Richmond Diary Update

Summertime! The sun shines, cicadas sing (or rasp) and time to visit some of the summer fairs in our area – Wakefield, Richmond, Nelson City and many more. Nelson has a buskers fair too with the buskers putting on a good show. And Richmond had the most hours of sunshine in New Zealand in 2016. You get the feeling?

 
Over the Takaka Hill to the township of Takaka and a little beyond are the Te Waikoropupu Springs or Pupu Springs for short. We have visited the springs many times but it is always good to go and have another look at such clear water rising up from a large hole in the ground to form an instant river. The water is so clear that visibility is 63 metres and not much short of distilled water at 83 metres. It is a shame that the springs could be under threat due to proposed farming and irrigation.

Pupu Springs.

Pupu Springs.

On to Collingwood and to a campground cabin for a couple of nights. Accommodation was tight owing to the high numbers of visitors but we settled in okay. The next day we visited Wharariki Beach on the West Coast and although the tide was fairly high we did get along to the sea caves. One certainly wouldn’t want to be inside any of the caves at high tide! Not many seals around on the beaches or up the river nearby but I almost walked into one sleeping on the beach. I’m sure I got the biggest fright as I just thought it was a washed up black log. The Archway Islands are much photographed and certainly look good while the caves and gaps

Walking through tunnels along Wharariki beach.

Walking through tunnels along Wharariki beach.

between huge rocks as one explores the holes and crannies to find a way along the beach make the beach walk interesting.

Heading back to Collingwood we called in to the Farewell Spit cafe and from the window no doubt one could have seen some of those hundreds of whales that recently stranded themselves on the beach nearby. We passed through the old Port Puponga and sad to say, the old wharf remains are getting less by the year. I think it a shame that some of the old coal buckets are rusting away slowly as the tides come and go.

 

The Archway Islands.

The Archway Islands.

We visited Harwoods Hole at Canaan where some filming for the Lord of the Rings was done and the walk along the track to the hole with large mossy covered boulders, lichens hanging from trees, one could easily imagine some of those Lord of the Rings characters peering out from behind a tree. The ‘hole’ drops 176 metres being an old waterfall I guess. Now the stream sinks underground through the marble to come out much lower into Gorge creek to disappear again to finally come out at the Pupu Springs near Takaka.

The rusting remains of old Puponga Port days.

The rusting remains of old Puponga Port days.

 

A caver heads down Harwood's Hole.

A caver heads down Harwood’s Hole.

On our way home we visited the Ngarua Caves near the top of the Takaka Hill. The caves are a number of limestone caves linked together by a 300 or so metre walkway and operated commercially. Hidden lights show up the stalactites and stalagmites as one wends the way along the track through different caverns and narrower gaps, passing displays of old moa and kiwi bones. They say that there were eleven different species of moa – none left now except for old bones. We were able to see the remains of two different species; one that stood one metre high while the other stood 1.5m high. One of the bones has been radio carbon dated and they say it was 24,890 years old.

We came to a large cavern with the ceiling quite high and it reminded one of a cathedral with the guide talking louder to demonstrate the sound effects. Our visitor from London, Derilyn, did one better by singing something from an opera which sounded pretty good. She even got applauded for her effort.

 

Ngarua Caves.

Ngarua Caves.

 

Karla plays with the ells at Jester House.

Karla plays with the ells at Jester House.

Jester House is just a cafe but not your usual cafe by far. Quite quirky for sure with ells to feed, chess to play and even a children’s natural playground area. If one keeps the eyes open one might spot little sculptures tucked here and there. The food is okay too.


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