Cape Farewell

Cape Farewell and Pillar Point Lighthouse

In which Miles walks from Cape Farewell to Pillar Point Lighthouse, enjoying white cliffs and other land and seascapes along the coast of the Tasman Sea/Cook Strait, in the northwest corner of the South Island of New Zealand.

To view the full gallery of 24 pictures on imgur, click here.

You could spend days walking the tracks around Farewell Spit and Cape Farewell, as I learned from this DOC brochure.  I had already spent a good part of a day just walking Wharariki Beach.  With a very sunny weekend off I decided to visit Cape Farewell, and enjoy different views of the coastal cliffs by walking Hill Top Track to Pillar Point Lighthouse.  I parked a short 5 minute walk from Cape Farewell.

From the carpark I saw my destination at the top of Pillar Point.

Pillar Point Lighthouse from the carpark at Cape Farewell
Pillar Point Lighthouse from the carpark at Cape Farewell

Cape Farewell is a striking white cliff with an archway at the point.  Tracks lead west to Wharariki Beach and east to Pillar Point.

Cape Farewell
Cape Farewell

I walked along the cliffs toward Pillar Point, expecting to join Hilltop Track along the way.  I wanted to enjoy views of both Cape Farewell and the cliffs themselves before heading inland.  This meant steeper climbs, but the views were highly motivating.

Coastal cliffs on the way to Pillar Point
Coastal cliffs on the way to Pillar Point

At this point Farewell Spit is already visible in the distance.  Farewell Spit forms the northern side of Golden Bay and is the longest sandspit in New Zealand, stretching for about 26 km above sea level and another 6 km underwater.  I’ll show you more of that in my next post, or possibly the one after that.

Coastal cliffs and sea caves on the way to Pillar Point
Coastal cliffs and sea caves on the way to Pillar Point
Coastal cliffs and sea caves on the way to Pillar Point
Coastal cliffs and sea caves on the way to Pillar Point

The landscape eventually nudged me inland, away from the cliffs, and toward Hill Top Track.

Near Hill Top Track
Near Hill Top Track

The entrance makes the bush looks more dense than it actually is.  The shade was welcome at this point.  The lighthouse is visible on top of the hill.

Entering a small forest on Hill Top Track
Entering a small forest on Hill Top Track

The song of cicada was loud in the bush, as it was everywhere in the Golden Bay area, and really everywhere else in New Zealand in the summer.  As in the campground in Collingwood, abandoned exoskeletons littered the bark of the trees.  I don’t believe the positions of the exuviae below have anything to do with mating, but rather one cicada finding the abandoned exoskeleton of another a convention place to anchor himself while shedding his own.

Cicadas' abandoned exoskeletons
Cicadas’ abandoned exoskeletons

After ascending above the trees, views inland, to the south from Hill Top Track, open up.

The view inland, south from Hill Top Track
The view inland, south from Hill Top Track

The lighthouse itself is unremarkable; the attraction lies in the views  from Pillar Point.  Cape Farewell is visible in the distance in the picture below.

Pillar Point Lighthouse
Pillar Point Lighthouse

I walked a bit further for better views to the east that include Farewell Spit, Old Man Rock, and Port Puponga.

Farewell Spit from Hill Top Track
Farewell Spit from Hill Top Track
Farewell Spit and Old Man from Hill Top Track
Farewell Spit and Old Man from Hill Top Track
Old Man and Port Puponga from Hill Top Track
Old Man and Port Puponga from Hill Top Track

I wasn’t entirely sure I would walk Farewell Spit, but that changed when I saw the views above.  I now knew what I would do with the next day.

To view the full gallery of 24 pictures on imgur, click here.

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