Thursday, 1 March 2012

Dunedin to Invercargill

We were out early the next morning as we prepared to drive to Invercargill via the Catlins, New Zealand’s premier scenic route along the south coast. But before we left Dunedin we had to visit Baldwin Street. Recognised by Guinness as the world’s steepest street it really was ridiculous.

The Catlins is a 172 km tour from Balclutha to Invercargill, full of waterfalls, forests and great beaches. It is also home to some of the slowest, twistiest roads (the ones that were tarmac’d at  least) that can be found in the South Island.
We started our tour at Kaka Point – ‘home to the best beach in Clutha Country’ the brochure said. What it didn’t say was that 300 school kids would also be there taking part in a mass surfing / boogie boarding day! So we carried on to Nugget Point – only 8kms away. Uphill. On a dirt track! But we made it and were rewarded with a great walk out onto the headland passed the lighthouse built in 1869, to views of the ‘nuggets’

Next on the list of highlights was Jack’s Blowhole.  Another 20km on a gravel road brought us to Jack’s Bay, but only when we got here did they tell you that his blowhole was a further 60 mins on foot, and we just didn't have the time.

Purakaunui Falls, only 15km off the main road this time, was a short walk from the car park. A short walk that was made much longer as we were held up by some large American ladies who were struggling with the flat path without their mobility scooters. But the falls were quite impressive at the end so it was worth it!

Our final stop in the Catlins was the lookout just above Spouting Cave. We were going to walk down until we saw how far it was and the wind was blowing a gale!

Invercargill.The most southerly point on our tour. It has a nice water tower built in 1888, an interesting park and aviary, and the world’s oldest Tuatara, Henry, in the world’s only public, free Tuatarium. He’s 110 years old.

It also has a nice beach just down the road in Oreti. And winds that blow all the way from the Antarctic!

We were soon on our way to Te Anau, gateway to Fiordland!

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