Exploring the Catlins – New Zealanders playing as tourists – part 1

Catlins Estuary sunset

While composing the first of three posts [too many photos for one] on this southern Otago coast-line what comes to mind is shipwrecks! This, because of spending an hour or two in the museum at Owaka, and if I recall correctly there have been dozens of them [an on-line search will easily bring up the major 20 or so].

Maybe this emphasis on shipwrecks has been a marketing ploy to increase a sense of romantic associations with drama and the sea, but I note “The Catlins” were named after the whaler Captain Edward Cattlin, and that the region supported four whaling stations at one time.
Cattlin apparently purchased some land from chief Hone Tuhawaiki of the Māori Ngāi Tahu in 1840. The sale however was not endorsed by the relevant government agency/inquiry into the validity of claims land purchased by settlers from the Māori prior to 1840.
The main town relatively close to Dunedin is Owaka, which in Māori means “place of canoes”.

Never a truer word spoken – OK well, written on the well trodden path to the famous Nugget Point / Ka Tokata Lighthouse…
Catlins coastline interp board

It’s hard to get just one lone tourist, but if patient…
Nugget Point Lighthouse

Some of the rocks that are the bane of seafarers..
Nugget Point, Catlins

No place to be in the water! A gull, one of three species all endangered in NZ, makes play of the strong southerly pushing up the sea…
Nugget Point rocks and surf with a gull

Dusk and mist settle on the Catlins River estuary…
Catlins Estuary

Podocarp forest wind ravaged…
Catlins Estuary trees flagging

Sunset with sea mist…
Catlins Estuary sunset

Tides out..
Catlins Estuary sand patterns

I’ve never seen tui feeding on what lives on the seashore. It’s also one of the thinnest tui I’ve ever seen. Not sure if there is a lesson in this…
Catlins Estuary tui feeding

Wherever you wander in this area it’s wise to keep your eyes open, and when two lovers are spotted give them a wide birth of 20 meters or more. One of them is probably in pup, and at some point she’ll leave this bohemian setting and head inland into the podocarp forest to hide from the males – yes they can move surprisingly rapidly, and while there I saw one make quick work of scaling a vertical meter high bank…
Catlins Estuary sea lions

Purakaunui Falls – likes millions before us, they have to be seen. Personally they were much smaller than I was expecting…
Catlins waterfall

One more article to come about this region – the images are prepared and I hope to write up 300 words + in the next week.

See Part 2 here >>