Exploring the bay2021 05 14 golden bay

Golden Bay Walks – 14-16 May 2021

Golden Bay Holiday Park was our ‘base’ from which we would do a few day walks. To make the most of the weekend we timed our arrival for mid Friday afternoon. That gave us time to settle in and then do a beach walk. Firstly, towards Parapara Inlet, examining ilmenite rocks, and then back towards the Onekaka river mouth. Darkness turned us back to our accommodation.

It rained overnight, but by morning it was fine so we drove to the Devil's Boots and beyond to the Aorere Goldfields. Here is a 10km circuit that takes you over an area where there was gold mining back in the 1800s. Tailings, water canals and old gold mining relics were evident on the way. Stafford's Cave was a gaping hole in a hollow. Further on was the Ballroom Cave. This was easy to enter and we could easily cross the ‘ballroom floor’ to explore the cavities beyond it. Then we were following along an old water race to Druggan’s Dam. This was an interesting feature but quite devoid of aquatic birds. Maybe because it is duck shooting season? Our sunny lunch spot was on a knoll in regenerating manuka. From here we had views to Farewell Spit and of the Burnett and Quartz ranges. After lunch we followed the mountain bike track back to our vehicles. This was just over a 4.5 hour exploration and ramble.

After a short mid-afternoon break at our ‘base’ we checked out the Washbourne Scenic Reserve. It was pretty wet underfoot for the first part. We passed the powerhouse and went up the track towards the weir until we got a sea view. A couple of people went a bit further to reach the two chimneys, shortly before the weir. Time ran out so we returned to the powerhouse and out. This was a 5km return trip taking a couple of hours.

Sunday morning dawned with light rain. We packed up and drove to Milnthorpe Park. Consulting a map from the box there, we walked many of the tracks and wondered at the stillness of the ducks on the pond. These decoys were another reminder that it was duck shooting season. After an hour, with a soggy map, and the rain getting heavier, we decided that a café in Takaka sounded good. We had a nourishing late morning tea and a good chat time at the Wholemeal Café before heading back over the Takaka Hill and home for a late lunch.

Those participating were: Maria (scribe), Rob, Eric, Anne L, Mary H, Sue J, Anthea and Val. We were joined by Esther on Saturday evening.