We woke at 5am and were collected by bus at 6am for the Farewell Spit Eco tour.

As we walked to the bus stop there was a fantastic and mesmerising dawn chorus and we stopped by a small tree which appeared to be making the most beautiful sound. Obviously, there had to be a bird in it but while we couldn’t spot it, it as exactly like the tree was singing. We finally spotted the bird – a Bellbird.

This picture was taken just before sunrise as we were waiting for the bus.

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Sunrise, taken from the bus.

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Driving onto the beach at Puponga.

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The wind was blowing the sand, creating a moonscape-like effect.

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There had been a number of whale beachings, see 18 Jan report and 21 Jan report.

By today though, the whales seemed to have successfully swum back out to sea, leaving 2 dead whales on the beach by the time of our visit.

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At Fossil Point.

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A dead seal. We saw some live ones later.

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Sand being blown across the beach.

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Further eastwards along the Spit.

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A large piece of driftwood, looking a bit like a giant spider coming out of the sand.

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A live seal.

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Geese.

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A sand dune.

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The other dead whale.

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An Oyster Catcher family. We saw one of them dig for food and scamper across the sand to give it to its young.

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Approaching the lighthouse from the west.

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We stopped here and were provided with coffee and a cake.

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Looks like a runway.

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After the lighthouse we continued east to view the Gannet Colony, the only one at sea level instead of on rocky outcrops or cliffs.

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The lighthouse with the wind still blowing!

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Another seal. Note the sand blowing, appearing to blur the lower part of the seal.

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The Lighthouse again.

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Walking up the sand hill.

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I thought this effect was quite pretty.

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On the sand hill.

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The wind created strange effects with the sand when there was something solid in the sand.

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Hole in the rock at Cape Farewell.

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A stopping point to see the man’s face in the rock!

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At Cape Farewell.

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The tour ended about 1pm. In the afternoon we made our way back to Nelson. I took this picture for family friends, the Morleys. 🙂

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There was rain around which we mostly bypassed. These views were taken halfway between Takaka and Motueka.

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We had arranged to meet up in the evening with a good flying friend from the UK, David, who had arrived the day before to visit his brother, Stuart, and sister-in-law, Sally, who live in Nelson. They kindly offered to let us stay with them so we drove to their place in Tahunanui. This picture is of the view from their back deck. Nelson airport can be seen this side of the water to the left.

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It was very good to see David again. Stuart, David and Noel enjoying a pre-BBQ drink.

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We were joined by Stuart and Sally’s son, just back from international travels, and a friend of Stuart’s. We had a very nice BBQ and a fun evening, ending with some star-gazing. Almost immediately we spotted a shooting star and then saw a number of satellites orbiting overhead. We got a telescope out and saw Jupiter with 3 moons lined up nicely to its left. A very good evening.

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