Mass strandings regularly occur at Farewell Spit in Golden Bay. In fact, in February 2017, over 400 long finned pilot whales stranded here, the largest stranding in New Zealand for more than 100 years.
Golden bay is one of the most beautiful spots in New Zealand, partly due to its remoteness. However, this remoteness can catch out people wanting to assist at a stranding.
Please consider the following points if planning to attend a stranding at Farewell Spit:
- Nelson to Puponga is 150kms, but due to the nature of the roads (and the climb over Takaka Hill), this can take in excess of two and a half hours.
- The last town with fuel and a supermarket is Takaka, which is 50kms before Puponga. It is STRONGLY recommended that you fuel up here, as well as stocking up on high energy snacks, food, toiletries and water.
- Make sure you are prepared for the long haul, you may be away for multiple days and there are NO FACILITIES available at Puponga.
When you arrive at the stranding site, report to the officer in charge and ask what you can do to help. Lock any expensive, personal items in your car and only take what you think you’ll need onto the beach. Sadly, cameras and money have been stolen from bags left unattended on the beach during a stranding.
The equipment we recommend you take with you to a stranding includes:
- Appropriate clothing including:
- Windproof / waterproof jacket / beanie
- Sturdy shoes or wetsuit booties
- Shorts & rash vest (or a long-sleeved shirt)
- Additional warm clothing (plastic bags for wet gear)
- Sunglasses, sunblock, sunhat & insect repellant
- High energy food and drink to last you for multiple days
- Enough clean drinking water for yourself for multiple days
- Toiletries, medication, rubber gloves, hand santizer, toilet paper, rubbish bags
- Sleeping bag, groundsheet, torch, camping stove, tent
- Mobile phone (in a zip lock bag) and cash
- Please take all your rubbish out with you – leave nothing but footprints.
- Triangle Flat is not usually a camping spot, however we may be given permission to camp here during a stranding. If so, please respect others staying here by minimising noise and disturbance.
- Pakawau Beach Park (http://goldenbaycamping.co.nz/) often has accommodation available, and is a 15 minute drive from the Spit.
- More general information about the area can be found here: www.goldenbaynz.co.nz/