Farewell Spit is a narrow sand spit at the northern end of the Golden Bay, South Island of New Zealand. Known to the Māori as Tuhuroa, it runs eastwards from Cape Farewell, the island’s northernmost point. It is located about 50 kilometres north of Takaka and 20 kilometres from Collingwood. The tiny settlement of Puponga stands close to the western (landward) end of the spit.
It forms the northern side of Golden Bay and is the longest sandspit in New Zealand, stretching for about 26 km above sea level and another 6 km underwater. The spit runs in from west to east, and is made from fine golden sand – as Cape Farewell to the west of the spit is mostly composed of late Cretaceous quartz sandstones, i.e. silica but with traces of other heavy minerals, garnet, ilmenite, magnetite and pyroxene. The erosion of the cliffs into fine sand carried on the sea currents creates Farewell spit further east.
The northern side of the dunes are steeper and unstable being constantly exposed to the prevailing winds which average over 25 km/h. The southern side which faces Golden Bay is more stable and largely covered with vegetation. The tide here can recede as much as seven kilometres exposing some 80 square kilometres of mud flats; a rich feeding ground for the many sea birds in the area but also a trap for the frequently stranded whales.