Exploring the Catlins – New Zealanders playing as tourists – part 2

Prior to this five day trip down the length of the coastline south of Dunedin known as the Catlins, my knowledge was limited to widely spaced out experiences such as an outdoor first aid course at the largest town Osaka, a school trip to a camp at Pounawea, a marvellous tramping and bushcraft training trip onto and along the Wapati Beach [at the end of which lurks the huge Cathedral caves, and we’d not had time to get to them], and much more recently assisting with road surveying at the southern end of the area in the vicinity of Curio Bay.

Well you may think that all the above words summarise “the Catlins”, but no, in-between is a wealth of interesting areas steeped in a history rich in seafaring endeavours, waterfalls, caves, timber milling and farming. Now days tourism especially in the summer “season” is a big thing though.

This “fill in the gaps”, scoping the flora and fauna trip for me bought up a lot of feelings I found fascinating. Maybe there is little outright poverty in this area that hosts something like a hundred or two rainy days a year, but under the hood of the vibrant summer tourism season, just getting underway there was evidence of a hand-to-mouth existence not easily found where I live in Wanaka.

As the trip unfolded it was great to see few tourism operations that exhibited  a shallowness, and come across museums, cafes etc. and people that were real, what I call, Kiwi’ana.

The Cathedral Caves Walk is across Maori [Kāi Tahu descent] freehold land and is managed by a trust that charges is a small fee for the use of the car park and access to the bush track, beach and caves, during low tide only, in-between late October [spring tides may delay the opening a few weeks] and May..

Cathedral Caves Walk, Catlins, NZ

Cathedral Caves Walk, Catlins, NZ
Cathedral Caves are located in cliffs at the northern end of the Waipati Beach. Two sea-formed passages together measure just on 200 metres, with a height measuring up to 30 metres! Access is by a 1km walking track that descends through podocarp and kamahi coastal forest of the Waipati Beach Scenic Reserve. Upon reaching the beach, it’s a 10 minute walk to the Caves.

Cathedral Caves Walk, Catlins, NZ

The walk to the caves was really enjoyable, but all too soon it was time drive further south…

Stinkhorn, and flies attracted the rotten meat smell emitted from this plallus shaped fungi…
Stinkhorn fungi and flies, Catlins, Otago, NZ

Maybe not good to meet if you’re in bare feet enjoying the beach…
Crab, Catlins, Otago, NZ

I’ve never seen a spoonbill feed before and was rather amazed to observe them swinging their upper body through 180 degree while their beak is in the water – presumably it sort of sifts what passes through, or over the tongue…
Spoonbill feeding, Catlins, Otago, NZ

Red bill gulls resting…
Red bill gulls, Catlins, Otago, NZ

On the Mclean Falls track...
Podocarp Bush, Catlins, Otago, NZ

Mclean Falls…
Mcleans waterfall, Catlins, Otago, NZ

Mclean Falls again…
Mcleans waterfall, Catlins, Otago, NZ

One more article [#3 of 3] to come about this region – the images are prepared and I hope to write up 300 words + in the next week.

Read Part 1 here >>

Summary

Article Name
Exploring the Catlins in South East Otago
Description
New Zealanders playing as tourists, checking out the popular places to visit in the Catlins.
Author
Publisher Name
Southern Light

Leave a Reply