It’s all go on holiday, with one thing after another, trying to see as much as we can in the time we have left. The morning started off with a bit of excitement, which had all the campers gazing over at the wharf. A huge barge had been gently maneuvered into place by a tug. The boulders from Golden Bay are being sent across Cook Strait. Barge-loads of boulders arriving at Wellington's Aotea Quay are part of a massive environmental engineering project to divert streams on the $1 billion Transmission Gully motorway north of the capital. Rock from earthquake-prone Wellington is not considered up to the task, so the boulders have been shipped in from a quarry in Golden Bay in loads of 3000 tonnes a trip. Their bulk and angular shape meant they held fast in floods to prevent erosion, while working in tandem to create new habitats for wildlife and stream flora and fauna, according to project environmental and stakeholder manager Darren Utting.
The Port Tarakohe NZMCA Park is quite small, so members really need to get there quite early to find a level site. There is plenty of entertainment happening on the water with boats coming and going. And as a bonus, the Boat Club next door has facilities available for the campers, toilets, showers $2, and a washing machine and drier $4. We never did find out what the large concrete silos above the port were used for – but suspect they were used for cement in the past.
We went out and about in the car yesterday, driving through the very busy little town of Takaka, practically overrun with tourists and walkers, all wanting to walk the tracks in the Abel Tasman National Park. The main street is hung with pretty flowering baskets, and full of cafes to cater for all the visitors. We saw a rather nice stone church in the main street, and an interesting old hotel.
Sacred Heart Church and the Telegraph Hotel in Takaka
After stopping for a nice lunch at the Mussel Inn, we then stopped on the way back at the Golden Bay Lookout. There is the sea in the distance, almost hidden by the rolling hills.
View from Golden Bay Lookout
A side road leading to Paton’s Rock looked interesting. We ended up in a little seaside village, and parked by the beach. It was a pretty view, but where was Paton’s Rock? So we drove a little further and had another look. No sign of a big rock, but perhaps that jagged line of rocks reaching out to sea is called Paton’s Rock? We're not too sure, and Mr Google was no help, in this case.
Is this Paton’s Rock?
It was a much better deal at our next stop – there was no mistaking we were at the right place when we called into the car park at Labyrinth Rocks. Wow – they were certainly something. The Labyrinth is a world class example of karst limestone topography, we read.
This unique 2 hectare outcrop of karst limestone was discovered by Dave Whittaker in 1994, a geologist and mining engineer. He leased the land from the council and cleared weeds, creating tracks within the rocky outcrops. After years of hard work Dave opened his Labyrinth Rocks Park, but sadly passed away in 2009. His vision lives on thanks to “Friends of the Labyrinth Rocks” and the Tasman District Council.
Plan showing the walkways
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.
Tunnels, cracks and weird shapes
Can you see the Indian Face?
It certainly was an amazing place, interesting, and just a little spooky. To be honest, we didn’t explore all the many pathways – there would be enough there to keep you busy for days. Well worth a visit, and it is free.
The necessary selfie, by the rocks