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Farewell Spit

Entry 269, on 2006-01-02 at 17:50:37 (Rating 1, Travel)

Today we travelled up to Farewell Spit, a narrow (from about 1 kilometer at high tide to 20 at low) piece of sand which juts out from the top of the South Island of New Zealand. We took a commercial tour with farewell Spit Eco Tours and it was really worth doing. The tour leaves from Collingwood in a four wheel drive bus and visits some areas, such as Puponga and Fossil Point, before venturing onto the spit itself.

The spit is a raw, tough environment - just a lot of windblown sand with rock cliffs at one end where it joins onto the mainland, and a lighthouse at the other. We saw seals at Fossil Point and I got close enough to get some good photos. Another seal, a dead whale, sea birds, and sand dunes were seen on the drive to the end where a small forest has been established around the lighthouse. The trees, lighthouse, and a few buildings are like an oasis appearing in the desert-like wilderness.

On the way back we stopped and leapt off a sand dune. As soon as we left the bus we were sand-blasted by the wind-blown sand. The spit wasn't what you would call a classic New Zealand beauty spot but it was a really interesting and wild place to visit, and the commentary of the obviously enthusiastic driver really added to the experience.


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