Day 102 on the Road
Walkway and Seal Colony at Cape Foulwind
Today we are doing the Cape Foulwind Walkway as part of our 365 Days: 365 Activities in New Zealand!
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Today we are going to see the laziest seals in New Zealand.
This morning our day begins in the awesome Bazils Hostel which is a cool and colourful hostel full of different murals on the wall as well as different places to relax and kick back, watch some rugby on the nearby rugby field – classic Kiwi sight.
But these 365 Days of 365 Activities are not going to do themselves. that’s right, so we are heading today to Cape Foulwind which is the places where there is one of the best and biggest seal colonies in New Zealand and there is also some awesome rocky cliffs and some stunning beaches so there is a lot to unpack today so off we go.
Cape Foulwind is located only about 10km out of Westport and it’s definitely a must-see. The hike is really easy. It’s a well-marked and really easy kind of concrete path and it’s only about an hour walk if you take it really slowly. Although it’s a one-way track there is a lot to see along the way so in our books it’s definitely a must do.
The first stop on the Cape Foulwind Walkway is the Cape Foulwind Lighthouse. There are heaps of different lighthouses in New Zealand and this one has to be one of my favourites. The awesome thing about this lighthouse is that it is surrounded by this native bush called flax which the Maori actually used to use to make clothing and baskets for example and this makes a complete contrast to the white lighthouse itself.
A couple of locals tells us that the place is called Cape Foulwind because it receives the wind from Australia so foul wind. I don’t really know how true that is but it makes them laugh.
But we are already onto the next spot that we want to check out during this walk which is the seal colony. Laura and I are really keen on checking out this seal colony so we are kind of power walking our way through the coastal line. Because the native bush around is quite low we actually get some really awesome views of the coastal headlands all the way along the walkway.
Although we don’t quite see all the way to Australia we do see why this place is called the wild West Coast. The rocks on the cliffs below are getting absolutely smashed by the waves and the wind up here is pretty strong as well.
As we getting closer and closer and closer to the coastline we are hearing the waves crashing on the rocks. It kind of feels like a build-up from an American movie right here. It’s going stronger and harder and louder and soon enough we finally arrive at the seal colony. It is a rugged coastline bashed by the waves and it takes us a few minutes to spot our first seal.
The viewing area here is absolutely huge and it keeps us a good distance away from the seals so we can watch them doing their natural thing. The seals are exactly the same colour as the rocks and the fact that most of them are just sleeping and just chilling out it just makes it a little hard to spot them at first. But a few of the smaller ones, the younger ones, are a little bit cheeky a little bit more movement and it’s really surprising how well these seals can sleep when the waves are absolutely crashing around them.
In New Zealand the law requires us to stay at least 20m away from seals. they are marine mammals that were harassed by humans in the past decades and the New Zealand Department of Conservation is trying to populate the local seal colonies and we can see that the program has been a great success with so many seal pups around.
Laura and I are falling in love with those seals. There is like the tiny ones which are really hilarious and the big ones which are super grumpy and super hairy. We are having a lot of fun watching them and we spend here a lot of time. Actually we spend here over two hours that’s crazy the amount of time those seals entertained us.
The Foulwind Track is a one-way track so we are making our way back the same way that we came in which gives us the opportunity to check out those views from a different angle. I really do like that. And we get back to the Bazils Backpackers for another night and hopefully tomorrow we’re going to be surfing.
They are flapping their flippers. You know kind of like [wimpering sounds] he’s gonna catch me… that was a hard one. I’m going to eat another fish. And then you get some which are really happy they go with their feet like so you know they’re dreaming about like oh my god so many fishes I’m eating so much fish. So you can see literally what their dreaming about which is pretty epic.