Exploring the Catlins – New Zealanders playing as tourists — part 3

This is the last of three series of a roadie trip down what is known as the Catlins, in Coastal Otago

catlins, oyster catchers
Part of large gathering of oyster catchers at Papatowai
catlins, kiwiana caravan
Classic kiwana at the car park to Jacks Blow hole
catlins, sea lion
Sea lions enjoying the sun
catlins, sea lion
catlins, wood pigeon
catlins, sea lion
Sea lion feeding at Waipapa
catlins, black oyster catchers
The black oystercatcher is quite conspicuous
waipapa lighthouse in the catlins
Waipapa point and lighthouse
catlins windswept trees at slope point
So typical of the wildness of coastal Southland
fortrose southland
View from Fortrose
waituna wetlands
The awesome Waituna lagoon – one the largest in New Zealand, and refuge to countless biodiversity
flax flowers at waituna lagoon
Flax flowers at Waituna
waituna lagoon
More kiwana at Waituna lagoon

Read Part 1 here >>

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 >>

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

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 >>