New Zealand, Dunedin to The Catlins

When Naomi and I originally thought about coming to New Zealand, we, like most people probably looked at the size of the country and thought I won’t need that long there ,it’s tiny !! Wrong, very wrong, it might be a small country but it’s big on mountains, scenery, hospitality, wildlife, adventure and huge areas where there’s nothing !! We gave ourselves two months here but to be honest we’ve only just scratched the surface. Yes we’ve seen quite a lot, cycled about 2000km but there’s still so much to see and no time left. So for our last week we’ve hired a car, I know what your thinking, it’s not cycling, tough !! There are no rules, were tourists and we’ve come 18,000km to get here and I’m unlikely to ever have the chance of coming back, so I’m ok with the car, it means I don’t go home with regrets. There’s nothing worse than going somewhere and not being able to do all the things you wanted to do, how many times have you got home and said ” I wish I’d done this or that”, you have, we all have, so yes we’ve hired a car….enough said !!
We left the holiday park, car packed to the roof with all our kit, bikes and shopping, it’s so good to be able to buy food in large quantities !!
Destination, The Catlins, the southern most part of New Zealand, rugged, exposed, dramatic and beautiful, just some of the words I’d be using during our time there. We had every intention of staying the night down there but you know how things change…more about that later !
It’s about 100km to our first stop at Kaka Point and from there round to Slope Point (the southern most point) is another 100km. On our way we’d stop at waterfalls, Nugget Point, Curio Bay and Cathedral Caves. We’d see fur seals, petrified forests, lighthouses, numerous birds ( including a penguin ), we’d walk through rain forests, along beaches, through caves, battle strong winds across cliff tops and take literally hundreds of photos..
The roads aren’t all sealed so lots of gravel, makes it interesting, good job we had a four wheel drive !
Anyway one the high lights for me was, the Cathedral Caves, we passed them on the way to some waterfalls but the gate was closed and the sign said it would only be open from 3 to 7pm. We realised later that they are only open during low tide as there inaccessible otherwise. We made a point of going back later. It was a good half hour walk from the carpark down to the beach where the wind was blowing so hard the sand was being blown in rivers across the beach. A ten minute walk along the beach to a rocky outcrop and as you round this your faced with this huge cave….amazing !!
Shoes off, trousers rolled up as the water is lapping around your ankles, then in we went. It was quite light in the cave as the entrance is so big, lovely soft sand under foot leads you to the narrow rear where there is a small entrance to a parallel cave. Looking out of the cave opening towards the rough seas with the waves crashing in, sand blowing and salty spray being blown like rain was quite a sight…..loved it !!
Another high point was Slope Point, as I said earlier it’s New Zealand’s southern most point. To get there it’s a long gravel road to a small carpark then a fairly good walk through a farmers field to the cliff then turn left for a fair way to the point itself. We were having to try so hard to walk into the wind it made us both laugh. We finally made it to the signpost that let’s you know you’ve made it, luckily there’s a small structure there that we could hide behind while we took photos. It was really hard to hold the camera steady as you got buffeted by the wind, it was also blowing the sea spray up which also got on your lens ! My appreciation for professional photographers went up a notch at this point ! It seemed like a long way to go for a photo of a sign but to us it was important and the fact that we had to battle the elements even for a brief moment made it even better !!
I could wittier on about all the amazing places we saw that day but I’ll just show you the photos instead, suffice to say it was a fantastic day.
Earlier I mentioned that we were going to stay in the Catlins, well we didn’t, we started the drive back to Dunedin and the wind was strong so we had no intention of putting up our tents, we wanted a cabin !!
We tried several camp sites, each one closer to Dunedin until we decided to ring the site we’d stayed at the night before, they had a cabin so that was that. We’d travelled over 500km in one day, up some huge hills, on good and bad roads and seen loads of amazing sights. This one trip alone on a our bikes would probably have taken over a week, how sad it would have been to miss it !!
So here they are, the photos from our trip to The Catlins…..
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A beautiful sunset, cold and windy outside though !!
Well that wraps up my short blog about the Catins, keep reading folks as there’s plenty more beautiful sights to come 😉
Take care
JC

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About John Chevis

I'm a forty something single guy who spent far to long depressed, but luckily for me I found an answer in the form of exercise !! I started running and cycling on a regular basis and now two and a half years later I'm cycling the world !!
This entry was posted in New Zealand, south island, The Catlins and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

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