Published: August 6th 2007April 18th 2007
Today must have been our busiest day so far on our travels - We packed so much in!
We got up early in order to get to the Cathedral Caves. Viewing these caves is dependent on low tide, which was at 8.47am. They can be view an hour either side of low tide.
Named because of their huge Cathedral-like arcs, these caves were a definite must and we were really glad we saw them (they'd been closed for a whole week before we came, due to weather conditions). There were two bays of caves, the first set of caves were the most spectacular as they joined in the middle and you could walk straight through. The second bay was less popular as people often don't bother to go that far. We were so pleased we made the effort! As we approached the first cave, we saw 2 little blue penguins scuttling inside away from us! We initially pursued them but remembered what we'd been told and backed off! Penguins are very shy and human interference can cause them to move their home elsewhere.
Next we came back on ourselves to another tide-dependent site: The Petrified Forest. During the
Jurassic period a forest had existed at this place, when New Zealand was part of the Gondwanaland (before it split and the continents were formed). Now the coast, all that remains are large tree stumps that were literally turned to stone. You can still see ancient wood inside where the sea has worn away the stone. It was pretty fascinating to be standing on something so old!
After Curio bay and the Petrified Forest, we visited Slope point - the southern most point of New Zealand. There was a (not so) impressive beacon there!
From Slope point we had an hours drive to Jack's blow hole (named after a Maori who loved English swear words and earned the nickname of Jack!? or something like that.) This impressive hole was 200m inland from the Sea and absolutely huge (take a look at the stats on the picture)
Next on the list was Nugget Point, named due to its resemblance to gold nuggets when the sun is setting. We didn't see the goldenness but it was still very impressive! We also spotted a few sea lions screaming at each other on the rocks below.
We had hoped to
make it to Sand fly bay at the Otago Peninsula but time was not on our side so we had to give it a miss! After a scenic drive through Dunedin and along the west coast, we arrived at Shag point where we camped.
There are more photos below