After arriving at Fernbrea Farms (#6006) on Tuesday the strong winds that had plagued us during the day died away during the night. Wednesday morning at sunrise I jumped the fence to walk the beach of course I had left my camera behind. Not two metres from the tide line was a medium sized Stingray cruising the beach but with a decent sized Kingfish sitting on it’s back. Every time the Stingray disturbed the bait fish the Kingfish would pounce and then jump back on top of the ray. It was absolutely amazing to watch right in front of me.
We decided that we would explore the area Wednesday hopping onto the bikes we headed towards the Old School Cafe (#6001) where some people we had met at the NZMCA park where staying. No sooner had we hopped on the bikes than the sky’s opened with a downpour, however the rain was warm and we continued on. Stopping every so often so Sarah could dry her glasses (windscreen wipers needed). No photos as I didn’t get my camera out in the rain.
We arrived at the Old School Cafe which appears to be quite a nice place to stay with a swimming pool and tennis courts, however with no sign of the people from the Tarakohe Camp and absolutely soaked from the rain we decided to head back to the camper. Murphys Law no sooner had we pulled into the driveway than the rain stopped.
The farm is rather rugged and without any of the facilities that you would find at a camping ground but that’s one of the things that makes it attractive to us. With the latest model truck parked next to the shed across from the camper as well as these beautiful flowers growing next to the beach I guess camping is what you make it or what someone makes for you in the camping grounds.
One of the interesting things about this farm is that it is owned by the Solly family who also own the trucks that transport the boulders to Tarakohe Port and mined from the hills behind the farm is the quarry (to the right of the camper in the photo) also owned by …. well I think you can guess that. But I am not complaining if they can give such a wonderful area to be used without cost then they are all good in my books.
As I mentioned in my last post we met Dave and Nita on Tuesday night but Wednesday night we got together properly and had a couple of drinks and talked about all the fantastic places that both of us had been. They are a very friendly couple that I hope we meet again on the road somewhere. On the otherside of our camper where Brendan, Maggie and their dog Jojo who where taking timeout in their converted bus (Izzie) that Brendan had fitted out himself.
After the glorious weather of the last week we both knew that it was too good to last. Wednesday night both TV channels talked about the remnants of Tropical Cyclone Basil hitting the top of the South Island we wondered how we would fare being so close to the coast with storm surges expected due to the king tides.
Turned out to be quite mild for us Wednesday night passed without incident although the rain got heavier as Thursday morning progressed. Walking over to the beach at 10am with high tide due at 11 the water was really surging in the driftwood structure you can see above was a good 4 metres from the high tide line the day prior. Full sized logs where being washed along the beach like twigs floating down a stream it was amazing.
With Dave and Nita having moved on and the expected high winds not happening we decided that we would head somewhere else. Almost as soon as we reached the main road evidence of the storm surges where everywhere with tide lines, debris and flooding all along the road. We had resolved that we would head into Collingwood to get rid of the recycling and empty the tanks. That plan was scuppered with a Police vehicle about 200 metres from the town in front of a road that was completely flooded with no way to pass.
After making the pitstop in Takaka we headed to Anatoki Salmon (POP #6051) thinking we would try and catch a fish and have a bite to eat at the cafe before spending the night there. However the weather put paid to this with the Takaka Hill road closed they had decided to close their cafe etc until the following day as there wasn’t a sufficient number of tourists coming through. It was however a very peaceful place to spend the night.
Friday morning it was back on the road and over the Takaka Hill strangely it didn’t seem as bad coming from the other side. Stopping at the top we admired the views but arrived a little late for the cave tour deciding to carry on rather than wait 50 minutes for the next tour.
Back on the road and down the otherside. For such a steep and long hill it’s great that there are so many places both ways where you can pull over to let vehicles pass.
At the bottom of the hill is the turn of to Kaiteriteri Beach a golden sand beach that is obviously a destination for many people as it was busier than Queen Street on a Friday night and with all those people not really our sort of place. It was however very pretty maybe at another time of the year it will be on our must do.
The beach had also had major problems with the storm surge and king tides with the road crews working hard to restore the car park areas that had been covered in sand.
After stopping in Motueka for some much needed supplies Sarah took this flattering shot of me completing my favourite task. Nose peg at the ready!
We started the journey towards the West Coast heading on the back road to State Highway 6 which is a fantastic piece of road following the river with almost no traffic we came across this bridge and could not miss the photo stop but with a max limit of 3500GVM even that looked generous meaning there was no chance of us taking a risk driving to the otherside.
With Dave and Nita insistent that we stop at the Wai Iti Reserve (#6289) we made a left onto State Highway 6 and have settled down for the night. There is a bike trail running next to the camp and if the rain holds off in the morning we will check out what it’s like. From there West Coast here we come.