© NZPocketGuide.com
© NZPocketGuide.com

Out of the Labyrinth and Into the Salmon Farm

© NZPocketGuide.com

90 Days on the Road

Golden Bay is a fantasy land hidden out of sight from the rest of the rest of the South Island – no, really it is! Yesterday, we saw springs that looked too clear and blue to be real. And today, we are going to explore a place called Labyrinth Rocks. For real!

But… we are whipped back into reality when we wake up to the sound of heavy rain. This persists until the afternoon. No matter what, we are going to check out this “labyrinth” today so we are sat at the walkway entrance, doing work, reading the weather forecast, and waiting until 12.04pm when the rain is projected to stop according to MetService. Incredibly, it stops just then!

Going in mapless…

Even at the Labyrinth Rocks entrance, the place is spilling with craggy limestone formations. All sorts of shapes have been weathered here, including a fun little hole in the rock where we have way too much taking photos through (just see our feature image).

There are also maps to find various different things in the Labyrinth, but, isn’t getting lost all part of the fun?

So off we go mapless and too sassy to be tamed. Intriguingly enough, there are toys scattered throughout the labyrinth, sat on limestone shelves, hidden in natural limestone holes. Someone has had a blast hiding things in this place! It adds to a rather creepy effect.

The coolest labyrinth that we have never got lost in!

Towering limestone walls, smooth water slides (thanks to the recent rainfall) layer upon layer of rock covered in moss, native vegetation growing out of every crack it finds… This place is so freakin’ cool!

Although there are many different little walkways to try and get lost on, we, unfortunately, don’t succeed in getting lost or fall into any rabbit holes. Nevertheless, just the environment is enough to keep us entertained for an hour or so.

Getting not so lost in a labyrinth really builds up an appetite, so we’re pretty keen to check out this salmon farm that has been recommended to us. It’s a place where you literally catch your own dinner.

The scale of the salmon

What we love about Takaka is that a lot of the attractions are in super close driving distance, so 10 minutes later we are pulling up to Anatoki Salmon, a small-scale (get it, scale?!) fresh water salmon farm.

Pools filled with thousands of salmon sit in front of an outdoor but undercover restaurant where already there are people enjoying their catch.

Further along is a scenic lake where the large adult salmon, ready to be fished by idiots like us, are swimming.

Getting prepped for catching our dinner

We are given a couple of fishing rods and a net, a quick talk on how to use them, and a box to put our catch in, as well as a tool used to kill the fish once we have caught it.

Admittedly, that last part is making us queasy. It’s something we don’t necessarily want to do, but if we are happy to eat the fish, then we should be happy killing it.

Distracting native wood pigeons

Before we get the lines in the water, we are totally distracted by the scenery. Native vegetation stretches as far as the eye can see, up to a mountain range in the distance. We are joined by native birds such as tui and a couple of wood pigeons who are just happy to sit their fat asses on the tree above for almost the entire time we are fishing.

Remember how you were here to fish?!

Laura has the first go at fishing. She proved to be the better “fisherlady” when we took the boat to d’Urville Island, so let’s see how she does with freshwater fishing…

… Pretty cr*p to be honest. She throws the line out about 20 times to no success. Robin takes over when it gets too painful to watch.

Robin is hooked on fishing

Only about five throws in, Robin is hooked! It all happens so fast, and man, these salmon are stronger the blue cod we caught at d’Urville Island. Laura catches the salmon in the net and Robin ends its life with a quick stab on the top of its head between the eyes to put the fish out of its misery.

We’re the salmon fishing dream team

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Laura’s pity catch

Laura gets hold of the rod again, but when not taking it too seriously and just chatting away to Robin, a salmon effortlessly hooks itself onto the line. This one clearly felt sorry for Laura…

This bugger is bigger and stronger than Robin’s salmon but we succeed in getting the fish out of the water and put it out of its misery.

From lake to plate

Now we need to take the box to the restaurant where we are going to choose the style we want our salmon to be smoked in, and then watch the chef prepare the fish. This includes the filleting process, which the chef displays super quickly and efficiently.

10 minutes later, we are sat at a table with some of the salmon cut into small pieces for a sushi dish served with soy sauce and wasabi, two fillets of smoked tandoori salmon for Laura and basil and garlic for Robin served with hot chips, coleslaw and garlic bread. Lastly, we have the rest of the smoked salmon vacuum-packed and ready to take back to the Bare Foot Backpackers to give to the lovely hostel owners. That’s heaps, bro!

Reflections on a random day in New Zealand…

We feel like real Kiwis with all this fishing we are doing lately, as well as little gremlins on an adventure through Labyrinths, blue springs and whatever else. It’s a weird combination of feeling, we admit.

The adventure only continues on New Zealand’s Biggest Gap Year, so catch us tomorrow where we travel down Farewell Spit.

And finally, the Labyrinth Rocks like never seen before!

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See you tomorrow!


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