We started today at Te Anau in the southwest and ended the day at Kaka Point in the North Catlins on the east coast. The day was overcast with low cloud hiding the mountains when we left fiordland so the splendour of the area was hidden from us. We chose to drive the Southern Scenic Road down through Invercargill and up along the coast through the Catlins. The road south was rolling green hills – pretty sheep pasture that would have looked much prettier in sunshine.
We stopped to take photos of historic Clifden Suspension bridge that was opened in 1899 replacing the punt that was used by sheep stations to cross the Clifden River, but is no longer in use. Then we drove through Tuatapere, the Sausage Capital of New Zealand. Then on to the scenic outlook at McCracken’s Rest, looking out over Te Waewae Bay in hope of seeing some Hector’s dolphins; no luck on that score.
Our next stop was to take photos of the giant surfer and of the surf at New Zealand’s surf capital, Colac Bay. Just wait until you see the surf photos! Riverton was our next viewpoint, to see what we had read are the ‘must see’ Riverton Rocks. I’m not sure why they are ‘must see’, I think that was half an hour wasted.
We had lunch at Invercargill and then took the coastal road through the South Catlins. We stopped at Waipapa Point and saw four sea lions lounging on the beach. From there we went to Slope Point, the southern-most point of the South Island. Our last stop before heading on to our Kaka Point was Curio Bay. We walked along the beach over a petrified forest from the Jurassic age and saw 2 endangered yellow-eyed penguins come ashore. We were quite close to them so hopefully got some good photos.
It was mid-afternoon by the time we got back into the car, and just starting to rain, so we decided not to stop off at any other tourist spots and drive straight to the B&B that we are booked into for two nights. Tomorrow we’ll explore some of those other spots.
There were more rugged mountains and beautiful rolling hills, but the rain was setting in by the time we arrived at Kaka Point. The B&B, Molyneux House, is very nice and almost on the beach – the road goes past the front of the house. The gardens are carefully planted, though to hide the road, so for the most part our suite looks right out over the Pacific Ocean. There’s just the one suite and it’s self-contained. It’s very nice, though I think I liked the room at Waiterere Beach more. It was a much quieter location and the décor was more to my liking.
The rain was quite steady but we decided to head out to nearby Roaring Bay where there’s a hide above the beach where yellow-eyed penguins come ashore. There was a sea lion on the beach when we arrived, but it moved back into the water and swam off as we made our way along the track to the hide. Then we watched from the hide as several penguins surfed the shore break and waddled up the beach and into the bush.
The rain has stopped now; hopefully tomorrow will be clear and dry.