After leaving Nelson and passing through Motueka, we went up Takaka Hill. This is looking back down, in the direction of Motueka.
We stopped near the top of Takaka Hill at an overlook. These gray rocks were all along the trail out to the lookout. We learned at our next stop that they are marble. Marble was quarried from this hill to build the government buildings in Wellington many years ago.
A view from the lookout. At the far left is the Tasman Sea, beyond the orchards and vineyards near Motueka. Nelson is on the far side of that bay.
Our next stop was only a short distance from the overlook, at Ngarua Caves. We thoroughly enjoyed touring this beautiful cave.
At some time in the distant past, moas (the smallest variety, not the giant ones) fell into the cave and died; their bones have been found there.
This area of the cave had a “new” growth of stalactites forming.
The way out–this is the hole through which the cave was originally discovered by a survey party in 1876.
The landscape around the cave. If I understood right, some of the filming of The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit was done here.
There are a lot of sink holes on this hill. At our previous stop, at the overlook, we saw signs warning about them. One of our boys was fascinated and badly wanted to see one; finally here he got his wish!
Going down the other side of Takaka Hill, towards Golden Bay. The road winds back and forth down the side of this hill–an incredible drive!