
5. Purchase airfare for round the world trip – $4194
6. Seeing a herd of cows cross the main street in Pohara – PRICELESS!