Like Taiwan, New Zealand is all about gorgeous stretches of natural beauty. One such place is called Wharariki beach. Pronounced Fha-ra-riki, this beach is the epitome of picturesque. It’s located in Golden Bay, at the north end of the south island – opposite Farewell split.
We took a winding path to get there which snakes through the ever present rolling hills,
glides past some of the curious denizens of said hills,
and skirts what looks like Fangorn forest (albeit not as scary in the daytime):
After about 2o minutes of trekking the path opens up onto dry sand – in stark contrast to the vegetation we just passed:
The sand leads to the beach, which is absolutely GORGEOUS! It was quite windy the day we went, and it seemed that we were experiencing and seeing a number of Mother Nature’s facets all at once – cool wind, spraying water, warm sun, huge, ageless rocks, lush vegetation and unforgiving, dry sand all together:
The highlight of this excursion occured when we came upon a family of seals lazing around enjoying the last vestiges of the day’s sunlight:
It’s recommended that visitors head over to the beach at low tide, because this is when the seals come out to play and you can see them in their natural habitat. While we were expecting to catch a few of them, what we didn’t expect was to find some curious youngsters among them who approached us.
It started off with one bold soul who decided to brave the shore and come say hi. Here is a series of pictures that show him coming out of the water:
Not only was this guy pretty daring and adventurous, he was also a sharer. After the initial encounter, he disappeared for a few minutes, then returned with one of his (I assume) siblings – to introduce him (her?) to his new found human friends:
After posing for some pictures, these 2 audacious creatures decided to put on a presentation for us and show off their swimming skills:
Not sure how true it is, but we were warned not to touch then for fear of leaving a human scent, so we were careful around them, also keeping an eye on the big mama that was preening on a nearby rock.
Finally, as the sun started going down, the beach took on a different look, one that was absolutely spectacular. Here are some pictures, but they don’t really do justice to the real thing:
All in all the whole trip took about 4 – 5 hours mostly because we stood and looked at the seals for a long time. Wharariki beach is beyond stunning, and is a must see for anyone spending time up in Golden Bay.
Getting there is pretty easy. Follow the only highway up from Collingwood (heading north) toward Farewell Split. At Puponga get on a gravel road (ask a local) you will see signs pointing to the track that leads to the beach. Here’s where it is: