Motueka is a small town located between Takaka and Nelson. It's a great place to base yourself should you wish to hike the Abel Tasman Coastal Track, sunbathe in Kaiteriteri or chill in the Kahurangi National Park.
Although I only got to spend a few hours in Motueka, I very much enjoyed its laidback atmosphere. I parked the car on the High Street and started to explore the surroundings. From shop to shop and street to street, I ended up on the Motueka Quay, right by the Golf Course. I stumbled across the beach pretty much by accident, but since I was already there, I thought I should dedicate some time exploring the surroundings. I arrived just as the tides were out, hence I could cross the water and start exploring what it looked like a sand island. I soon found out this place was called Raumanuka and Motueka Sandspit Scenic Reserve.
I learned that Motueka Sandspit is the most important area for migratory birds in the Nelson region after the Farewell Spit. Here you can come across Godwits, Oystercatchers, Terns and Shags, as well as Turnstones, Knots and Dotterels.
Since this place is a bird sanctuary, you should avoid disturbing the birds as much as possible, especially during nesting season. Bird watchers will feel right at home in this area.
It took me about 2 hours to stroll up and down the sandspit. It was definitely good exercise, although I wasn't well prepared as I didn't bring any water with me, not knowing I will discover such beautiful place. I was melting under the Tasman Bay sunshine, so I decided to stop and sunbathe for a while too.
After a few hours of further adventures and explorations around Motueka, I got back to the car, only to find a parking fine! This was totally unexpected, but at closer look I realised that free parking was only permitted for 60 minutes. I made my way to the Tasman Council and paid the fine, but not before having a serious laugh at the situation. This was essentially my first ever driving related fine. Brilliant, I say, as I pay the 20 NZD.
And so, I leave Mouteka behind and find myself back on the State Highway 60, towards Nelson. So far, I loved every part of New Zealand and felt quite sad to leave The Abel Tasman behind. Little I knew, however, how Nelson will, in fact, manage to conquer my heart forever.
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