We love to break the journey from Ribbonwood Retreat at Wanakato, Ship Creek, a short very rewarding walk to stretch the legs. Passing dunes and windswept trees, the pounding, rolling waves act as the backdrop. From the viewing platform there are expansive coastal views all the way to Jackson Head, overlooking a dune lake with reflections on a good day. You may ask 'what is a dune lake?' It is a freshwater lake formed by sand blowing over the dunes, creating hollows which fill with water.
Ship creek is coloured by tannin and humic acids with the nutrient-rich water enhancing the surrounding soil. As a result, Kahikatea (white pine), cabbage trees, flax and kowhai grow well. Whitebait, eels and a variety of birdlife can also be found here, including kingfishers, bellbirds, tui, fantails, gray warblers, kea and kaka.
The interpretation panels make excellent reading so it is worth lingering awhile. Most interesting for me is the social history as I read about and appreciated the multitude of difficulties that faced the early settlers and explorers.
The Tiaki Promise
It is easy to mistake New Zealand as a tiny country where it is possible to zip about quickly. We know that trying to fit too much in to a short visit is an easy trap. There are tempting signs pointing to amazing looking places that are clearly marked on maps, but may require travel on gravel roads. These are slower to drive along, prone to washouts after heavy rain, and demand considerably more care and attention from the driver. At times, our guests arrive here at Ribbonwood accommodation, feeling tired and overwhelmed after far too long a day on the road. The answer we have come to our guests and for ourselves is to 'see less, better. '
Keen on the outdoors, we often hike around our local area so we can pass on all our knowledge about Westland Tai Poutini National Park.