We had a great nights sleep after Canyoning through Abel Tasman and awoke the next morning a little sore, but ready to get on the road. We debated going to the other side of Abel Tasman National Park for a night, but after a tip from Toine we decided to head northwest to Wharariki Beach(pronounced Fa-ra-riki). On the way we, made a stop at the Labyrinth Rocks. The natural phenomenon of carved limestone rock had formed a pathway like a labyrinth. The area was turned into a park and maintained by a group of locals. We spent some time exploring before continuing back onto the highway.
Traveling over the Takaka mountains was an amazing drive and by the sounds of it, one that doesn’t see many tourists. We made our way to the end of the paved road and continued on the gravel road for a few miles before reaching our camp for the night. Our camp was the last and only on the way to Wharariki Beach. Once we set up camp we set off to the beach and were surprised when the trail was through pastures of sheep and the their babies!
We took the long way out (about 40 minutes) and were rewarded with some amazing caves and rock tunnels. Since it was low tide we were able to walk into some of them and explore the beach a bit. It was one of the widest white sand beaches we had ever seen. We were the only ones for as far as we could see. It was an amazing place and well worth the drive and walk (thanks Toine!).
As we continued along the beach towards the dunes and short path back we noticed some people standing close to the rocks about 150 feet from the ocean. As we walked closer we saw a small pool of water and in the pool was a little seal pup. We stood right at the edge of the pool within inches of him swimming around in the water. It was as if we were at an aquarium and he was performing tricks for us! It was quite a sight to see and we stayed to watch him play for about 30 minutes. As we watched we noticed a few larger seals up on the rocks, but no one joined him in his pool.
We made our way back to camp a short 20 minute walk again through pastures and this time sand dunes as well. We again had a great nights sleep and awoke the next morning to some farmyard visitors. We had several peacocks and ducks along with this guy for breakfast…