Published: May 10th 2010May 6th 2010
Polling day for everyone back in the UK - we’re looking forward to hearing the results as it sounds like it’s going to be an interesting election! [Although being the other side of the world, polling won’t officially close until after we’ve had our breakfast tomorrow morning!]
Today was another quiet laid-back day for us, but oh such a perfect day! We went into Invercargill to have a look at its architecture which we were told was wonderful, I suppose it wasn’t bad, but someone had chosen to paint it in the most awful colours. There was also The Crescent, which was spoken of as something grand - I suppose I was expecting something like the Royal Crescent in Bath, and instead got something more reminiscent of Slough! You may be disappointed to know that we didn’t take photos!
Yesterday Isobel recommended a shop selling fabric, so we thought I’d just pop in to have a look. On the way I found a fabulous quilting shop with some wonderful batiks, but we finally found “Spotlight”, the shop she’d recommended. At first I was disappointed as it reminded me of “The Range” in England which sells more curtaining than anything
else. Although I did find some spectacular sheeting that would make fantastic backing fabric. But then we found the quilting fabrics ... oh if only I had an empty suitcase!!!
We then took off towards the Catlins and the South Coast Road. The flat landscape around Invercargill started to take on a prettier look as rolling green hills started to bubble up. We stopped to look at the wreck of the Ino, which can only be seen at low tide (and then not much!) and an art gallery/craft shop with a huge concrete pukeko outside. There were some superb pictures there, but unfortunately no way for us to get them home.
And then we arrived at Curio Bay - we’d deliberately waited until early afternoon for low tide as we wanted to see the petrified forest on the shore. It really was wonderful, especially in the hot sunshine, and we spent ages stepping from rock pool to rock pool looking at the remains of the ancient trees. The estimate is that the forest is 170 million years old, and the Jurassic fossil forest is one of the geological wonders of the world! Apparently, the stumps used to be
a lot taller, but souvenir hunters have been making off with them - what a shame!
The other thing that Curio Bay is renowned for is its Hoiho or yellow eyed penguins. We called in to the campsite next door, which was fantastic, and ended up booking on for the night. We ate lunch admiring the stunning views, and John nearly got a photograph of the dolphins that he saw swimming in the Bay (we think these may have been Hectors Dolphins, but aren’t sure). We drove to Slope Point: (cue Mum) the most southerly point in New Zealand and then came back to Curio Bay to hopefully see the penguins come in after a day at sea.
We walked down onto the petrified forest again and with a few others sat on some higher rocks and waited, and waited, and waited. I must admit, I sat there thinking ‘I’m sitting on the stump of a 170 million year old tree, watching sea coming from Antartica, waiting for a rare species of penguin to arrive’ ... I burst into song ‘oh what a perfect day’ but John quickly shushed me as he said I’d scare the penguins off!
(He had a point!) We were just beginning to think it was the orang utan scenario all over again, when up jumped a penguin! No sooner had he dried himself off, flapped around a bit and waddled off to his nest than 3 others jumped up and did the same. It was just so great watching them stand, preen and clean themselves in total silence, although occasionally keening into the night, and then paddling off through the puddles, so that you could hear the flap, flap, flap sound. It’s just so wonderful watching them leaping from rock to rock with far more agility than I can manage! We finally left as it was getting too dark to see, but we’re sure we could still hear them calling to each other as more were arriving. It was absolutely wonderful and I am so glad we came down to the south!
And did you know that the southern scenic route is rated #15? Well, there you go!!
Now yesterday we discovered something really quite awful. We managed to get access to WiFi in the rotten campsite last night, and tried to Skype the family. The parents and most kids
were unavailable, but we did manage to have lovely chat with Paul. Now we’ve been really touched by the messages we’ve received from people who have been reading our blogs, and it’s been nice to know that some of you are enjoying sharing our travels with us ... but not Paul! He confessed that he hasn’t been reading them, although ‘he does look at the pictures’ ... my own son! What can I say?! I’m devastated!
There are more photos below