kiwi hippies, surrealist beaches, and the shiniest part of NZ

first of all I gotta say, Golden Bay is an incredibly good looking place


a friendly farmer told me some unique minerals are found in the soil, which cause brighter colors in the landscape

not to mention they used to find a lot of gold here


this part of the island is also known for its alternative atmosphere, something I encountered on my second ride in the region

a lady, dressed exactly like a Joni Mitchell cover, finally got me moving towards the town Takaka

her vibe only intensified when she told about her move from Canada to pursue crystal healing. I was in love with this place.

she was really friendly, and offered me a delicious vegan-raw-gluten free treat housed in an ice cream mold.

funnily enough, I was in her car because someone recognized her. absolutely exhausted from completing the Abel Tasman Great Walk, I wanted to get back into civilization as fast as possible. unfortunately, the trail end spit me out on a dirt road with no cars.

i always had some optimism during such times, especially after surviving some of NZ’s most dangerous terrain


seriously if you’re up here you gotta do this whole track, I especially loved the parts near the finish in Golden Bay. so happy I walked from start to end


surprisingly a car going the other direction stopped for me. they said they’d take me to a tidal crossing so I can get on the main road faster.

before we’d driven to the spot, a car heading the right direction appeared. my driver rolls down her window “hey nancy (note: I dont actually remember her name)! how you doing? mind giving this young man a lift?”

i love my introduction to Golden Bay, it suits the place perfectly


i recognized a windows’ wallpaper upon my arrival to the north western tip of Te Waipounamu.

cool-lock-screen-windows-10-670x335IMG_5576IMG_5594surrealist is definitely the word that comes to mind when I recall Wharariki Beach. I was set on finding a place to camp so I could spend the whole day

perhaps I wasn’t fond of the idea of paying for a campsite, so I snooped around and found a hidden forest on the creek. it was right by the beach, and I made sure to leave no trace


only the next morning I started hiking near the beach, quickly enthralled by NZ’s brightest colors, combined with generous sprinklings of little white specks


especially when the sun came out, I’d never seen such bright hues-  the greens, blues and whites all contrasted with vibrancy


another famous landmark in Golden Bay? Takaka river hippie commune

a rather friendly hitching couple advised me to freedom camp there. apparently it was very international, and renown for its ‘agricultural produce’

i thought it would be tricky to find until I opened my and learned it was 5 minutes from town

the commune features an international demographic, most staying 4-5 months a year. some Germans were happy to show me a spot, and I later met a few of the more permanent settlers


I was curious to learn about the residents, as I’d heard hippies hung around Takaka since the 70s. I envisioned ole dreaded kiwis jamming to grateful dead

sadly few of the residents were there, but I did meet one of the ‘chiefs’ who shared some of their elusive product aimed for export

he explained most citizens weren’t kiwi, and transitioned between famous communes around the world

this was one of them


I made an amusing friendship in the morning. long hair with dreads, even longer beard, absolute swagger with biker glasses. comes hopping up

“ya got any beers man”

i didn’t

“ya know, I think you reallllly need this flashlight. It’s a good flashlight. Ya should give five bucks for it ”

“nah I’m all good man” I replied

however, I offered a trade. get me a handmaid wooden piece, and I’ll give ya enough beers to he happy

he told me to meet at the infamous hippie gathering place in town: the library

(gotta give a culinary shotout here…if you’re cruising around the island and need the best breakfast place….make sure to stop by De-Lish Delicatessen. It’s across the street from the Takaka library)

by the time I arrived, he’d already found the beer he needed

I thought I’d wouldn’t see him again, and I didn’t…until my dad and I used a car camping spot down the road

we pull in after a long day. rains dropping, so we take care to not park by the river in case of flooding.

not five minutes later there’s a knock on the window.

“ya got any beers man?”

he stares at me for a prolonged 30 seconds.

“I reeeecognize youuuu. sorry couldn’t get you a piece man”

“No worries. we dont have any beer man” I reply

“ahhh well welcome to the other river camp” says the most pacifist lookin pirate I’ve ever seen


speaking of traveling with my dad, when I took him to Golden Bay we caught one of the most spectacular sunsets I’d ever seen

I swear the colors looked just like this, if not even more intense. It was stunning!


i’ll leave you with the most terrifying wildlife encounter I experienced in New Zealand

it featured the Arctocephalus forsteri, also commonly known as the fur seal


these guys may look all lazy and cuddly. and sure, people may drive all the way to Wharariki beach to say ‘awww’ at the seal pups


but when you awaken them they are not happy campers. our relationship wasn’t improved when (s)he decided to sleep on the trail.

they got a growl and some fangs to them. totally made me jump out of the way