Wharariki Beach

Wharariki Beach, just a few kilometers from Farewell Spit used to be something of a well-kept secret. Wharariki Beach is located at the northern-most tip of the South Island, New Zealand.

The track into the beach wanders along rolling green hills and then passes through white sand dunes. This is an amazing and naturally beautiful beach. There are a lot of caves along the beach to explore and big rock arches to confront the Wild West coast weather.Wharariki Beach

However, because Wharariki Beach can be reached only by a walk variously described as taking 15, 20 or 30 minutes it is never going to be overrun with visitors. There’s a bit of a slog up a sand hill or two as well, which might put off even a few would-be walkers.

The shortest walking track into Wharariki Beach begins with a gentle climb through pastureland dotted with sheep. It then winds through a grove of manuka before emerging on the first of several ridges of high sand hills.

Although this beach is almost north-facing, it is technically a West Coast beach and is often buffeted by tempestuous winds that stir up colossal seas. The manuka provides an early-warning system – if the wind is blowing gale on the beach the forest will be alive with creaking and groaning.

Wharariki is sometimes best visited early in the day before any wind does get up. When it is windy you’ll be painfully sandblasted once you emerge from the trees. When it is not blowing the sand around then Wharariki Beach is a popular area for sunset photo enthusiasts, with some of the most spectatcular sunsets ever seen on this planet.

Wharariki’s swathe of white sand swept into prodigious dunes by the wind would be spectacular enough on their own. But Wharariki is book-ended by sheer cliffs and off the beach are monumental wave-buffeted islands. Over the millennia the cliffs and islands have been eaten away by the sea, creating arches, stacks and caves.

Seal pups are always playing in the pools. They performed lazy barrel-rolls, flippers waving in the sunshine, and then dived like little black torpedoes through the shallows. This is where they learn and practice the skills that will sustain them through their lives in the wild ocean. It’s fascinating to watch. They challenge each other, roaring in the style of big bull seals fighting for territory or females, but in their tiny baby squawk rather than a real bellow and with a bravado that they have yet to actually acquire. Being just pups, they’re clumsy, and sometimes the transition from rock to pool results in a rather ungraceful and hilarious flop.

And around one particular rocky islet, a small pool is formed at low tide, surrounded by small sandy beaches and rocky perches perfect for fur seals. The seal pups gather here, and they play together in the pool, darting and diving through the water, flipping and jumping like dolphins, barrel rolling and lazing about before exiting the water for a preen and a nap on the beach.

If you’re standing there watching they might also come up to you to check you out, curious and completely unafraid.
Other pup lay on the rocks nearby, its dark fur providing almost perfect camouflage. Off the shore, more pups and seals sunbathed on tumbles of rock or swam in the waves. Terns and oyster catchers pottered along the shoreline.

The sea is relatively warm in the summer with great surfing waves but this is not a beach for swimmers. Rips, currents and big seas make conditions too dangerous and there are no lifeguards here. Better to swim in the sea across the hill in Golden Bay where sometimes there is not even the smallest of waves and wading through the shallows is your most serious challenge (apart from the odd cavorting stingray).

The cliffs, islands and promontories are riven with caves and clefts – it is advisable to walk into them with caution. Today, with Wharariki’s greater popularity you’re possibly more likely to encounter humans in the cave – families picnicking or couples mistakenly thinking they’ve found the perfect isolated cavern…  But even with these minor perils, Wharariki is a place to explore, to follow a stream into a cave just because you can, to scramble through rock pools and to run down sand hills shoes in hand.

It’s stunning in its stark rawness, the rolling dunes leading down to a vast, flat stretch of sand that extends far into the distance, to a headland that appears simply as a dark outline through the spray created by the waves.
Rocky outcrops dot the shoreline, breaking through the dunes to meet the sea at high tide and leaving caves to explore at low tide.
A few rocks stand alone in the water, mammoth islands of stone with arches cut through them by the pounding waves.

Not far from the incredible Wharariki beach a small motel called The Station House Motel. This is a perfect place to stay and setup base while you explore the many wonders of Golden Bay. It offers friendly and comfortable accommodation in Collingwood, a quiet village on the magical Golden Bay. This property is conveniently located close to beaches, cafes, stunning walking tracks, museums and Farewell Spit Tours. There is plenty to see and do near The Station House Motel. The property can be found at the heart of magnificent unspoilt walking country with wild coast beaches and abundant bird life. The region boasts interesting mining and farming history further enriched by a varied artistic community and unique eateries. It is located at 7 Elizabeth Street, Collingwood, Golden Bay, New Zealand   www.AcommodationCollingwood.co.nz

Go Wild with Weaving

We are starting to plan the 2024 event, and provisional dates are Saturday 24/ Sunday 25th  AND Tuesday 27th Wednesday 28th April 2021 and will again be held in Collingwood, Golden Bay, NZ

If you would like to know about the 2024 event update and course information, please contact me by email me at Nicola.basham@xtra.co.nz

Or using the form on the contact page on the website.      https://www.gowildwithweaving.co.nz/2020

go wild with weaving
go wild with weaving.
go wild with weaving

For more info and enquiries, please click on this link gowillow.co.nz

And theres always our Facebook page: facebook/gowildwithweaving

For great accommodation in the area go to www.accommodationcollingwood.co.nz


This Festival is taking a break for the next few years.  Should be back soon.

