Farewell Spit is a narrow tongue of land, composed entirely of sand, that curves around the north-western extremity of Golden Bay. A bird sanctuary and wetland of international importance, it provides a vital habitat for many species of migratory wading birds. Towards the end of March huge flocks of bar-tailed godwits gather here prior
to departing on their annual migration to the tundras of Siberia and Alaska. Other migratory birds that can be seen on the Spit include knots, turnstones and curlews.
Because of the Spit’s protected status, free public access is restricted to small areas of beach at its base. The only way to travel its entire length is to book a tour with a licensed operator like Collingwood Safari Tours. No hobby ornithologist will want to miss their ‘Gannet Tour’, as it provides access to the gannet colony (and lighthouse) at the far end of the Spit. The Collingwood Bus Service also runs a nature tour to Farewell Spit. It takes about 6 1/2 hours and lunch is provided.