Harwood Hole, the Emu and the Wallaby

October 3, 2014
Sounds like the title of a failed children’s book, right? On our way to Nelson last weekend we stayed at a holiday park in Murchison to break up the drive. My favorite thing about this place is not the lack of decent heating, the shared toilets situation, the questionable cleanliness of the room, or the fact that its raining every time we stay. It’s that they have farm animals- but more specifically, sort of reject-like farm animals. Theres 3 emu, one of which lives behind a deer fence (re: tall) because she obviously can’t be trusted. There’s a blind wallaby, which lives with the naughty emu. There’s chickens and ducks of all sizes. And a kunekune pig that seems to take being ugly very seriously. It’s awesome.

We spent some time feeding all of the animals some bread (gluten free, Im sure they appreciated that) until the aggressive emu extended her neck about 6 feet in one second and stole the whole piece out of Scott’s hands. So that was the end of that.
Unlikely neighbors…
I will steal the bread from your fingers… and the soul from your being.
We are not super concerned about cleanliness over here.

Anyways, we spent the rest of the weekend in the Nelson area, riding bikes and hiking. Unfortunately I was sick, so we only did about half of the planned rides. And I didn’t take many photos of what we rode anyways. But I did take the camera along for our hike to Harwood Hole, which happens to be the deepest hole in the southern hemisphere. Apparently.

The hole is mostly appreciated by cavers and climbers, who descend in and then hike out via a cave system at the bottom called Starlight Cave. It’s also a frustration to local emergency personnel, who have to rescue several cavers every year who find conditions to perilous to manage themselves.

Since Scott and I have basically no interest in repelling into the deepest hole in New Zealand (183 meters, by the way) we just did the hike out there, which alone is noted for being spectacular. The hole itself is too large, 50 meters across at the opening, to be able to look in to, so my photos of it are pretty boring/confusing. But the walk was as beautiful as promised, so here. Pictures.

The hole
About half a kilometer before the hole, there’s a turn off track to a vista. We happily added this on to our hike. The most enjoyable thing about this whole hike was the amazing rock formations along the way. The track to Harwood Hole (photos above) runs along an ancient and massive river bed- hence the refrigerator sized rocks embedded in the ground.
The rocks on the vista changed into these amazing sawtooth-like patterns, created by acidic water carving channels into the rocks. It made for semi-perilous hiking. Really unique!
A photo of my foot, on the trail. Don’t break an ankle!
Takaka Valley Overlook

On our way home we drove to Blenheim for a bike ride near White’s Bay. We met up with a friend, and collected a few more friends along the way, which made for an awesome crew and absolutely no photo oppertunities (I was slow enough as it was!).

Our buddy at the start/finish of the ride.
This is how we celebrate our 4 year anniversary!

Now, a week later, our colds are finally gone and we’re back at work, counting down to the next adventure!

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