Collingwood Rugby Grounds

This is always a must do when in Golden Bay.  Its a great day out for all the family.  There is live music all day long, plenty of different types of foods to try like scallops, mussels, vension, goat, wallaby and much more.  There is also a hangi and a spit roast.  For the kids will be a bouncy castle and water slide.  There is a pay bar and to get home there is a courtesy coach.  Dont forget to have a go in the Wife Carrying Race.  Its always a great laugh with good prizes for the winner..


All proceeds from The Collingwood Food Festival go to The Collingwood Rugby Club.  This is their one big fundraiser for the year.  Collingwood Rugby has been going for 125 years and in that time has never failed to put a team on the field.  Money raized again this year will help keep that record going strong.  For more info on The Collingwood Rugby Team, please click here.

Relax in the quiet garden seating

The Golden Bay Quilt show is on again this year at the Collingwood hall. When: Labour Weekend. The hall is full of amazing and wonderful quilts.

If you’re looking for nice accommodation then the The Station House Motel is walking distance away.  Book now as labour weekend for accommodation in Collingwood is a busy time.

UPDATE:  The 2023 quilt show was a great success with hundreds of people dropping by and enjoying a great show.  The quilts were just amazing and I’m sure they will be just as fascinating in 2024.

Golden Bay Quilt Show

Golden Bay Quilt Show

Beautiful quilt hanging from ceiling

Beautiful quilt hanging from ceiling

Station House Motel

Quilt on display at the Golden Bay Quilt Show

Go Wild With Weaving

Go Wild with Weaving

When: Saturday 11th–Sunday 12th April 2015

Time: 9.30am – 4.30pm Location: Golden Bay / Abel Tasman Venue: Collingwood Area school, Lewis Street, Collingwood

Go Wild With Weaving! AGAIN.  The last Go Wild with Weaving was in Oct 2014\8 and it was such a bit hit that another weekend has been arranged to go ahead Apr 11th and Apr 12th 2019. Spots are running out quickly so get in quick.

The course cost $330 and that includes the 2 day tuition, lunches are provided both days and also one evening meal and of course all the materials are provided. You will learn how to weave your own amazing creations, meet new people and have some great fun. Early Stages
The 2 day workshop consists of 5 different weaving courses all about using natural materials to weave beautiful baskets with flax, willow cabbage tree leave and pine needles. Each participant with get to choose the one you like the most.

There are 6 tutors, Anita Peters, Deb Price, Nicola Bashman, Maureen Harte,  Sarah Hornibrooke and Deb Curtis( Guest tutor from USA).  All these tutors are all craft professional and are brilliant at teaching a different weaving technique. If you are looking for accommodation then don’t look past The Station House Motel, they still have space available and are within walking distant of the workshop. Teri Dyes are sponsoring the event, and supply the fibre dyes for the courses.  See the complete range at www.teri-dyes.co.nz


GW1 Go Stitching: Learn ancient craft skills of coiling and stitching with Deb Price.

GW2 Discover the art of weaving found and natural materials with Anita Peters.

GW3 Weave a willow harvest basket with Nicola Basham

GW3 Go Basket Weaving: Get to grips with making willow baskets with Peter Greer.

GW4 Make a fabulous flax kete with Maureen Harte.

GW5 Knit an astonishing bark basket with Deb Curtis.

GW6 Learn plaiting and twining large, flax baskets with Sarah Hornibrooke.

More Details and Bookings

For more details on each course and to look at making a booking please follow this link to the Go Willow website, thankyou.

Golden Bay Weaving, Collingwod NZ

Local artist, Nicola Basham

go wild with weaving collingwood golden bay nz

You can make this at Go Wild with Weaving

Go Wild with Weaving 2014

Go Wild with Weaving 2014

Hello friends! As most of you know (although some of you may not), we are taking a permanent break from running Wild Earth. We’ve sold our beautiful slice of paradise to our lovely next door neighbours Salmon Fishing at Anatoki Salmon, and they have been busy all winter transforming the space into something quite amazing! Thank you all for your support during these past years of Wild Earth, for eating our venison burgers and singing around our fire. We know that Anatoki Salmon Farm is going to keep up the good work of being kaitiaki for the magnificant Anatoki Eels and the river, and that they will continue to have a beautiful family-friendly space, with good food, good vibes, and a unique Golden Bay experience.Follow their updates at Salmon Fishing at Anatoki Salmon Facebook page, or on their website. http://www.anatokisalmon.co.nzThanks so much, Bee and Ian

Wild Earth Nature Park

Bencarri Farm Park has reopened as Wild Earth Nature Park.  The new owners have done an amazing job updating and changing Bencarri Farm into a beautiful and interesting place to explore.

Nestled on the banks of the Anatoki River and surrounded by native bush, Wild Earth Nature Park is the home of the famous, tame Anatoki Eels.

Wild Earth Nature park invite you to experience a magical combination of rare & friendly farmyard animals, and a vibrant, relaxed cafe.  They promise a memorable and educative experience for everyone!


bencarri park reopens as wild earth nature park, collingwood nz

Wild Earth Park


For more information about Wild Earth Nature Park please click the link to their website.  Wild Park Nature Park

Or visit their Facebook page by clicking here

For great accommodation in Golden Bay click here