Tuesday, 25 March 2014

The Only Road To Takaka... Over The Hill...

This is where I am heading... Golden Bay... With
Farewell Spit at the top... My destination - Pohara.

 There is only one road to Takaka... The 50km winding 
Takaka Hill road that goes over the hill that separates the
communities of Golden Bay from the more populous
Tasman Bay.In this aerial photo you can see the flat area
of Motueka and Riwaka on the right. The yellow winding
line is highway 60 that goes right over the top of the hill
and down the other side to East Takaka then another
15 minutes of flat road to Takaka town.  
 Of the ten top roads in New Zealand this is Number three.

This photo is looking back over the
hops growing at Riwaka and Tasman Bay.

This view from the summit down the other side to
Takaka Valley.

The summit at 791 meters. The distance is not great
but because of the steepness... And in my bus I
travelled at about 30km all the way... It takes
a while. There is also lots of stops to look at the views.
 Just before the summit is the unsealed road to
Canaan Downs, a 12km drive then a 40 minute
walk will take you to the 183 meter deep Harwoods Hole
A spectacular hole and cave system... For
very experienced cavers only.

When I first came over this hill about 25 years
ago the road was metal, more windy and much
narrower. Now it is sealed all the way, has
been widened and as the locals say "It's
Just A Hill - Get Over It".

This is the steepest tightest corner... But if
this big milk tanker can get around it...
So can I!

Care is needed though, accidents do happen.

The rocky outcrops on the top portion of Marble Mountain, 
the colloquial name for Takaka Hill, so called because 
it's the source of New Zealand's only quality marble... 
Used in the construction of Parliament buildings and 
Nelson Cathedral. This beautiful marble it's colours 
and textures is the inspirational material for several
well known Golden Bay sculptors. 

This spectacular and unusual terrain was also used
as a location in 'The Lord Of The Rings' film trilogy
 - Chelwood Forest - recognise it? And The Hobbit
It's a mysterious place and an experience driving over this hill.

This marble hill is typical karst country has weathered into 
many strange forms with numerous sink holes, cave
systems and underground rivers.
There is the stunning Ngarua Caves
with its extensive and breathtaking variety of stalagmites
and stalactites and and excellent skeletal  display of the 
extinct Moa. This is a family friendly adventure for all ages.

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