Sunday, 5 August 2012

New Zealand...Oamaru, Dunedin & The Catlins

We enjoyed our journey going across the inland areas. We opted to a route that ensures you can see some of the 'sights' and call into small quaint towns along the way. After spending a night camping besides a huge dam, sneaking in late at night and leaving at first light (not to pay!) we journeyed over to Oamaru. This was the next biggest town along the coast and this place I really liked. The town itself oozes character, its almost as though it is stuck in the Victorian Times. All the architecture of the town is very classical and colonial and lots of Victorian artifacts still remain. The people are so friendly all across the South Island and here even more so, the original plan was to push on and not stay here the night but that soon changed. After chatting to a local woman she mentioned we could park up and stay close to her house which looked out onto the sea. So, that night we spent the evening admiring the waves crashing in and parked ourselves near the edge of the cliff. As the evening approached we made our way to the lookout point close to the beach, it was here that we where able to full enjoy the experience of watching the penguins return home. They spend all day at sea catching fish swimming around and as dusk approaching after a hard day at work then come home and make there way back to land. The yellow eyed penguins where lovely, so cute and small. We watched how they swam back ashore, hopped out of the water, shook themselves down then gradually wandered back to home for the night, really fascinating. New Zealand does a lot with conservation and I admire how much is given to protect the natural landscapes and the animals that inhabit the lands.

After our morning porridge and honey, we head along the coast. We always make time to stop whenever we want and take in the beauty. That is the best thing with a campervan we have the freedom and opportunity to go wherever we want. As we approached Dunedin the hills and roads began to roll, this is one steep place. The city is big and you notice the roads becoming busier as you approach. As it is such a built up area, our choices to stay and camp for free where limited so we headed to the Coast and paid for a holiday park campsite. That was just in time for our weekly shower and washing of clothes, much needed by this time. Life on the road can generate smelly people and I'm not ashamed to say I was one of them! Dunedin is a nice city, you sense the big Scottish influence here and like any city has lots going on. We opted to do something we normally wouldn't do and that was go on a tour. The tour we chose to do was to 'Cadbury's World', it was like heaven to me! To learn how chocolate is made and along the tour have constant free chocolate, I must admit I may have influenced and swayed John into doing this tour. After cruising the city for the day, we felt ready to leave and head towards a place not many people venture to. This place is where a lot of tourists bypass and for us it was one of the most beautiful places of the South Island. 

As we journeyed along, we arrived into the region known as 'The Catlins'. This is an area where not many people live and the outdoor landscape is untouched and natural. Along your journey you see so many cows and sheep, but this place is full of animal life. The green is what strikes you first, the outdoor fresh air is pure and the cold and I mean really cold wind bites you. The further south we headed the colder it became, but we loved it. After not feeling the cold for so long this was something different for us. We cruised along the campsites, enjoying the outdoors and not seeing many people at all the whole time we where here. One day, we reached a sight of interest it was the most 'Southerly Point' in the South Island, the weather on this day was treacherous. The wind was extreme and the gales blistered your skin, we headed to the edge and I felt a sense of danger, the waves where crashing over the rocks so heavily, it was a scary situation. That's the beauty of this place, so much natural elements graced instantly around you. After a couple days of cruising 'The Catlins' we headed across the Coast and began to make our way towards Te Anau. We had made plans to meet our friends Sam & Steve here and we where all to go to Milford Sound together. So, after filling up on a cup of tea, we hopped back in the campervan and cruised West...

Enjoying the mystical landscapes

Overlooking Oamaru in the rain

Observing the yellow eyes penguin return from a day at sea

Making the bed in our campervan

Visiting Dunedin's historic railway station

Making our morning cup of tea in the wilderness...we English do love our tea!

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