The road that heads west along the South Island’s northern shores comes to an end at the sleepy town of Collingwood.
This tiny settlement receives a fraction of the visitors who throng to nearby Nelson, but provides access to one of New Zealand’s best kept secrets — Farewell Spit. This expanse of protected beach and natural wetland is home to thousands of migratory wading birds.
Thankfully, due to its worldwide importance, it is a strictly protected sanctuary and accessible only on a guided tour.
Eco tours to Farewell Spit
On a tour to the Spit you get the chance to visit the only sea-level gannet colony in the world; Cape Farewell Eco Tours have the only licence which allows this kind of access. Along the way you stop at the Spit lighthouse, to learn how it worked and explore the lighthouse keeper's century old house.
Finally you reach the Cape. Cape Farewell is the northernmost point of the South Island and the cliff top views of the Tasman Sea and rugged coastline are spectacular. The coastal cliffs are sliced through with fault lines, vertically walled slashes where streams run inland rather then to the sea creating fascinating rock patterns.
There is time on the tour to climb the Barchan Dunes or walk along the wind-driven beaches, and the more adventurous can try a bit of dune-surfing. Throughout the tour you are provided with a comprehensive commentary from the passionate, enthusiastic and extremely knowledgeable guides, and your transport comes in the form of RL Bedfords — rather hefty looking but very comfortable four wheel drive vehicles that can tackle the stunning sand flats.
Map of Collingwood & Farewell Spit
Places & hotels on the map
Places near Collingwood & Farewell Spit
- Abel Tasman National Park 23 miles away
- Kahurangi National Park 23 miles away
- Nelson 52 miles away
- Marlborough Sounds 81 miles away
- Picton 82 miles away
- Blenheim 89 miles away
- Wellington 118 miles away
- Punakaiki 122 miles away
- The Kapiti Coast 122 miles away
- Hanmer Springs 128 miles away
- Kaikoura 130 miles away
- Taranaki & New Plymouth 135 miles away
- Whanganui National Park 135 miles away
- Greytown 148 miles away
- Martinborough 150 miles away
- Wairarapa & surrounds 151 miles away
- Hokitika 167 miles away
- Arthur's Pass National Park 168 miles away
- Tongariro National Park 182 miles away
- Christchurch 198 miles away
- Waitomo 211 miles away
- Akaroa & Banks Peninsula 217 miles away
- Lake Taupo 227 miles away
- Hastings 232 miles away
- Fox & Franz Josef Glaciers 237 miles away
- Napier 239 miles away
- Hawke's Bay 241 miles away
- Mount Cook National Park 250 miles away
- Waikato 254 miles away
- Lake Tekapo 256 miles away
- Rotorua 259 miles away
- Tauranga 279 miles away
- Twizel 281 miles away
- Bay of Plenty 285 miles away
- Auckland 288 miles away
- Thames & Kauaeranga Valley 289 miles away
- Haast & Lake Moeraki 290 miles away
- Devonport 290 miles away
- Waiheke Island 297 miles away