Another Great Birthday Surprise
I’ve just had an amazing weekend thanks to my partner putting together a weekend to remember. Since we first met nearly three years ago we have been planning adventures in the hills and to celebrate my birthday Rachel planned a surprise for me.
Unlike last year it wasn’t a complete surprise as we discussed it a few weeks ago, but the activities were a surprise. Re-reading last years article as I prepare this one, I realised that Rach’s work mates must have visited Golden Bay Hideaway over a year ago as I thought that could have been where we were going last year. As Little Greenie was booked out Rach booked us into Kiwi Greenie: luxury eco accommodation with a nine star energy efficiency rating with outdoor bath to soak away the strain of all day adventure.
After work on Friday we left and headed over to Golden Bay, grabbing a bite to eat at Pohara before heading across to Waniui Bay. Arriving at our accommodation about 8:30ish we were really pleased with how warm the house was despite not having any heating on. Comfortably sitting about 25°C the place was really pleasant to arrive to. We qwikly set about running the outdoor bath and settled into a starlit sky and a bottle of Pinot Noir. We spent 2 ½ hours in the bath just talking and chatting. A truly great way to finish a long week.
With the place being so secluded and private we slept with the curtains open and woke naturally with the daylight and then enjoyed a lie in. The house dropped in temperature over night to an impressive 20°C and it was really pleasant to get up and look out at the frost on the paddocks down below.
We were planning on riding the Gibb’s Hill circuit that morning, and after a lazy breakfast we got on our bikes and enjoyed the downhill from the accommodation. We got out on the road and headed to the trail head to commence our climb up to the summit of Gibb’s Hill. The climb up was consistent and continuous, with great views around the surrounding bays. At the summit, there is a slight detour that is un-ridable to the true summit. If you are expecting panoramic views from the summit like I was you’ll be disappointed. There is a cell phone tower and brief view out through the bush but nothing panoramic.
What goes up must come down and the downhill was fun and not too extreme. It reminded me of what the old Signal hill tracks were like in Dunedin in the mid to late 90’s. It was wide and fast with a few ruts to guide you down if you didn’t manage to avoid them.
When we arrived in Totaranui we met an Irish couple who kindly took our photo for us. We paused briefly and sat on the golden sands of Totaranui Beach and had a couple of Bliss Balls before riding home.
The ride back was up the gravel road, which was a long and steady climb. A great workout for the heart and lungs but not as steep nor as high as the climb up the track to Gibb’s Hill. The downhill was fast and not technical.
It was then back along the road to the accommodation. The downside of Kiwi Greenie is that it is a full kilometre up the driveway at an average of 10% gradient with some sections at 16%. The climb wasn’t too taxing and we were into a nice warm place with the sun streaming in the double ranch-sliders.
After a qwik shower (the water pressure is amazing), we headed into Takaka for lunch at Wholemeal Cafe our go to location in Takaka due to their quality coffee and wholesome food. I love their fresh juices especially their detox with apple, ginger, beetroot & carrot.
Whilst in town we grabbed an assortment of food items to have a relaxing afternoon in the sun (as Kiwi Greenie’s window faces westward and it’s elevated position gives a great view of Wanui Inlet and Kahurangi National Park). I had planned on having a couple of beers and enjoying a bath watching the sunset and eating from our plater of food. But the best laid plans disappeared as qwikly as the sun went down. We ended up having a relaxing bath after the sun had set and then early to bed.
The next morning we had another lie in (great not having kids around) and got up, grabbed something to eat and headed back to the start of the Abel Tasman Coastal track. This time we were on foot going for a trail run to Taupo Point. It was from a Pã based here that launched some waka’s out to great Abel Tasman when he sailed into the bay in 1642. Unfortunately their haka was too intimidating for our European forefathers and the sailors fired their muskets at the warriors in the waka killing four of them. That was Abel Tasman’s only contact with Maori and it predated Captain Cook arriving by over 100 years.
Five minutes along the Coastal Track there is a branch sign posted off to the left that takes you down to the beach. On the beach look for the orange triangular track sign on the rocks to the right and follow around the shore line. After a few hundred metres there is a sign and path leading up the hill for the high tide track. It’s recommended to go at low tide and scramble around. The going is relatively easy and it takes you to a secluded beach (with a private bach) and at the far end of this beach (less than 2 ½ km from the trail head) is Taupo Point.
There was plenty of wildlife on this journey with large crabs the size of your hand, a seal pup, oyster catchers, kingfishers and plenty of other birds.
Although poorly sign posted at the point there is a series of tracks that bisect across the isthmus and can be followed up the point. There is also a toilet located here (although I can’t vouch for the state it is in). The pits, hollows and terraces of the Pã are still visible although overgrown.
We returned via the high tide track and this is a nice track with some well formed switch backs to get you up and over the point on the return journey.
Having finished this run, we jumped in the car and drove to the car park for Wainui Falls, the largest waterfall in the Abel Tasman National Park. After the short drive, it was only a short run of less than 2 kms up the river to the falls themselves. The track meanders up the valley with a very sturdy suspension bridge crossing to the other side. There are a couple of sections that have been well managed with reliable guard rails and also some robust steps.
The falls themselves are quite impressive with a reasonable volume of water flowing over them. Although it looked really cold I bet a wee dip there would be refreshing in summer. On the return back to the car I paused to examine some cairns that had been made. I was unsure if they were an artistic piece being held together by wire or a very precise balancing act. Although I’m still not 100% sure I suspect they were well balanced rocks.
Another hot drink and meal at Wholefoods and then we got on the road home.
Thanks for the great weekend babe. I can’t wait to go back and enjoy the atmosphere at Golden Bay Hideaway (well all except the composting toilet but that wasn’t too bad). They also have MtBing tracks on their property that we are yet to ride and I’m keen to head out on the Abel Tasman Coastal Track to the Whariwharanga Hut