Located at the top of the South Island this 35km spit is the world’s longest natural sandbar. Known by the local Maori as “Onetahua” (heaped up sand), its large sand dunes form a coastal barrier that provides protection for migratory shore birds. over 80 species of wetland birds at some time call the spit home, including the Australasian Gannet which uses it for a breeding grounds.
There is evidence that Maori occupied this area and used it for hunting moa (now extinct) and harvesting other foods. Puponga Point, the site of a old pa/fort, is one of many archeological sites.
Abel Tasman became the first European to visit the area in 1642 but Farewell Spit was given its name in 1770 by Captain Cook as he left New Zealand. A lighthouse was built to prevent shipwrecks 1870, which occurred frequently.
Tour and field trips are operated in the area daily. This popular attraction is visited by wildlife enthusiasts and lay people alike. Have you ever wondered what a 5000 bird Gannet colony looks like. Come and check it out.