img_9399The excursion to Golden Bay is on a no exit road, in the sense that it only goes to Golden Bay and then stops when the land runs out. For this reason it's a more isolated area and very reminiscent of Great Barrier Island in the North.

The Takaka Hill is perhaps one of the great motorcycle routes in New Zealand, hairpin after hairpin through staggering scenery then, when you finally get down the other side, long straights and sweeping corners. Quite magic. This is by no means a quick run as we found we were compelled to make regular stops to relieve the hands and take in the view.

Collingwood is very small and quiet but offers several motels and small cafes and would be an excellent base for a few days. We went on to the base of Farewell Spit and walked across, East Coast to West Coast in 30 minutes. There are a wide range of walks and activities like horse riding (we met a group) to amuse.

img_9420Coming back we paused at charmingly alternative Takaka town. An interesting place with an array of arty shops and plainly a hippy refuge from the more commercial outside world. There's even a tiny Cinema. Nice to know such places still exist.

Overall we took over eight hours to make the journey and got back well after 6pm. We could esily have spent longer.

The Motueka Thai restaurant (Chokdee?) is good and seems more interested in doing business than the Gothic. You'd run out of alternatives if you stayed here too long as by the time we got out (9pm) there was little else open. The Indian and there is a new pub on one of the back streets, a queer location I'd have thought.

Annoyingly I now have sand in my camera and it makes a nasty grinding noise when you turn it on. Bugger!