Hurrah, Christmas out of the way for another year. I had a really nice one. Christmas eve mooched round Dunedin during the day.
In the evening had really good penguin encounter. Saw loads of them, lots of cute fluffy chicks too and was able to get up close.
Got up late ish to a beautiful sunny Christmas morning and had a leisurely Christmas brekky.
Then went for a fantastic 3 hour walk around Okai Reserve and
Victory Beach. Beach was amazing. Blue, blue sea, sparkling white sand and grassy dunes. Sat on a bit of driftwood for a long while taking it all in while keeping half an eye out for sea lions. Didn’t see any but was slightly nervous about being ambushed from the dunes as this was their manor.
Afterwards, another cruisy drive around the inlets of Otago Peninsular then the forecast bad weather started heading in so went back to base and crimbo dinner preparations.
Next day long but lovely drive down the Caitlins Coast to Invercargill where I was overnighting (only reason to stop there really – sorry Invercargillites).
En route stopped at the beautiful Nugget Point, walked up to the lighthouse and returned to van to find I’d left me lights on and now had a flat battery. Fortunately 3 huge guys pulled up in a 4 x 4 and gave me a tow and got me started again (hopefully won’t be making that mistake again!).
On to the wildlife viewing hide at Roaring Bay close by and some more yellow eyed penguin action. For one of the world’s rarest penguins there seem to be a lot of them about…
After penguin fix went on to the gorgeous Surat Bay (another sea lion hangout). Ran into Catherine and Mike and their two kids Ella and Ollie who I first met in Moeraki. Had a good old chin wag – really nice friendly family (originally from Herne Hill but in NZ for the last 7 years and loving it). Discovered my sea lion paranoia was completely justified as Mike told the tale of how he rescued poor wee Ollie from a lunging startled sea lion on the beach at Surat Bay. I was quite pleased not to have come across any…
Forward onward to Matai Falls where I ran into an elderly couple originally from Norfolk but in NZ for the last 38 years – still hadn’t lost their Norfolk accents though.
Cruised on down to Curio Bay through beautiful forest. There’s a petrified forest in the bay. Unfortunately my timing was a bit off and the tide was in so I didn’t get to see it in all its glory. Did see a few old tree stumps embedded in the rocks though, and at last, a sea lion basking on the rocks at a safe distance.
Long straight road to Invercargill so was able to put my foot down whilst observing the mostly flat landscape. Popped into the supermarket to stock up on beer only to find that some Invercargill bye law prohibits supermarkets from selling alcohol. Fortunately I was just in time to catch the liquor store on the edge of town just before it closed.
Up early this morning for the stunning drive to Te Anau.
Stopped off at Manapouri and did a little walk along the shores of the lake then arrived in Te Anau just in time for the downpour.
So grey and wet but all the better for waterfalls on Milford Sound cruise which I’m planning for tomorrow.