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Published: November 12th 2013
The day dawned bleak, both in the sky and in my head. The couple of bottles of wine shared last night had done their worst and while Anne and Mo slept it off, caffeine was my friend. Not long on the road and the skies opened up... my companions commenting that it was not a day to be standing on the side of the road trying to get a lift.
Sometimes the best things aren't planned. About an hour into the drive, we noticed a cheese factory off the side of the road and decided to pull in. Evandale Cheese
is made from all local milk (literally, the farm was 5km up the road), and we sampled a number of soft and hard cheeses while having a chat to the man behind the counter. Turns out that the guy that normally does the front counter was off, being a Sunday, and so we had the pleasure of talking to the head cheese maker. It's always impressive the amount of passion someone has for products they've crafted with their own hands and to hear him tell us about the process and the products was brilliant.
Down to Dunedin
and this country once again shows how diverse it's influences are. With a very
Scottish vibe, the city has a lot of names beginning with "Glen" and even a few of the lakes are called "Loch". It is a thriving metropolis with the city centre built up around the train station which was architecturally stunning.
Anne mentioned that out on Tairoa Head
was an albatross colony as well as penguins and sea lions. When reaching the head, the wind was blowing so hard the rain was coming in sideways, so a coffee was definitely needed in the Royal Albatross Centre
. November is nesting time for the Albatross that visit New Zealand and therefore we couldn't actually see any, but the centre was fascinating in that it provided valuable insights into the lives of the largest flying bird on the planet. Things like the fact that some breeds have a wingspan of 3.3 metres or that one bird (nicknamed "Grandma") was documented to have lived over 61 years and she was fully grown at the time of the first documentation. Finding out that another breed was able to dive to over 60 metres below the sea and that
the furthest that one bird is known to have traveled in a day was 1800km was certainly an eye-opener and gives a sense of awe for these majestic creatures.
Continuing on, we made for The Catlins
and another DOC campsite for the night. The Catlins are a conservation park on the south east coast and before pulling into the site it was discovered that just down the road is Purakaunui Falls
. I don't know exactly what it is that mesmerizes me so much with waterfalls, but for some reason I just can't drive past one and not take a look. Situated a short walk from the road amongst dense forest with ferns covering the floor, the water spills over the edge and captures my attention every time. Purakaunui Bay
campsite is in a secluded bay on the border of The Catlins, and as the sun set and the dinner was eaten, the conversation once again was lively and I thought how lucky I was to have met a great couple with a thirst for travel and adventure that matched my own.
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