The Catlins

Trip Start Sep 15, 2008
Trip End Jan 20, 2009

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Flag of New Zealand  , South Island,
Friday, February 6, 2009

The Catlins

This is our of sequence and should have come before Fiordland 1
The weather had been glorious for several days up to now.  All that was about to change and almost the instant we passed the sign telling us we were entering The Catlins, the heavens opened and the rain was pretty well incessant for the next few hours, making any stops to go for a walk to admire the scenery etc., distinctly uninviting.
By early evening we reached Waikawa - a hamlet with a handful of houses Having spotted a vacancy sign at the end of a gravel road, running alongside the estuary, we decide to explore further.  Part way down this road we came across a block of 4 modern studio apartments.  We went up the drive and noticing that one was occupied we asked the occupants what one had to do to rent a room for the night.  Our attention was drawn to a notice board and a phone.  There were apparently two vacant apartments, both of which had the keys in the door, so we could wander in, have a look around and if we liked what we saw, we put our name on the notice board in the appropriate square and used the phone to ring the landlord to tell him we were moving in and he would come along later to collect the rent!!!!!
Given that there wasn't exactly a surfeit of accommodation around and the next town was some distance away and anyway the apartment seemed perfectly satisfactory, we moved ourselves in and in due course along came a man for our money.
The area was well known for its yellow-eyed penguins and so John very stoically agreed to accompany Anne to the nearby Curio Cove.  It was perishing cold and it was not hard to realise that the next stop across the water was Antarctica!!!  We almost froze to the spot and I was wishing I'd not left my gloves and scarves etc. in Auckland!!! (John had brought his gloves).  At least we did manage to see a couple of the penguins before we gave in and retreated to the warmth of our apartment.
The next day saw us at the same spot in the vain hope that we may see both some more penguins and also the world's smallest dolphins - Hector Dolphins, which frequent these waters and can often be seen, particularly at this time of year, within a few feet of the shore.  We were out of luck this time and so continued on our way, eventually leaving The Catlins behind us and arriving in the Fiordland region.
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