Springs and Pirates

February 13, 2016

Our place on Golden Bay was basking in the sun as we headed out after sleeping in for a change. Our goal today was to see some more of why Abel Tasman National Park is so popular with Kiwis and visitors. We drove a few miles to Waikorupupu Springs or Pupu Springs for short. The water for the springs originates in the karst and limestone mountains of Takaka Hil. The water wells up in pools of amazing clarity. The claim is that the water in these pools is some of the clearest and cleanest in the world. I am not sure about that, but it was certainly beautiful.

To see the springs involved a kilometer walk on a sometimes elevated and sometimes gravel walk through bush that was not quite jungle. The plants allowed enough sunlight to reach the ground that you could see more than a few feet. Maybe it was because of that we could see large numbers of songbirds that were impossible to see in the rain forest. We enjoyed the “Fantails” that showed off their tails to us gathered below.

We reached the pools and enjoyed taking plenty of pictures. The challenge is to get the right light and correct angles. We tried to ignore the screwball Dutch tourists talking on their cell phones while the birds sang away leaving only us as their audience. I am sure John Muir would have chastised them. I kept quiet but just barely.

The ponds are considered sacred by the Maori so you are warned to refrain from dabbling your toes or filling your water bottle. It was tempting but we wanted to avoid the Maori curse. The waters were truly wonderful.

We decided to drive to a beach at the center of the national park. It involved a long drive along the coast and then a hair raising ride of 12 kilometers over a very narrow gravel road. It was two way traffic that meant we would round a corner to see a giant camper careening towards us. Obviously, we lived to tell about it, but it was close a number of times. The beach and its camp ground were a good visit. Bobbie found plenty of cute little shells to bring home. I failed to locate anymore whale bones.

The drive over Takaka Hill was all that the 350 turns could give us. Bobbie was calmer this time after surviving the gravel road to the beach. She only screamed a few times. It was mid afternoon so we drove through the Motueka main drag looking for our lodging for the night. We located it near the harbor. That location was appropriate as we pulled into the driveway of a house with a trailer parked in front. There was a welcome sign but no obvious humans. I began banging on doors and windows. Finally, I saw a barefoot lady emerging from the bush in back. We were in the right place.

Our host, Cherie is the owner of the house that has been in the family since WWII. She rents out the house and lives in the trailer in the front. I had to admit that it was disconcerting to find ourselves in a pirate themed location. The manikins dressed as pirates should have been the clue. The house itself is fine and we have plenty of space and even laundry facilities. It is a family house where Cherie grew up and opened it to strangers like us. After a beer or two with her, we found the place unique and enjoyable.

The Pirate deal is focused on the past raging parties held in the Pirate Bar and the cooking/dining area that are central to the backyard. Cherie has a large collection of costumes for guests to don and have their own pirate fantasy. I am not sure how this will work out, but it is fun even without dressing as a pirate.

We are cooking some of the vegetables and eggs that Cherie left for us in the kitchen. She has a large garden with chickens and the pet pig Georgia. I told you that this was not your typical accommodation. The night is still young.

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