Monday, 31 October 2011

New Zealand. September 17th. The Catlins.

It was time for the dolly with the trolly to head back to Dubai, a long trip from Dunedin! Firstly she had get to the very nice Dunedin Airport; it is located in rural fields about 30 minutes south of Dunedin. Here it was a short hop on an Air New Zealand flight to Christchurch. Then, Air New Zealand from Christchurch to Melbourne to get the Etihad flight to Abu Dhabi, then finally a bus to Dubai.
We left her at Dunedin Airport waiting for her first flight of the day and headed South to Invercargill, via rather uninspiring flat country-side, passing through the farming towns of Gore and Edendale. Invercargill, New Zealands southernmost City was getting ready for the Scotland V Argentina Match so did not detain us for long and we drove Twenty-seven km South of Invercargill to a small fishing town – that reminded me of Fleetwood, called The Bluff. We made our way to Stirling Point and its sign post. As it was a clear, sunny day we climbed to the top of the Bluff lookout to see Stewart Island, the Foveaux Straight and the Bluff Harbour.
We were now heading for the Catlins Coast and part of the Southern Scenic Route. Billed as The Untamed Corner of New Zealand. This was an area of New Zealand I had read about and did not want to miss; I was also hoping it would not rain as the area is known for its harsh weather. The Catlins were once the South Island ‘best kept secret’, but you can now find out about the area in all the well know guide books, as well as on the web, and now on this blog! The Catlins encompasses the area between Fortrose and Kaka Point on the coast and to Mokoreta inland.
Our first stop was at Waipapa Point, this was the sight of a shipwreck in 1881, The SS Tararua, as far as shipwreck remains there was nothing for us to see as the tide was in. The lighthouse at Sloap Point is the most southern on the south Island. We walked on the sandy beach seeing Sea Lions and gathering Paua shells washed up on the shore.
Our next stop was at Curio Bay, this was a fascinating place with its ancient fossilised forest in the bay. The tide was quite high and coming in so I don’t think we saw the best fossilised subtropical ferns and tree stumps but we saw enough to get the picture. The was a campsite here, Curio Bay Holiday Park but it looked very primitive and exposed to the wind so we drove on.
Well, drove as far as we could before the next Traffic Jam .................................
We arrived at The McLean Falls holiday park and campsite late in the afternoon. This campsite was very good, housing The Whistling Frog Cafe & Bar, cabins and level campsites. We settled in, cooked dinner in the very well equipped kitchen, used the clean warm showers and went to the TV room to watch Ireland beat Australia 15 to 6, and change the 'format' of the rugby World Cup! Then it was time to put the camper van to the test!
Would you camp in England in the Frost?
The first of the many sheep we saw during our stay.