By the end of the ten days that we spent in Golden Bay we’d pretty much decided to grow dreadlocks and a massive beard (me… probably not Ruth), wear nothing but hemp and live out our days singing Kum Ba Yah. It’s really quite hard not to love the place. Utterly smitten with the artists’ studios we could totally see ourselves owning a little place near Takaka with a studio for Ruth to sell her art, and a den for me to work on our other projects (ideas aplenty at the moment!).
Joe and Nay convinced us that we’d missed out. Wharariki Beach (The Wh is pronounced as a ‘F’ by the way) is a gem and well worth the 40 minute trip back up to the northern tip of the south island. We arrived on a breezy afternoon and meandered our way towards the beach through fields and across dunes. If this beach was in Greece or Thailand it would be caked in parasols with greased up Europeans hogging deck chairs, cocktail bars selling fluorescent concoctions and sellers forcing you to “Buy a bracelet Mr. Andy”. Thankfully, it was almost deserted. Just us, about 3 other couples and a handful of fur seals splashing about in their nursery pools.
The seal pup appeared out of a crack in the rock, looked at us for a moment sizing us up, then bounced his way past us, almost landing a wet flipper on my foot. He splashed his way to a little pool of water and spent about 20 minutes chasing a piece of seaweed, taking a pause every so often to come and look at us gawping strangers snapping away to our heart’s content.
Light fading, another 2 pups joined the fun. We tried to get as many pictures as we could manage before leaving them to their games and headed up a dune to watch the sun set.
We spent the rest of the time relaxing, mooching about the art galleries, picking mussels and generally taking it nice and easy – the Golden Bay way!
As we drove away from Takaka, next stop the North Island, we felt a little strange. Isn’t it funny how you don’t quite realise how much you liked a place until you leave? We have the fondest memories from Golden Bay. Some day we’ll be back for sure.