Yesterday morning we slept in and caught up on some laundry after breakfast. It was cloudy with a potential for rain, so we decided to do some sightseeing in Abel Tasman National Park in the car. Based on the recommendation of a local bus driver, we first took a hike to see where the Riwaka River comes out of a cave under the Takaka Hill. At nearly 800m the Takaka Hill is a limestone mountain north of Motueka, swiss-cheesed with limestone caves, that are the source of the Riwaka River. A very short hike took us up to where the river emerges from a dark cave opening, over grown with ferns and moss and pours into a beautiful crystal clear pool called the Riwaka Resurgence.
After enjoying some time by the pool, we drove up to the top of the Takaka Hill to an area called Canaan Downs. We thought we’d have a look-see at Harwood Hole, New Zealand’s deepest vertical cave shaft (60m in diameter, 190m down). After miles of twisty roads, we arrived at the trail head, but discovered that Alan didn’t have walking shoes in the car, just the flip-flops he was wearing. Since it was starting to rain a bit, we had lunch in the car and headed back to the campground to see the daily movie showing in the community room. They were showing the Lego Movie, so Alan and I enjoyed the early feature with about 50 kids from the holiday park. It’s actually a pretty good movie, with lots of references that adults will get and some clever visuals. After the Lego Movie, we enjoyed more adult fare by watching the Downton Abbey Christmas Special.
Today we drove to Westport on the west coast of the South Island. En route, we drove through Nelson Lakes National Park, stopping at beautiful Lake Rotiti. The Seal Colony Top10 Holiday Park will be our base for the next three days to celebrate the New Year and explore the northern west coast.