Driving out of sunny Nelson we left the vineyards behind us, with apple orchards and hops growing up on wires taking over. Hops, of course, are a necessary ingredient in beer brewing.
Hops growing and a supply of apple boxes
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.
Driving over the Takaka Hill
We’re staying at a “new to us” site, the Port Tarakohe NZMCA Park, in Pohara. Pohara is a pretty little village, with several interesting looking cafes, I noticed, as we drove by. Guess we will come and check them out a little later. The last bit of the road to the port took us under a large overhanging piece of rock, that was a bit of a worry.
Port Tarakohe is a smallish camp, and we parked up with a sea view behind us
After lunch, we decided to go and check out Pupu Springs. Te Waikoropupū Springs 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. There is an impressive entranceway, and information panels to read.
The track to the springs took us 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.
It is an amazing place, calm and surreal. At least it should have been – except one selfish tourist had his noisy drone buzzing around the whole time we were there, which rather spoiled the ambience. We got chatting to a young German girl who just happened to work on a farm in Rongatea, not too far from where we live, what a small world. She kindly took our photo for us, and we returned the favour for her and her Mum.
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 look like it is dancing.
Dancing Sands Spring
One last glimpse, as we walked back to the car park
Tourists started visiting the springs in the early days of European settlement. A viewing platform was built in the early 1900s. The present day boardwalk is very successful, keeping people away from the sacred water, but still allowing good views of the springs. Back at the interpretation panels, I came across a huge boulder of pale greenstone, which everyone loves to touch as they walk by.
Returning to camp we joined some friendly neighbours for 4zees and chatted about all the usual things campers do – where we had all been, where we were all going, and what we had seen. It had been a great day, and there is sure to be more exploring to do tomorrow.
The sun is going down at Port Tarakohe