We woke at 5am and were collected by bus at 6am for the Farewell Spit Eco tour.

As we walked to the bus stop there was a fantastic and mesmerising dawn chorus and we stopped by a small tree which appeared to be making the most beautiful sound. Obviously, there had to be a bird in it but while we couldn’t spot it, it as exactly like the tree was singing. We finally spotted the bird – a Bellbird.

This picture was taken just before sunrise as we were waiting for the bus.


Sunrise, taken from the bus.

IMG_2777_resized IMG_2790_resized IMG_2792_resized

Driving onto the beach at Puponga.


The wind was blowing the sand, creating a moonscape-like effect.


There had been a number of whale beachings, see 18 Jan report and 21 Jan report.

By today though, the whales seemed to have successfully swum back out to sea, leaving 2 dead whales on the beach by the time of our visit.


At Fossil Point.

IMG_2811_resized IMG_2814_resized IMG_2815_resized

A dead seal. We saw some live ones later.

IMG_2817_resized IMG_2819_resized

Sand being blown across the beach.


Further eastwards along the Spit.


A large piece of driftwood, looking a bit like a giant spider coming out of the sand.


A live seal.




A sand dune.


The other dead whale.

IMG_2861_resized IMG_2866_resized

An Oyster Catcher family. We saw one of them dig for food and scamper across the sand to give it to its young.

IMG_2873_resized IMG_2879_resized

Approaching the lighthouse from the west.

IMG_2884_resized IMG_2890_resized IMG_2896_resized IMG_2898_resized

We stopped here and were provided with coffee and a cake.

IMG_2899_resized IMG_2900_resized IMG_2901_resized IMG_2902_resized


Looks like a runway.

IMG_2906_resized IMG_2909_resized

After the lighthouse we continued east to view the Gannet Colony, the only one at sea level instead of on rocky outcrops or cliffs.


The lighthouse with the wind still blowing!


Another seal. Note the sand blowing, appearing to blur the lower part of the seal.


The Lighthouse again.


Walking up the sand hill.


I thought this effect was quite pretty.


On the sand hill.

IMG_2954_resized IMG_2955_resized

The wind created strange effects with the sand when there was something solid in the sand.


Hole in the rock at Cape Farewell.


A stopping point to see the man’s face in the rock!


At Cape Farewell.

IMG_2986_resized IMG_2990_resized IMG_2993_resized IMG_2994_resized

The tour ended about 1pm. In the afternoon we made our way back to Nelson. I took this picture for family friends, the Morleys. 🙂


There was rain around which we mostly bypassed. These views were taken halfway between Takaka and Motueka.

IMG_3012_resized IMG_3013_resized IMG_3018_resized

We had arranged to meet up in the evening with a good flying friend from the UK, David, who had arrived the day before to visit his brother, Stuart, and sister-in-law, Sally, who live in Nelson. They kindly offered to let us stay with them so we drove to their place in Tahunanui. This picture is of the view from their back deck. Nelson airport can be seen this side of the water to the left.


It was very good to see David again. Stuart, David and Noel enjoying a pre-BBQ drink.


We were joined by Stuart and Sally’s son, just back from international travels, and a friend of Stuart’s. We had a very nice BBQ and a fun evening, ending with some star-gazing. Almost immediately we spotted a shooting star and then saw a number of satellites orbiting overhead. We got a telescope out and saw Jupiter with 3 moons lined up nicely to its left. A very good evening.