Great day today doing an excellent value Eco tour of Farewell Spit with the folk that do what it says on the tin – Farewell Spit Eco Tours.
Civilised start of 10 o’clock and 3 mins walk from our campervan – even better…
Lots of interesting facts about Collingwood, Farewell Spit, its bird life, the dune formations, the lighthouse etc. in a well woven story told with obvious passion for his work by our guide and driver, Murray (below map of Farewell Spit – the long sticky outie bit, not picture of Murray).
First stop Cape Farewell, the most northerly point of the New Zealand (or was it the spit? or even the world? – not a great one for remembering facts me).
Next stop Fossil Point…
…where as well as eco tourists milling around, there were Oyster Catchers with their chicks, loads of other birds and a few Seals lounging about the beach or heading out to see for some kai (food).
The eco tours take you to the parts mere mortals cannot reach. So whilst it’s possible to walk a small section of the Spit unguided, the tour takes you to the lighthouse and beyond.
En route, another bus (from the other tour company) got into a spot of trouble in the sand and our Murray came to the rescue with a tow rope and a nifty bit of driving…
Tour bus rescued we were on our way to the lighthouse a short distance away for a lunch and cuppa tea stop.
More interesting facts told about the lighthouse and lenses used… something about open architecture to allow the sand to blow right through rather than sandblast and erode the structure as had happened to the previous lighthouse. This one has apparently lasted much longer.
Tea was drunk in one of the original old houses used by one of the three lighthouse keepers that lived there back in the day. Now everything is automated and an underground electrical cable runs several kilometers to power the area.
There’s a carving of an old Maori war canoe or Waka, and a skeleton of something big…
Then it was back over the amazing sand, past a few dunes – the brave ones (I was not one of them) that didn’t mind sand getting in places it shouldn’t be climbed them and maybe had a bit of a slide down.
So, a great day with lots of sand sightings and wildlife spottings. I also now know that during the (short lived) gold rush, Collingwood was set to be the capital of New Zealand, a bit more about how sand dunes are formed, that Farewell Spit is full of delicious and nutritious stuff for all sorts of creatures including (especially in the olden days) homo sapiens. *And* we got to be driven around all day for a change.