I’ve been stitching away on the third of my New Zealand botanical bocks. This one is called “Kowhai Circlet” with a whole lot of small kowhai leaves to be stitched. So far I’ve done half of them, together with the circlet, and the various stems. Once all the leaves have been completed, I can start on the pretty bright yellow kowhai flowers. But as I’ve said before, every little bit helps.
Weeks into our road trip, I’ve come to the conclusion that I get more stitching done if I leave my stitching bag out on the sofa, instead of putting it away in the cupboard each night. Out of sight means out of mind, as it’s turned out. Having my bag to hand, it is just so easy to pick it up on a sunny afternoon and start stitching, rather than to go looking for the bag when it has been put away. Does that make sense to you?
As for holiday news – we are continuing to slowly move northwards. The climb towing the van up the steep Takaka Hill (800m high) was slow and a little nerve-wracking, when we met a large truck coming around a tight corner straight towards us. Some of those corners were real hair pins but the driver (if not the navigator) kept his cool, and kept on keeping on. The views, as to be expected, were magnificent. Mountain after mountain, one behind the other, as far as the eye could see.
Trip over the Takaka Hill
We went to visit a very special place, the Pupu Springs. Te Waikoropupū Springs (their full name) are the largest freshwater springs in New Zealand, the largest cold water springs in the Southern Hemisphere and contain some of the clearest water ever measured. The entrance way has carved posts, and information panels telling of the springs and their special meaning to the Maori people. We walked along a track through native forest, along an easy path and boardwalk. The bush ringed pool is absolutely beautiful, full of the clearest of water bubbling up to the surface. A little further around the boardwalk was the Dancing Sands Spring, where the bubbling water moves the white sandy bottom of the pool around, making the sand really look like it is dancing.
There was a lot to explore in this area, places we hadn’t been before. One day we decided to visit Totaranui, to see what was there. Our trip started with driving through a hole hacked out of the rock, and then we were on our way. We reached the end of the sealed road and turned onto a 10km wiggly unsealed road to take us down to Totaranui on the coast.
On the way to Totaranui
There is a huge DOC campground at Totaranui, which is on the edge of the Abel Tasman National Park. The place was teeming with walkers, all keen to walk the tracks throughout the park. We watched as crowds of campers milled about down on the beach, getting off and on the water taxis, as they lugged heavy back packs. We were surprised at just how many keen young people there were ready to tackle these tracks over the mountains.
Water taxis at Totaranui
The Abel Tasman National Park was named to honour Abel Tasman who visited New Zealand way back in 1642 but did not actually land here. We stopped to view the imposing Abel Tasman Monument on the hillside, and were entertained by the antics of a cheeky weka, another flightless New Zealand native bird, as we walked up the path.
Cheeky weka and the Abel Tasman Monument
Another interesting visit was to Labyrinth Rocks. The Labyrinth is a world class example of karst limestone topography, we read. We walked along narrow passages, ducking under trees, with towering rocks all around us. About 25 million years ago the land was lifted out of the sea, and the tremendous forces taking place caused a series of cracks through the rocks, allowing rainwater to enter. After millions of years the small cracks have widened to become the canyons in the labyrinth.
I’ll leave you with pictures of a memorial mosaic bench on the beach we found at a beach. It seems to be made in the memory of a young woman who had passed away, by four friends. It really was a work of art and incorporated commercial tiles, together with mosaics made from pottery, glass and beads. You can imagine the time, effort, creative endeavor and love these girls put in to making such a wonderful memory of their friend.
In memory of Kelly
The scenery is wonderful in this part of the country – we are currently exploring the northern tip of the South Island, known as the Golden Bay area. Have been here briefly some years ago, so it is great, this time, to take longer and have such a good look around.