New Years Eve in Okiwi Bay - Sarah K Smith Photography

New Years Eve in Okiwi Bay - 31 December 2014

Okiwi Bay at dusk, with Motuanauru Island, Moukirikiri Island and <br />
Otuhaererroa Island.

The view from Okiwi Bay out to the Croiselles Harbour at dusk.  Motuanauru Island (left), Moukirikiri Island (centre) and Otuhaererroa Island (right).

With an impending storm for the whole of the South Island due on New Years Eve day I decided, ahead of its arrival, to look for a place to weather it out. My little tent wasn’t up to what I saw on the weather map and honestly, neither was I at this early stage in the trip!

Christmas and New Year in Nelson isn’t the easiest place or time of year to find accommodation. So looking further a field, I found Okiwi Bay Holiday Park had a lodge homestay option available. I booked in for 2 nights. This was where I was to spend New Years Eve.

Only one of two people staying in the lodge accommodation, that can normally sleep larger groups, it was a unique place to stay. The communal areas are shared with the owners of the accommodation, Ian and Pam, which made it a homely experience.

Waking early to the sound of rain needling the roof, I was pleased with my decision to book accommodation. I rolled over to sleep some more. On rising, it seemed a good day to read my book, explore the bay in the car and exercise my leg on a short walk as the weather allowed.

‘Bad’ weather can make for some atmospheric shots and I thought there could be an opportunity here. From the vantage points around the bay views out towards the Croiselles Harbour proved to fit the moody feeling my images often portray.

The inclement wind, rain and sea swell scuppered the planned New Years Eve fireworks display from a barge. So, invited by Ian and Pam I went for dinner and a drink at the ‘Hook and Sinker’, the Okiwi Bay pub.

Elevated above the bay, the ‘Hook and Sinker’ offered a great place to watch the weather, while indulging in a relaxed, welcoming atmosphere with some wholesome food and conversation on the local area, fishing, tourism and adventures.

By the end of the meal the rain clouds were taking their leave, encouraging people to emerge from their houses and sodden tents, to finally enjoy the mild and balmy evening, just as the sun was dipping. Grabbing my camera I went for a wander along the bay.

Packs of teenagers, free from school responsibilities, lavished the opportunity to be out cruising the streets creating their own ad-lib version of New Years Eve fun and entertainment. Holidaymakers gathered friends and family in their yards with drink and food, while music, from all eras, increased in volume as I approached only to fade away as I continued past. Families gathered outdoors, took walks and built small bonfires on the beach while couples loitered in the shadows, as the sky darkened. All waiting for the new year.

Having enjoyed the magical atmosphere of Okiwi Bay and not keen to wait for the strike of midnight, I captured the last light as it faded in the west, then meandered back to my accommodation for an early night, in anticipation of the drive to French Pass, on the first day of 2015.

A view of the Croiselles Harbour during New Years Eve day. Moukirikiri Island (left), Motuanauru Island (centre) and Otuhaererroa Island (right).

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