Thursday, 19 February 2015

New Zealand – Kaka Point to Invercargill

After glorious weather the previous day we woke up to light rain.  Oh well, you can’t have good weather all the time and the south of NZ is renowned for getting a bit of the wet stuff.

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We were now at the north end of an area known as “The Catlins”.  The first thing we wanted to see was Purakaunui Falls.  (Just as well I still have my little booklet to remember how to spell all these places.)    If it was raining we were jut going to keep on going, but luckily for us it let up.  This was actually a lovely time to see the falls as all the vegetation was drippy and lush.  The falls are one of the best known in NZ and often feature on calendars.

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Lots of ferns and tree ferns.  The first foresty area we had visited. Fortunately, the rain held off while we were away from the car.

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Next stop was Curio Bay.  The curio is a petrified forest. There isn’t a lot left these days, as so much has been taken by souvenir hunters, but it was interesting just the same…..and the rain held off once again.

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There was so much to see and do in this area that we drove straight past quite a few point of interest.  The next one was one we didn’t want to miss, but as there was a bit of a walk we were hoping for the weather gods to be kind to us once again.  After hopping out of the car you go through this gate and walk through a farmer’s paddock of swedes, complete with mob of sheep.

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Do we look cold? It possibly could be because we were cold, and really windy. 

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We are at the southern most part of the south island.  Next stop a long way south.  Did you notice the shadows?  Yes, the weather held once again, even giving us blue skies. 

I think that this area is usually windy, looking at this stand of trees.

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This little ruined cottage was on the other side.  You would need a good wind break down there.

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Back on the tourist trail (it’s almost a case of off the bus, on the bus, but at a rather leisurely pace) we visited Waipapa Point Light House.  This was built after the worst ever civilian ship wreck occurred on a reef just off this point. 

Just as we arrived a heavy shower came across, the heaviest we had experience all day.  Lots of people were scurrying to their cars, quite wet.  We sat a waited for about five minutes and it had gone, followed by lovely sunshine.  Phew! 

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Once again, not a terribly tall light house – see Mick in the doorway.

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Some people were pointing down to the beach and we took a while to see what they were looking at.  It didn’t stand out very well from the rocks.

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Can you see the sea lion having a doze.  He/she kindly got up and went for a walk across the beach.  Apparently they can move faster than us, so should be treated with respect and we should keep our distance from them.

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That was the final stop along The Catlins. We couldn’t believe how picturesque it is and what a concentration of interesting things to see there are.

Therefore, we did make it to Invercargill, and with time to do a bit of an explore.  The thing that has put this town on the map in recent years is the movie “The World’s Fastest Indian” which depicts the efforts of Burt Munroe to break the land speed record in 1967 on a 1920 Indian motorcycle.  A record which still stands today.  He hailed from Invercargill.  We knew a fellow who used to go and watch him practice on Oreti Beach, just out of Invercargill, so we had to go and have a look.

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It is a long, wide beach, but no one would be setting  any records when we visited as it was quite rough.  No, we wouldn’t have the world’s fastest Corolla.

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We then headed south to a town called Bluff, which was the first place settled by Europeans in 1824.  This aluminium chain is part of a art installation to do with a Maori legend, but unfortunately, we couldn’t read the sign.  There is an aluminium smelter just across the bay, which isn’t something we were expecting to see.  Actually, the area was quite industrial.

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As you can imagine, there was another lighthouse.

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And another in the distance on Dog Island.  The other day seemed to be the day of churches, this one was the day of lighthouses.

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You may have noticed that the sun was shining on us, but to the west there was more rain.

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We were treated to a lovely rainbow on the way back to Invercargill.  Rather picturesque with the wrecked boat.

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We finished our day with a beautiful meal at Speights Ale House.  Speights are the local breweries and don’t make a bad drop.  There was lots of copper fittings featured in the building.  I can imagine sitting here on a cold day.  Rather tasty.

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Invercargill is quite a bit south of Tasmania, so we have been treated to lovely long, light evenings, more reminiscent of our travels to the UK.  Here is the view from the car at 9.19 pm showing how light it still is. Don’t worry, we were in a car park, not driving while I took the photo.

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We were so very lucky with the weather.  Showers came across on and off all day, but they didn’t stop us seeing any of the features we had hoped to visit.  Another good day.


Rachaeldaisy said...

That was a lot of wonderful sights to fit into 1 day! It's great you had good luck with the rain. In a way that wild kind of weather can add to the adventure of sightseeing.

Ali Honey said...

Great photos. I love lighthouses. It reminded me of our journey along the same roads a few years ago.
I insisted on seeing that part of the South before we went overseas.
We couldn't get over how few people there were.....and moss in the centre of some roads.

loulee said...

Another very busy day. You guys are packing it in! You're adding things to my list for Tony! LOL

Jenny said...

Simply stunning .. you won't want to come home