After 7 weeks of lockdown, cabin fever broke with a SPECTACULAR day trip from Nelson to the wild west coast (and back). State Road 6 wound through hills, over gorges, and alongside steep ravines. “We don’t want to drive back in the dark” – famous last words…
NZ’s Longest Swing Bridge
Three hours west of Nelson we stopped at a bouncy 110 meter (360 ft) wire swing bridge suspended 19m (63′) high above the Buller River Gorge. Not gonna lie, off-balance and wobbly I clutched my phone, thinking with one stumble it would be gone.
Tauranga/Cape Foulwind – A surprise ending to the day
The headland outside Westport was known as Tauranga to the Māori, used as a sheltered anchorage. Abel Tasman named it Rocky Point in 1642, but in 1770 Captain Cook referred to it as a “place of foul winds” when his ship was blown off-course by gales and wind. To us, the ambiance at sunset was mystical.
At dusk we followed the Tauranga Bay coastal walk to Cape Foulwind Lighthouse which sits 70 meters (230 ft) above sea level, lit in 1876. Near dark, we drove back to Nelson. What started out as a half-day trip ended as an 8 hour outing.
Recommendation: Lodging in Carters Beach, Westport. If you love the mountains, take a couple of weeks to follow the Southern Alps to Haast. Click on this link about our February/March route, Aotearoa – New Zealand.
Wandering Nelson After Lockdown
Nelson, a former hippie town “back in the day”, was a great place to comply with COVID Alert Level 4. With lockdown lifted, we wandered around town to see what had been in our backyard all along.
The Geographical Centre of NZ Via a Walk Above Nelson.