Cape Farewell to Cook Strait

Cape Farewell – The most northerly point of South Island. On the map (slightly rotated) it resembles a spot on the top of a kiwi’s head. It was named in 1700 by Captain James Cook to mark the last glimpse of NZ as he sailed away.

Cape Farewell was our grand finale to Golden Bay, Able Tasman and South Island. We drove north to Collingwood and checked out Wharariki Beach, the arch, and Farewell Spit.

Wharariki Beach Walk

We followed a track through farm pasture and coastal forest emerging onto a beach that the Māori called onetahua – “heaped up sand”

Up and over dunes to a SPECTACULAR coast line, desolate and wild. A posted warning urged respect for quick changing tides: “What the sea wants, the sea shall have”. Wharariki Beach is one of NZ’s wonders.

Cape Farewell Arch

For Māori, this is a place from where spirits bid farewell to their earthly connection. One slip and so will you. The archway is carved into quartz sandstone cliffs dropping into a not-so-calm Tasman Sea.

Eco Sanctuary – In January, 2020, a 200 meter (656 ft) predator-proof fence was installed creating a 2.5 hectare (6.1 acres) sanctuary for seabirds, giant snails and geckos. NZ has a goal of predator-free by 2050 to protect creatures from stoats (weasels), rats, and possum introduced by settlers in 1840.

Farewell Spit

Farewell Spit is about half a mile wide and 34km (21 mi) long with sand dunes up to 100 ft high. One of the longest natural sand-spits in the world and home to tens of thousands of seabirds. Access is restricted to eco-tours – a MUST DO, but unavailable to us due to COVID lockdown policies.

One can always tramp. I trudged the sand and mud flats to the point where public access was restricted. It was beautiful, but bleak and exposed.

Marlborough Sound and Cook Strait

Sad to leave the Tasman region, but pacified by the drive to Marlborough Sounds…stupendous with every curve and hill. Grateful for 4 months on South Island, including 7 weeks of lockdown.

Road to Picton

Pelorus River Bridge – Wine Barrel Scene in “The Hobbit”

Marlborough Sounds – Queen Charlotte Scenic Drive

InterIslander Ferry – A smooth crossing to North Island

Cook Strait – Open water to Wellington, North Island

Next: North Island – lesser mountains, more people, and 4 more months

CLICK HERE for next Post: North Island, Wellington, Red Rocks and LOTR

CLICK HERE for Previous Post: South Island: Able Tasman and Golden Bay

19 thoughts on “Cape Farewell to Cook Strait

  1. Oh my – I think this is one of my favorite NZ posts of yours – but how could one possibly choose between this beauty and that? Incredible beach. Just wow. My heart sings to see such magnificence. And to know you are in it. xo

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Mary. It was a stunning cap to the South Island. Thanks for your help in planning and setting expectations for South Island!


  2. Your eyes have seen so many beautiful places and I am sure your soul is right there in tandem. Gorgeous photos…hard to say which ones are the best…the beaches, the cliffs, the blue/green water!??! All eye candy! Steve those hiking trails look easy peasy…nice gravel and fairly level!


    1. Thank you for reading, again! Those trails were a treat, so wide open. The fun continues, as you are well aware! Talk soon.


  3. I’m adding Cape Farewell to the “must do” list of places to visit when we return to NZ. I love the graphic showing the comparison with the kiwi! Great photos – me thinks you were lucky to have such nice weather, especially for the ferry ride.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you. If I hadn’t already fallen in love with the Tasman region, this would have cemented it for sure. Love Golden Bay. There is a tramp you and Bill must do – from the beach to the arch, we only did a small part. I will come back again, too!


  4. These pictures could be postcards. Love your narration. Thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you. I love being here. It means a lot that you take the time to read it..


  5. The photos are gorgeous! Such beauty!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It is like beauty just booms out at you…all over. South Island is incredible with the Southern Alps. I wish I was younger and a real hiker.


  6. Absolutely stunning. Enjoy every minute of it

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Joanne, I am so grateful you read and comment. I just cannot stop sharing!


  7. Glennie Bowland July 13, 2020 — 3:04 am

    North Island — where I spent a bunch of time on our boat, Dawn’s Light. Let me know when you get to Opua and Pahia –at the top of the North Island. Be sure to go to Russell…Bay of Islands is THE most beautiful. And be sure to try Pipies…clams that we “dug” for in Whangerai and Opua. Yum! Glennie

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh, Glennie, I am so delighted to hear of the places you have been. Great boat name. Really looking forward to Russell…that will be right before we have to leave.


  8. I don’t know how the mind and soul can take in and retain all the beauty you’ve seen in the last few months.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh yes. We exclaim on something we see everyday! So grateful. Thanks for reading, Theresa! Stay well.


  9. Absolutely beautiful…what an adventure!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. South Island is like The Rockies on mega mega steroids. All of NZ is the same size and population count as Colorado


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