Waipapa, Invercargill and some wetlands
Trip Start Jan 25, 2008
48Trip End Nov 16, 2008
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when we'd had our fill of sea life and seascapes, we got back in the car and looked at our watches; it was getting late and the sun was going down. we were at the far end of The Catlins and it would be almost a four hour drive home if we were to leave from there. but then again, Invercargill was only about 20 minutes away... we were so close. none of us had to be at work until at least 2 the next day, and we did have the car until 11:30am the following morning.... we all looked at each other and said, "let's do it!" so off we went, heading west towards the sinking sun.
we were hoping to find a spot near the water on the way to town where we could watch the sun set on the ocean, so when we passed a sign for some wetlands we thought we'd take a chance and see where the road led us. of course like the rest of our trip, the "road" quickly became dirt and we drove through yet more farmland, sheep and cows. we followed the signs for these wetlands, and at every turn the sign seemed to say "just 5 km more"...."just 8 km more"....and yet we were driving further and further into what (seemed) like nowhere at all. the road got even worse. it narrowed down to one lane with potholes and these huge bushes on either side of the road, so that we couldn't see anything but straight in front of us. 15 minutes of driving and still we had seen no sign for these wetlands. the sun was about to set and it was turning the sky into a brilliant pallet of color, so we were desperate to pull over and take pictures of it. Ross decided to turn around (when we found a place large enough to let us!) and we backtracked three or four minutes to an opening in the bush we passed across from a cow pasture
we got into Invercargill just after dark and drove around trying to find a hostel for about a half hour... they couldn't find the road that the hostel was on and of course, they wouldn't stop for directions. we finally settled on another hostel, Tuatara Backpackers, named after the only native lizard to NZ. it was a bit too big and commercial for me, but convenient nonetheless as it was right on the main street. after we checked in and dropped our bags in our room we headed next door to the Speight's Pub for some dinner where I ordered a delicious steak and potato salad... sooo good. we headed back to the room for an early night for we had to get up early to return the car by 11:30am in Dunedin. as I closed my eyes and tried to block out the yelling in the hallway, I couldn't help but be thankful for such an incredible visit in an absolutely captivating place. I am so glad that I finally made it to The Catlins. I knew that it would be special, and that... it truly was.