Heading South....

Trip Start Jan 02, 2013
Trip End Mar 23, 2013

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Flag of New Zealand  , Southland,
Saturday, January 19, 2013

When we left Milford Sound, we decided that we would like to head South, not only so we could say that we had "done" the whole island but also because Neil was keen to check out the Catlins National Park in regard of maybe doing some trekking there with his next bunch of visitors.

The day (and a half's!) travel was in some ways unremarkable but in regards of the weather/climate, it was a story of three thirds! We left the (summer) Alpine climate as we drove through the Southern Alps and as we reached the South Coast, we ended up in a temperate rainforest sort of climate. The following morning, as we headed North, we ended up in something half decent with sunshine on our backs and no vicious winds blowing.

We reached the South coast at Invercargill which, from what we saw, I would highly recommend no one ever puts on their travel itinerary. It seemed to have little going for it (though I accept we might have missed the best in our rush to escape). We decided against going to Bluff, which we understood at the time to be the most Southerly point of land and headed East where we came across Slope Point, which we now know to be the furthest point South on mainland New Zealand. We decided we were too old and sensible to need a photo of us leaning on the marker post so contented ourselves with passing within 6 km of it. We knew we'd done the entire island anyway!!

Instead, we headed off to a campsite on a headland between Curio Bay and Porpoise Bay, which if you check out Google maps is not a million miles further North than Slope Point. This campsite was VERY basic but it had features that offset the poor facilities. Within half a minute of checking in - which incidentally was the cheapest night's camp yet at $16 between us - we saw three or four Hectors Dolphins just messing about in Porpoise Bay. Neil decided to see if they would play and donned his boardies (see how I'm getting into the lingo here?!?!?!?) while I decided to check out Curio Bay. So within another twenty minutes, I had photographic confirmation (but agreed only just!) of seeing three Yellow Eyed Penguins just sitting chilling.... Neil didn't get his playtime as the Southern Ocean (I guess?) demanded a wetsuit for comfort. Anyway, we went for a walk on the beach at Porpoise Bay later on and saw a sealion heading for a night's sleep - or whatever - on the rocks. Not a bad haul for the day....

Our pitch was separated from Antarctica only by several thousand miles of ocean and about 2 metres thickness of flax bushes. It was a chill wind!!! And it peed down (sorry to offend anyone) in the night so we woke in a sort of bog. Cold and wet, not a good combination....

We had done just shy of 2000 kilometres since Picton in reaching the South coast. Now we were to embark on the return journey....
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Jane on

I know3 my eye sight is poor but this is the least yellow eyed I've ever seen a penguin!!

Helen on

Glad you finally got to see some dolphins, I was sad when I read you didn't see any in Milford Sounds. This place sounds and looks lovely, not sure we're going to find a beach quite as empty in Australia, but we will try!

cotysmore on

With my eyes, I also have no idea about it's eye colour - not for the want of trying! But they said they were Yerllow Eyed and I believe them!!

cotysmore on

Hoping I maybe see some more dophins tomorrow on my whaling - sorry whale watching - boat.

All I need on the Ozzie beaches is enough to lay my towel Hels and a bit of sunshine - oh, and a cold beer...

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