• Penelope Haines

Maori Beach and whaling station - Day 6

Updated: Jul 23

What a perfect day! We were all a little high after the kiwi experience the previous night. And first thing this morning we were tendered ashore for a short hike to an old whaling station. Note: no scary ladder climb was required to enter this trail! We were simply dropped off on the shore and followed the track around. Actually, ‘whaling station’ isn’t entirely correct. This was a maintenance station where the “chaser boats” that supported the enormous mother ships were maintained at the end of each season. The site is a ruin now, a cluster of concrete foundations, propellers, old springs, and rusting axles.


I find it extraordinary to consider how short a history pakeha New Zealand has—and yet, there are already a huge number of sites we’ve visited where our forebears struggled and strove to create settlements, establish industry and survive incredibly harsh conditions. There is a melancholy vibe to these places. A reminder that much we do is vainglorious and will not survive our own generation.


Once back from our walk, the Milford Wanderer sailed north, passing Oban, and finally weighing anchor at Maori Beach. There, we tendered ashore, and had the most lovely walk through the rich bush to Port Williams. It was about an hour’s walk, through ferny undergrowth, with enormous Rimu trees towering over the lower levels. There was an airy aspect to the growth—very little grew between ground level and the top of the canopy. It made for a very pleasant route—especially as the track was beautifully constructed, well gravelled and drained, and a joy to walk on.


We returned to the ship - had a shower—and settled down to celebrate our last night on board.