(Late post from 28th Oct 2016)
New Zealand is heaven for camping. Un-populated, full of nature, safe, never too hot or too cold, legal freedom camping, with good insect screens installed it can be comfortable anywhere in the country. My favourite thing is that the country is small enough and so loaded with dramatic landscapes that the drive is never long before something interesting shows up – crucial when it comes to road-tripping with young children.
The best thing of all though is to be able to “live” in beautiful deserted spots, to feel and pretend that there’s only you and the crazily beautiful world, and nothing else.
We picked our van up in Nelson late yesterday, loaded all our things and headed towards Farewell Spit to a close-by beautiful beachfront campsite in Ruby Bay right next to Mapua (as in Mapua wines) for a quick stop and regroup.
Breakfast today was honey toast between playground runs for little people. Big kids got to leisurely have a hot smoked salmon, brie and lung fish caviar on toast, with a sprinkle of pepper and a generous dash of green olive oil. Stove-top espresso and early season strawberries from sunny Nelson.
Half a day was spent finding places for all our belongings and making a list for things we still need. We hit the road after lunch back along the way we came in till just after beautiful Murchison – a short 150km later – to stop at Maruia Falls for the night.
Maruia Falls was formed during an earthquake in 1929. We didn’t know what to expect but hoped the river would be in full force after a whole afternoon of rain. We followed an unsigned gravel path to a quiet grassy site by the Maruia river, then took a short walk down the deserted, sad but oh so beautiful groom infested access road to the falls. Kids skipping through muddy puddles giggling and squealing until the falls presented itself. We stood in awe. An incredible amount of white water roars down a sudden break in the contour, carving boulders into dramatic formations. At the bottom a deep jade green pool swirls with rapid currants, the river roars before carrying on its journey to join the Buller. A big pool of driftwood accumulates at the far side of the falls, not being able to follow the waterway due to the fall’s massive power. It is hard to imagine what kind of crazy brave people would (apparently) kayak through this.
We were turning around for a frugal dinner of potato tuna salad with celery, gherkins and excess sliced black olives when the 2 year old had finally soaked it all in and made her observation: “Big shower!”