There are people who make it a sport to visit the strangest and most remarkable places on earth. Our “weird places” blog is designed to give them a nudge in a new direction. For instance, have you ever heard of the wreck of the Janie Seddon?
It’s a long flight from Amsterdam to Auckland but, believe me, New Zealand is more than worth it. I made the trip from Auckland south so I could travel to the South Island from Wellington. For the true adventurer, it’s an absolute must to travel to Abel Tasman National Park. There you’ll find white sand beaches, primeval forests, and azure water. But, just before you reach the park, you’ll see something quite strange – something pretty remarkable – at ebb tide, a beach that reveals one of the sea’s many secrets: the wreck of the Janie Seddon.
The rusty hulk looks pretty bizarre. She lies on the coast off Motueka Wharf at the edge of the town of Motueka. You can’t see it completely until ebb tide. Then you can see it up close if you walk over the rocks in the mudflats from the quiet beach. Make sure you have the right shoes on – better ones than I had – or you’ll sink straight into the mud. And, by the way, look but don’t touch. Climbing on the wreck could well be the last thing you ever do.
You might think, it’s a ship – big deal. But the Janie Seddon had an interesting life before arriving at her final resting place. She was built in Scotland in 1901. Thereafter she spent most of her life in Wellington Harbour. On 3 September 1939, as part of the New Zealand army, she fired “the first shot of the Second World War on behalf of the British” – a warning shot across the bow of a ship, which ignored the order.
The Janie Seddon did service laying mines. After the war, she was sold to work as a fishing ship for Talley’s Fishery located in Motueka. After being stranded, she was stripped of anything of use and, to this day, the ghostly hull lies off the town’s coast.
The carcass of this proud piece of British history is at its most beautiful at sunset – or so I’ve been told. So, if you’re traveling through New Zealand, plan your trek so that you reach the quiet Motueka beach in time to see the sun go down behind this relic of another era. They say it’s magical.