It’s 11000 miles from the arctic to here at Farewell Spit – and the Godwit family fly seven days and nights without stop. The Palling family (SKI division)* on the other hand  have taken 7 hours today to travel 57km and this involved two coffee (one with lunch)  and a tea stop. It’s exhausting! 

Excited (and still scratching) Mrs P was awake from around 4 and finally got up before 6. Showered and sun cream in place by 6.30. Strangely, no shower mayhem today     Slight breakfast mayhem trying to remove cooked porridge from microwave above Head height:

The person cooking was considerably taller than me. 

First stop on way to coast: 

Known as the Pupu Springs, properly named the Waikoropupu Springs, they  are the largest freshwater springs in NZ, and reputedly the clearest in the world with 14000 litres of water thrown up per second. To local Maori the Springs are a taonga (treasure) and wadi tapu, a place held in high cultural and spiritual regard. 

A short video may convey the peace of the place: ​(stay with it, movement and sound seem to start after 15s). 

The surroundings are lovely – even the old tree trunks have a beautiful pattern – like peacock feathers (not that you see peacocks round here of course)…….

Tiny Collingwood has a population of around 250 and is the last town on ‘golden bay’ heading towards the Farewell Spit, a 27 km long sandbar stretching east west, and lying more northerly than the southern part of north island. Around Christmas I’m told the population of the area increases to around 25000. I’m not sure how the fragile infrastructure supports this. 

The museum was great, including a pear of whale eardrums, each the size of a large Victoria plum, and a really evocative picture of the early village settlement:

Photo taken at an angle and through a cabinet, it’s not the best, but does convey the idea of the chaos experienced.

Also a lot of kindness in this museum: 

Talking of trips, we also met the owner of the M.A.D. Cafe restaurant. No liquor licence – if people want to fall over they can do it next door. No fast food -‘we don’t need Kentucky Fried Chicken, we’ve Nantucket Fried Hare’ (organic). He reminded me of Dave, a man who lives close to us, but was fascinating because of his attention span. Quite short. The coffee was great. The menu looked great. He’s been vegan since he was 30 and is now nearly 65. Bet you can’t guess his name….**

His beautiful garden reminded me of Mary Mary Quite Contrary:

And off to Farewell Spit itself – birdwatching (including two pied stilts) and competitive telescope brandishing, and finally the incomparable  Whairikiki Beach, 20 mins walk from the end of the end of the end of the first track at the end of the road. Seals galore. Rock arches. Golden sands. 

And what was that about no peacocks? 

* Spending Kids Inheritance

** Nganga. ‘A name the aboriginal elders bestowed on me’. Well there you go. 

Tantrums: too exhausted

Lewdosity: the peacock did it for us. 

New words: none to include here. 

Endangered species: I identified one particular kind of wader then found it was the rarest wader in the world with only 120 known pairs. So that was obviously wrong. We did see a pair of stilts though  – new to me. 

Finally – what could be better than lying in a campervan on holiday, listening to the birds and watching dawn break through the skylight? I can tell you – lying and watching the stars over the Southern Hemisphere, twinkling in the midnight blue sky. Love it!  

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