Monday, 31 October 2011

New Zealand Tour. September 18th 2011, The Catlins, Dunedin & Rugby. England v Georgia, RWC.

There are many waterfalls in The Catlins and the campsite was next to The McLean Falls, this 22 mt waterfall was a short walk through rainforest. Further along was the Purakaunui Falls, smaller that the McLean Falls but described as an Icon of New Zealand as it is one of the most photographed waterfalls in the country. Its image is seen on calendars, postcards and book covers. This was also an easy 5 minute walk to get to.
Unfortunately Cathedral Caves, Tunnel Beach and Jacks Blowhole were shut due to the lambing season...this was to be a frequent occurrence during out tour! We walked for miles at Cannibal Bay, almost falling over a large Sea Lion who was disguised as a log! There is a sign post pointing to the place where the sailing vessel, The Surat was wrecked on this coast in 1874. The 5 hour coastal walk to Surat Bay on this beach and dunes is marked by orange markers.
Nugget Point was our next stop; This is one of the South Islands most scenic lighthouse locations, and described as Iconic. The steep headland overlooks jagged rocky inlets resembling angular gold nuggets, hence the name! At the tip of the headland is New Zealands oldest lighthouse built in 1869. The spectacular walk to the lighthouse is on a gravel pathway, New Zealand Sea Lions were on the shores below us. The walk took at least 30 minutes return.

We drove back to Dunedin to get ready for the rugby, England V Georgia tonight.  

I really liked the stadium at Dunedin, it was opened on 5th August 2011 and is and is the world's first, fully enclosed, grassed stadium. Every time you mentioned the Rugby in this part of New Zealand you were told how much this stadium had cost the local Taxpayers. The local people were really not happy about it. I think this had been money well spent, Dunedin has a stadium it can be proud of, it is warm and light inside, yet you forget that it is enclosed as it gives the impression of being outside.
As far as the Rugby goes, it had been a week of controversy off the pitch for England; Who were back at the stadium to play the ‘minnows’ Georgia. This Georgia team was vastly improved from the Team I saw in 2003 in Perth, Ausralia, back then the players had had to pay their own airfares and hotel bills, I hope that situation has improved for the players. Once again it was hard work watching England make basic mistakes, I wonder if theses professional players actually know the rules of the game?? As they don’t look like they do. Maybe the England Prima Donnas should have to pay their own way during the tournaments? Bring them back down to earth a bit....England Rugby players are appearing arrogant, and I don’t know why as the Rugby they are playing is rubbish! The final score with its large margin of victory greatly flattered England, I thought their performance was very poor and they will need to improve if they are to get through to the semifinals. Also, I really missed the fun that the Argentinean fans bring to the match, they are great. But, Dunedins very large student population stood in for the Georgian Fans and certainly created a lively atmosphere.