17 November - Got on Bottom bus/Kiwi experience and left Dunedin. Went to the Catlins which is a huge area covering the southern part of the south island. First we went to a place called Nugget Point, so called because Captain Cook though the rocks looked like golden nuggets - I couldn't see it myself. There was also a seal colony there. Then went to Cannibal Bay which was a lovely golden beach. There were also two sea-lions just lying in the middle of the beach. One was really big and fat and was a black colour - he just lay there and only moved to occassionally yawn. The other one was smaller and lighter brown in colour - he was using the big one as a pillow. Then we had a short walk around Purakaunui Falls - they were in a lovely forest - it was a really nice area, I wish I could have stayed longer, but I had to get back on the bus. It was also raining (for a change!! - NZ gets more rain than England!). One of the best stops was the next one which was Curio Bay. On the beach was a petrified forest - the remains of fosilized trees which dated back 180 million years to the Jurassic Period. They just looked like rocks from a distance, but when you got close you could tell they used to be trees. There were also a couple of yellow eyed penguins on the beach which I didn't see at first; we were careful to keep our distance as there was a sign warning that the penguins were easily stressed. We went back to the viewing platform and watched a penguin make his way from the sea across the beach to his nest in the bush. A little way from Curio Bay was Porpoise Bay where you can sometimes see Hector Dolphins which are very rare - but there weren't any about. Then we headed to the southern most point of the NZ mainland and one of the closest places you can get to Antartica without actually being there. It was really raining hard, and it was a 20 min walk there and back, but we all got out (except 2 wuss girls) and practically ran through the sheep infested fields to the southern most point. There was a little white building there and also a sign - pointing to the equator one way and the south pole the other. Had my photo taken, then legged it back. It was so cold, you could tell you were close to Antartica - the wind was coming straight from there and the rain felt like little ice needles hitting my face. I was drenched and freezing when I got back on the bus, but then so was everyone else. The next stop was Invercargill where we dropped off the people heading out to Stewart Island, then about an hour later we reached Riverton which is where we were staying the night. The hostel was called Globe backpackers and it was quite nice. I managed to get put into a room with a girl called Phillipa who wasn't on the bus, so I got the best deal - a quite room with only one person. Went for a walk round Riverton - there really isn't much there. There were a few fishing boats, and I walked up to the top of a nearby hill, but it was getting dark (and it was a little spooky) and it started to rain so I just went back to the hostel and read my book.