Upper South Island and the West Coast Feature
A 35-km (22-mi) protected sandbar with a 19th-century lighthouse, Farewell Spit is renowned for its tremendous seabird population.
Farewell Spit Eco Tours. Farewell Spit stretches 30 km (19 miles) away from the northwestern tip of the South Island and is an internationally recognized bird sanctuary. More than 90 species of birds have been recorded here, including migrants flying around the globe to escape the northern hemisphere winter. Farewell Spit Eco Tours is one of the premier birding tours of New Zealand, traversing the vast wind-blown landscape of the tidal Spit. If you are in Golden Bay this trip is a must. (Sliding down the massive sand dunes is a special treat!) The most popular trip is the 6½ hour Eco Tour, which travels along the sand in all-terrain vehicles to a lighthouse near the tip of the Spit. The Gannet Tour travels a little farther to a gannet colony that somehow survives on this sandy, wind-blown "edge" of the land. Bird enthusiasts should try the specialist Wader Watch Tour. This company has been running tours for generations, and is the only one licensed by the New Zealnad DOC to travel on the Spit (which is closed to public access). Reservations essential. Times vary with the tides. 6 Tasman St., Collingwood, 7054. 03/524–8257 or 0800/808–257. www.farewellspit.com. From NZ$120.
Cape Farewell Horse Treks. Saddle up with Cape Farewell Horse Treks. This outfit provides some of the best horse trekking in the country, on possibly the most spectacular beaches. For the best views, ride the combined Triangle and Old Man Range treks, or try the Puponga Beach ride for something more tranquil; it's also suitable for kids age 5 and up. But if you're into wild beach gallops then join the Wharariki Beach Trek. 23 McGowan St., Puponga, 7073. 03/524–8031. www.horsetreksnz.co.nz. From NZ$75.
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