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Day 7: Sand Dunes

An air bed. Who would have thought that such a simple thing could bring so much pleasure to a grown man. Waking up in a tent and not feeling like a cripple is definitely the way to go and the way I will always camp in future if I have the option.

As had now become a tradition of the trip the first thing to do in the morning was to dive into the biggest body of water that we could find, which happened to be Golden Bay, right next to our camp site. With a little persuasion we managed to convince some of our new travel acquaintances to do it with us and live a little. The issue that we had today though wasn’t due to the temperature of the water, but rather the depth. The water in Golden bay was beautifully warm but that was due to the fact that it was only a few inches deep. The super shallow bay allowed the sun to warm the water really easily but didn’t do much for our plan of diving under for a wakeup. At first we thought we would just have to walk a little further out, but after about 200m we realised it wasn’t going to get muchDSC_2246 (1280x720) deeper so we all just had to dive in and lay down to get properly covered. As far as we are concerned this still counts towards our mission even if it felt more like a warm bath than a brutal wakeup.

After packing up and finally saying our goodbyes it was time to head up to the very top of the south island, our furthest point before starting our journey back down towards home of little old Dunedin. Our goal was to get to Wharariki beach at the top of the bay and chill out there for a while before making our way back down to Kaiteriteri where we wanted to go sea Kayaking.

The drive up the coast was scenic and beautiful and as always eventually lead us to a dirt track for us to drive along to get to our final destination. At the very end of the track was a packed car park and a little cafe that DSC_2244 (1280x720)seemed to be doing plenty of business on the warm summers day. Although we were apparently near the sea the carpark actually ended in a little grassy valley with signs showing that it was about a 20 min walk to get to the actual sea. We grabbed the essentials (Frisbee and water) and started making our way there over the hills. After about 10 mins we hit sand but still hadn’t yet seen the sea. Before us were huge dunes flowing as far as we could see. Luckily there was a signpost pointing us in the direction we needed to head to get to the main part of beach we were after so we followed the sign and stream of people down towards the water.

To say the sand was hot i
s an understatement. The white sand was somehow the temperature of fresh lava and made for an interesting walk. With each step the aim was to bury your feet as deep as possible to the cooler sand underneath to get away from the inferno on the surface. This actually made us move pretty quickly across the beach to get to the cooler sand at the waters edge where we could actually stand without getting 3rd degree burns.

Now was the time that I had been waiting for. The sun shining, the weather calm and a Frisbee to throw. DSC_2242 (1280x720)Life cant get much better than that. Even with maybe a hundred people on the beach, the area was so vast that there was no one anywhere near us. It wasn’t even an issue to just dump our stuff down and start wandering towards the sea throwing the Frisbee about. Craig even decided to take things a step
further and venture our into the sea for a bit of a swim to see how far he could get.

After relaxing for a while we took another wonder around the area so see what other hidden treasures the coast had to offer and managed to find a few more little enclosed bays with rocks towering around them, yet again more beautiful sights that none of my photos can do justice to. Our exploring ways were cut short again by the searing temperature of the white hot sand. Recently I was talking to Craig about this day and mentioned that this is what I was up to writing about and the first thing he said to me was “Do you remember how hot that sand was?!?”. Even 5 months on the first memory of that day is burnt feet.

After finally clearing off of the beachDSC_2247 (1280x720) and letting our feet cool off it was back to the car to continue the adventure. Earlier in the week we had been advised to visit a place called Te WaikoropupÅ« Springs… or just Pupu springs for anyone like my that has trouble pronouncing full Māori place names correctly! Pupu springs is known for its amazing water clarity, for years being the clearest water in the world until it lost its title to Blue Lake in 2011 (which also happens to be in New Zealands South Island). Due to the way the water comes up from the springs and some other science that someone better than me has probably explained elsewhere, the water ends up looking crystal clear with an average viability of 60+ meters which is just phenomenal. After a bit of driving and a few wrong turns we made it to the springs just as it started to rain but that didn’t really dampen our spirits…. see what i did there! Bad jokes aside, the water was amazing. It is hard to really describe it as everyone has seen water before or been to a swimming pool where the water is clear. All I can really say though with this is that the water seemed almost completely calm, just shimmering on the surface from the fresh springs underneath, yet unlike a swimming pool it was there were plants and features under the surface to see. There is no swimming allowed in the springs for obvious reasons, as DSC_2248 (1280x720)im sure it would get hazy pretty quickly with everyone kicking up sediment from the surface, but that being said, even with the rain the water was some of the most inviting I have ever seen. I know a few people who hat the idea of swimming in lakes or oceans just because they are scared of what is under the water and I am sure those people wouldn’t have been scared here… if they were allowed of course

After leaving the springs we were on a mission to try and get some accommodation and not really having much luck looking online. Most places seem to be fully booked up but after a bit of ringing around we managed to find a place in Motueka, not too far from where we had planned to have our next adventure in Kaiteriteri. The accommodation was on a camp site, but rather than camping we ended up in what can only be described as a shed with bunk beds. Now to most people this would have been terrible but for us this was just perfect. A bed I didn’t have to blow up and a roof we didn’t have to construct seemed like a real win. To top it off we even had plugs to charge our phones while we slept, luxury or what! We are really moving up in the world now.