Our initial foray into Westport’s many attractions included the seal colony and Cape Foulwind.
The first thing I noticed as we headed to the seal colony was not the seals, but the wekas. If we saw one weka, we must have seen a dozen on the short walk to the headland where the colony exists. I suspect tourists may be feeding these birds as they approached us with no sign of fear. The second thing obvious around that end of Tauranga Bay were the massive number of flax flowers almost ready to burst into full bloom. What a treat they will be for native birds in the very near future.
The fur seals were a delight to watch. And visiting is free. Easily visible we counted about a dozen seals. There were a couple playing in a rock pool. Then we could distinguish a cow suckling her calf, calves on their own, big fat creatures lolling on the rocks – males, I decided. Perhaps it was the time of day – we were there quite early – or perhaps there were enough animals there so we could enjoy watching them moving about. I have been a little disappointed to find seals just sleeping in the sun at other colonies. Our experience at this colony was better. We saw playing, we saw nurturing, we saw play fighting. It was well worth the effort to visit and one could waste quite a bit of a day just watching their antics.
Next we drove to Cape Foulwind. Again a free place to visit. Thankfully, it did not live up to its name.
“Maori knew the Cape as Tauranga which refers to the sheltered anchorage the bay provided for voyaging canoes (waka). It was also used as a resting place as they travelled the coastal areas by foot and by sea. Abel Tasman sighted the Cape on 14 December 1642 and named it Rocky point. In 1770 it was named a “place of foul winds” by Captain Cook when his ship was beset by gales and wind.” (http://westport.nz/westport-cape-foulwind/)
A short walk up to the lighthouse, then I was tempted to continue along the walk track toward the seal colony a little way before turning back. I did manage to get an extra couple of photos along this route.