Monday, April 21, 2014

The Catlins!

For the final post from our Residency Friends' Visit, I present our day trip to The Catlins. This is the place I went and camped for my birthday weekend back in November. Its got a lot of scenic wonders in a pretty compact space. This trip skipped some of the highlights from my first trip, but added some spots I missed my first time through, so it was good to get another look at this unique strip of coastline.

Just a quick pic out the window... 

First stop: Slope Point. The southernmost point on the South Island.
You have to march to the point through a private paddock full of sheep.

The sheep don't mind. I always imagine that the sheep that live on the coast are the hardiest sheep because the wind that comes off of that ocean is bitterly cold. So these sheep are the baaaaadest of the baaaaaad.  I'm sorry. I couldn't resist.

That bitter wind (and two-hour car ride) went straight to my bladder. Little did I know there was such a pervert amongst us!  He SWEARS he was taking a picture of those plants up there... We searched the camera - he was clean. But this picture was hilarious.

This is the Southermost Seal in New Zealand at that moment.

Next stop: Pourakaunui Falls. Not a bad waterfall, huh?

After the falls, we decided we weren't in any hurry, so a series of acrobatic feats was achieved:
I can't even describe how fast this happened. Cathy just did a Xena Warrior Princess scream and was choking that tree out in a matter of milliseconds.
Then Dan took an elevator up the inside of this tree.
Nate got stuck in the elevator...
We almost convinced a German tourist girl to climb up in there. We also almost left one person in there to jump out and scare people that walked by while we recorded it on video... but we had more important things to do:

Like have a balance beam competition.
And take about 200 jumping pictures until we were satisfied with the result.

Along the way to the next point of interest, Nate got to fulfill a New Zealand Goal of chasing down a sheep. This one was out on the road. We stopped, and Nate just ran straight up behind it and grabbed it. It didn't even try to run. After a full inspection, the sheep bit his fingers, and we all laughed.

I think Curio Bay was the next stop. This is one of the handful of places in NZ where Hector's Dolphins live. These are the smallest dolphin species and are quite rare. Dan swam with these on our Humpridge Track in another small Bay on the Southwest coast. Nate took the opportunity to have that experience on this frigid day. 
He got pretty close!

Others opted to just test the waters a little bit:

And others, like me, opted to huddle on the beach to try to stay warm...

I guess the adrenaline rush of the dolphin encounter was enough to prevent hypothermia.

 Once everyone was all dried off, we went over to the petrified forest area, which was actually quite disappointing to be honest. BUT, Cathy snapped a pic of these little fellows before being chased off by a park ranger:

Somewhere along the way, we snapped this picture of the Huhns. Too good to not share.

Final Catlins attraction for the day was one of the crown jewels of the region: the Nuggets

Prepare for a mind trip... See that pointy nugget in the middle/left? It was covered in seals!!!!!!!
How do they get up there????? That thing is pretty tall, and pretty steep! We were shocked.

Group Shot

Now just those lovely ladies.
Now just that lovely lighthouse.
Now just those Lovely Whitings.

This is actually one of my favorite spots at The Nuggets. 

And check it out as the sun sets... Just beautiful.

Cathy and I tried to hide and scare Dan when he walked by. It didn't really work.

This picture was just funny. I look like I'm up to no good.

Right next door to the Nuggets is a little slice of heaven called Roaring Bay, a penguin-viewing beach. It is here you can see the rare yellow-eyed penguin and the even more rare Zombie Penguin: 
How lucky are we??? Both rare penguins in ONE picture!!!!!! This is National Geographic material.

 Hungry after all of our exploring, we luckily caught the Chinese takeaway shop in Balclutha right before it closed. We had to eat on the sidewalk, but we didn't care. It was the only thing open, and we chowed down. 

It was so great to have all of these guys come visit. We had an amazing trip with non-stop adventures and fun. Can't wait til next time, guys!

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