If you get to the top of the South Island, don’t miss the Farewell Spit Eco tour.
We joined the tour at the Collingwood office. The tour stops at Puponga and Cape Farewell which is the northernmost point of the South Island, the cliff top views nearby are spectacular.
The next stop is Fossil Point at the beginning of the Spit, a popular hauling out place for NZ fur seals. Old fossils expose themselves among the rocks.
After the 30km drive along the beach with several stops to see seals, birds and a ship wreck we arrived at the Farewell Spit Lighthouse. We had time to explore around the historic buildings and enjoy the tea and muffins in the century old lighthouse keeper’s residence where there was information about the Lighthouse and relics from this historic NZ icon. The last lighthouse keeper left in 1984 when it became automatic.
Along the beach there were stunning views of the Tasman coastline and the opportunity to climb the sand dune at Mullet Channel for panoramic views panoramic views of the ocean beach, the dunes along the centre of the spit and the inter-tidal plain where the migrant waders from the arctic circle feed during our spring summer and autumn.
Our guide was obviously passionate about the history and ecology of the area and Farewell Spit, his knowledge about the wildlife and history of the area made for a very interesting and informative tour. There were plenty of stops along the way so make sure you take your camera.
During the summer there are up to 20,000 godwits and 30,000 knots at the Spit as well as other Northern migratory birds, New Zealand natives and introduced species.
The tour is approximately four and a half hours long and if you get the chance well worth the time and money, we had a great time!
The most northern point on the South island, Cape Farewell.
Ship wreck on the spit
Farewell spit Lighthouse
Farewell Spit Lighthouse
Looking back up the beach towards the lighthouse, just as we left the beach and headed back to Collingwood, I’m sure it was quite a bit longer than four and a half hours 🙂