Day 88

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Oceania » New Zealand » South Island » Southland » Catlins
January 27th 2011
Published: January 29th 2011
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I was right. Hardly any sleep last night as the wind was blowing so hard the raindrops sounded like pellets being fired into the tent. Despite a couple of tell tale drops showing on the inner tent when we went to sleep last night, we awoke this morning to find a)the tent upright, b) the inside of the tent dry and, c)that the weather had dried up a bit and we were looking at patchy blue sky! Hoorah, very good news for a couple of days which are almost exclusively outdoor activities. Had breakfast, packed up the by now almost dry tent, and then hit the road. One final stop at the Collonial Bakery, had one of their award winning pies, very tasty indeed, and then it was time to hit the highway and explore the Catlins region. This is the very southern tip of the South Island, basically between Invercargill and Dunedin. We’ve planned to stop pretty much half way across the area tonight, just by the Cathedral Caves, and so it’s a fairly leisurely driving day, going between the various sites. The first stop out of Invercargill was Waipapa Point. This was the scene of NZ’s worst civilian shipping disaster in 1881, and there is now a lighthouse on the coastline there, protecting shipping from the hidden dangers close to shore, with golden sandy beaches. Next visit was Slope Point, a short wander through some fields gets you to the southern most tip of the South Island, with appropriate signposts telling you how far it is to the equator and the antartic! Next we went to Curio bay, home of the petrified forest, but, for me, far more interesting as we spotted not one but two yellow eyed penguins. Next was the town Owaka, which had a little museum in it, and also had a board showing low tide. It was 45 minutes before we’d arrived there, and the Cathedral caves are only visible the 2 hours either side of low tide, so we quickly made that our next stop and arrived in time to do the 20 min forest and beach walk to get to the caves. Helen was braver than I by taking off her shoes and wandering through the water at the back of the cave and emerging out of another cave on the beach! Got some good pics here, as I did at most of the places today. From there our camp site was just up the road so we set up our tent, in glorious sunshine by then, and then did our last visit, 3km up the road to McLean Falls. However, we’d decided to eat at the café at the camp site that evening and had to be there by 7pm. So we only got to the lower falls, although this was something we didn’t discover until we saw pictures later on in the evening. We had a superb dinner in the café, before heading to bed, but only after I’d uploaded another full memory cards worth of pics! More of the same tomorrow!

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