New Zealand 2016 – The Catlins

Deforestation…because of greediness…seems like everything bad in the world is because of greediness. Maybe lots of  good also  – the civilization wouldn’t have developed if it wasn’t for greediness…And we wouldn’t have managed come so far to see all the wonders of New Zealand nature! The remnants of old, like Jurassic era forests are here, in the Catlins! They are sacred to Maori and some white people, me including. Catlins are the South West part of the South island. Once the white man settled new Zealand, he saw those magnificent tall trees of different varieties and cut them, sent them to his old country…then he brought sheep which graze on all the slopes of the hills and here we have – civilization.

The first turn once we entered The Catlins was towards Kaka Point…What a name, what an address to have :-). It is a nice little town by the ocean, with very beautiful  shores, leading to a lighthouse on the Nugget Point:DSCN5446 DSCN5450 You don’t need to climb that hill or rock. you drive there, but then you walk close to 1 km on a kind of dangerous path – the drop of the slope there  is almost vertical, the very end of the trail reminded me of Angel’s Landing trail in Zion :-), so I didn’t do it, Andrei did. So I wanted to take his picture while he was going down from the lighthouse – and here is who I got :-):DSCN5457 DSCN5460I love paths..they have a promise, a hope and a mystery:DSCN5477This is a Roaring Bay – Yellow Eyed penguins live there, but from our experience and from what we read – it is very tricky to happen to see them…instead – I was admiring the color of the sea! Once the sun is out -the ocean is fantastic!:DSCN5483 DSCN5485Owaka is a little bigger town on the way. The peculiar thing we noticed there was a Teapotland:DSCN5491 DSCN5492 DSCN5494

Then we drove through the Catlins Coastal rain-forest park. it doesn’t mean that the fores was all over –  only a patch here and there:DSCN5503 DSCN5515 DSCN5517The forests are such that without a path you could not enter it. But there are pats, especially to waterfalls, and a lake, all have little labels by trees- telling the name of the tree species! here is Purakaunui Falls – a very sacred place!:DSCN5528Some trees are hollow inside, but still growing up, still alive!DSCN5534A bridge to Papatowai:DSCN5538The most important place in Papatowai – Lost Gypsy Gallery and cafe  – featuring Steampunk art –  it was closed on Wednesday, ech…But there was a phone on the path telling us about the rules and all :-):DSCN5545 DSCN5540Their mail box:DSCN5555There was a beautiful lookout on the way:DSCN5557 DSCN5561Walked to this beach through the forest, some trees  have this peculiar bark:DSCN5562Entrance to the beach:DSCN5570 DSCN5577A swamp with a boardwalk:DSCN5589DSCN5591And the clouds gathered to a very pouring rain, but we still managed to shoot  those figurines on a lake:DSCN5596That was the end of the day. We reached lazy Dolphin Lodge  in Curio Bay- right on the sea shore and settled down happy to have a roof  in his rain. But the next morning was sunny and bright -and the dolphins were playing in the Porpoise Bay  -so here is how our Lodge looks like from the ocean and from the street:DSCN5597 DSCN5645It is a very good place to stay – big rooms with sea views, comfy beds and 2 kitchens, two spacious living rooms! Here are some views of Curio Bay, where people come to swim with dolphins for free (as Austrian guys told me they did :-)), and also to watch shags and yellow eyed penguins:DSCN5599This down here is petrified forest – when the tide is down you can see tree trunks in those rocks:DSCN5602DSCN5629 DSCN5604 DSCN5614 DSCN5617 DSCN5619 DSCN5624Those “falls” are called Niagara :-). With humor. I wouldn’t call them “falls”, but the land surveyor did:
DSCN5649The skies were again starting to get cloudy so we drove back 30 km to McLean Falls, which we didn’t manage to see yesterday. The walk was through the exotic forest and the falls were striking, too:DSCN5656 DSCN5659 DSCN5660 DSCN5663 DSCN5666Those are clumps of moss on tree stumps:DSCN5676DSCN5681 DSCN5689 DSCN5694Here it is not moss, those are tree tops so well nit together by the shore:DSCN5701 DSCN5705 DSCN5708 DSCN5715 DSCN5725And – lots of sheep everywhere-typical!

the last evening in Curio bay we were lucky-we saw even 5 penguins, not the tiny ones,  but bigger ones-  Yellow eyed, not from close by and not in very daylight. but in twilight. So here are some pics we tried to make:_DSC6525_crop _DSC6530_crop _DSC6536_cropThey were very cute, we watched for an hour or more 🙂