Heading South – Our Two Bucketlist Items

The Catlins, situated on the southeastern coast of the South Island, is a place we have never visited. This visit we set out to rectify that; we’re are so glad we did.

Firstly, we had to do a little research.

No, absolutely firstly, we had to check out Baldwin Street. Climbing from 30 to100 metres above sea level, at it’s steepest stretch the gradiant is 1:2.86 or for every 2.86 metres (9.4 ft) you cover horizontally the elevation changes by a metre (3.3 feet). No, we didn’t walk it…remember, we had places to go (and did we mention our calves and hamstrings of yesterday?).

Dunners folk are a hardy breed!

Now, the research: Apparently, The Catlins (named after the Sydney based whaling captain, Edward Cattlin – don’t know why they dropped one of the t’s), which straddles the Otago and Southland provincial divide between Balclutha and Invercargill, has been someone’s home since the 1300s despite, or maybe because of, it’s rugged coastline, massive surf, tendency to drizzly weather, and remoteness. The local Maori tribes would set up hunting camps at the river mouths, drawn by the birds (especially the now-extinct moa), kai moana (seafood) and seals all-the-while avoiding the Maeroero, a huge, hairy monster that lived in the valleys. It was the sea life, notably whales and seals, that initially drew European settlers to the area as well, but by the mid 1800s the place was all about the timber growing there. Nowadays, it’s known for ecotourism, fishing and farming and, although the population isn’t huge (apparently about 1.5 people per kilometre), friendly folk.

We can’t for a moment pretend we did anything close to justice in our flying visit. After much debate, we chose Nugget Point/Tokata as our destination; it provided a bit of a leg stretch, a lighthouse (one of the oldest in New Zealand), and is one of the few places in the world sea lions, seals and elephant seals all call home. The day was gorgeous

The seals – or were they sea lions – or maybe a mix of both (opinion was divided) were easy to spot

and any day including a lighthouse is a good day in my book.

We then drove to Owaka, which was full of the coolest people so incredibly proud of their piece of the planet, enjoyed a burger lunch we will remember for a very long time, and visited an awesome shop which provided some wardrobe items for another Homestead adventure later in the year (right now, our lips are sealed).

Unfortunately, our designated photographer was very tired so slept throughout the trip and the rest of us were too busy gawping to click a shutter, but take it from me, The Catlins is a gorgeous slice of paradise…especially on a day when the sun’s shining.

The following day, the sun chose not to shine but we battled on regardless. After a very nice eggs bene breakfast, we zipped our jackets and headed for the University. Grabbing a self-guided tour booklet, we rambled around New Zealand’s oldest university

and watched Farm Girl dream big dreams.

8 thoughts on “Heading South – Our Two Bucketlist Items

  1. Yay, Farm Girl! Dream big. That area of New Zealand sounds so beautiful, and I enjoyed hearing its history. I don’t know that much about New Zealand. Except it’s long been a place I would love to visit, and your description makes me want to visit even more.

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