Tuesday, December 3, 2013

The Catlins Birthday Adventure

For my 30th  Birthday, I took off for the weekend to an area called The Catlins to go camping and just kick back and relax while taking in some amazing scenery. The Catlins definitely didn't disappoint. I shot over there after work on Thursday so I could be there on my b-day (Friday) all day. My weather was absolutely perfect that day, and the sights around there were all impressive. It is rare to find a place with so many diverse points of interest within such a small area. There were beaches, waterfalls, caves, lakes, blowholes, beautiful valleys, and trails for days. So obviously, I loved it. I think you'll like it a lot too. Here are a ton of pics from the adventure. Check it out:

Started with a waterfall hike.

then I went over to Jack's Bay, where it was warm enough to take a little lunchtime nap on the beach after some hiking to the nearby attractions.

Also at Jack's Bay.

THIS IS 30!!!
this is Flax. It grows everywhere here, but this one happens to grow along the coast, which makes for a perfect background.

This is Jack's Blowhole.... make your own puns. this is a few hundred meters inland, and during high tide, the tidal current causes water to shoot up this ravine. The tube connecting this to the ocean was to the lower left branch down there. It was low tide while I was there, but still cool.

Amazing coastline. Even more amazing: there is a very rare breed of penquin out there on the rock island. Ever more amazing than that: someone saw it. Some avid bird-watchers were looking at it as I was hiking back away from the blowhole. 

and here's the penguin! a little blurry, but it was pretty far away...
Moving on to a different section of the coast: an awesome rocky mound on the coast from some high seacliffs.

The mound on the right is the same rock outcropping. I added this photo to show you that there were seals lying on the rocks to the left. don't believe me????

Ta Daaaaaa!!! He even posed for the picture.

This is the lighthouse at Nugget point. The seals were down off the trail to this lighthouse.

And these are the 'nuggets' the lighthouse is named after.

More pretty coastline. That is a kelp forest down there in the water.

My show seal in action again.
Just a couple minutes from The Nuggets is a trail down to Roaring Bay, where there is a Penguin Viewing Hut. The Yellow-eyed penguin is a rare penquin (the same kind in the other picure) that nests along the southern coast. since it is so rare, people aren't supposed to interfere with them coming ashore after going away to eat/hunt for a few days while the spouse penguin is sitting on their babies. the mom and dad trade places every 2-3 days. I was willing to give it 30 minutes. I had a lot of ground to cover that day!

In a birthday Miracle, it only took about 5 minutes for a yellow-eye to come model for me for a few minutes on the shore before waddling off to the nest.

I just liked this picture. I think these birds are called oyster catchers.

This is more rocky coastline. I don't remember the name of this bay. Something like captain's bay?

Connecting all of these awesome places are these incredibly scenic gravel roads.
Next up, Cathedral Caves. this place was amazing. It's hard to get it in pictures, but those are two entrances to a very very tall tunnel that goes maybe 100 yards back into those cliffs and the two meet in the back. You can only get to them at low tide. I planned ahead and wore my muck boots so I could get out in the water far enough to get a picture of the two entrances at once.
This is looking out of one of the entrances.
That was my last stop for the day on Friday. It ended up being an amazing Birthday. After this, I went back to my campsite, and was  informed that I was actually camping somewhere I wasn't supposed to be after some miscommunications the night before. Whoops! so I was directed to an actual campground. No big deal.

Saturday, I checked out a couple more waterfalls, but the weather wasn't so hot.

This was the lower of a pair of falls.

The upper fall.

So that concludes my Birthday retreat. I headed back towards Otautau by way of Invercargill where I stocked up on supplies and got all rested up for the 10K that I ran on that Sunday to celebrate Thirtydom. It went pretty well, and I ran faster than I expected. I am definitely not a professional runner,and I was very pleased with my time (and honestly just finishing). My novice status showed at one of the drink stations along the way when I actually stopped for 3 seconds to drink my powerade and tried to hand my empty cup back to the kid that gave it to me. Everyone there was like, "just chuck it on the ground". Then as I got started up again, I saw that everyone else had just grabbed their drink and threw their cup down about 20 yards later... oh well. Momma raised me with manners and concern for the environment. I still finished 36th out of 170... I'll take it. 


  1. oh my gosh cole! those are freaking amazing pictures. new zealand is definitely on my list of places to go. so glad you had a great birthday. wish i could have celebrated with you!!!

    1. Thanks Em! Wish you could have been here too! You'd love it here. You should spearhead the organization of a med school reunion at my place. I know there are some interested parties, such as Angela Yu, who is thinking of coming down in July.

  2. Replies
    1. thanks Dawg : ) It made the pain of hitting 30 a little more tolerable. I was like "well, if you're gonna turn 30, this is a good way to do it!'