We set off from Fortrose- the beginning of the Catlins Coast and first stopped at Waipapa Point, where there was a lighthouse and a sea-lion colony. We weren't expecting to see anything but as we were walking along the path there was a massive sea-lion laid down asleep on the grass. It was huge! We had read that they can chase you and bite and not to get too close so we didn't stand around for too long! The next stop was Slope Point, the southern most point in NZ South Island. There wasn't much there but we could see Bluff and we have now officially travelled from the most northern point of North Island to the most southern point of South Island. Pretty cool! Porpoise and Curio Bay were next where we walked across the petrified forest, fossilised subtropical forest stumps and trunks that date back around 160 million years ago to the Jurassic Age! Pretty crazy! At Curio Bay we then saw Hectors dolphins swimming around, but no flips or jumps from them. Still great though! We didn't get to see the rare yellow eyed penguins though!
Next on the stop list was McLean Falls, which were lovely! We stopped for lunch at Florence Hill Lookout which was a beautiful view of the coastline and Tahakopa Bay. The final stop on Catlins Coast was Nugget Point where there was a lighthouse and jagged rocky islets resembling gold nuggets. The area also has a large seal colony and we thought we saw one, but weren't 100% sure. We weren't lucky enough to see the yellow eyed penguins here either but it was a lovely spot for the end of Catlins, which has been beautiful!
From Kaka Point, the end of Catlins in the north, we headed the 90km to near Dunedin to stay for the night. We had to stop again for cattle moving along the road. The cows literally were just waking down the middle of the road and then walked around the van whilst we slowly passed! Crazy New Zealand! We stayed the night in a little village just outside of Dunedin centre at the car park of Ocean View Recreation Reserve. It was literally just a car park with toilets and a dump station that had designated spots for self contained and non self contained vehicles. Security came round around 8pm to take down peoples number plates to make sure they weren't staying more than one night and to make sure you were parked in the right place. The nice thing was that a very lovely white sandy beach was a minutes walk from the car park.
On the 9th when we got up when the sun was just rising over the sea and we had a walk down which was so nice! A very red sky! We had to move on by 8am so we were off nice and early and on our way to Dunedin centre. We headed straight for the local swimming pool and spent the morning there doing some lengths and enjoying the jacuzzi they had before showering and getting my hair dried and straightened. I'm used to thinking people might look at me funny now for straightening my hair in the changing rooms! We spent the rest of the day in Dunedin having a walk around the town, going to see the Taeri Gorge Railway, the Settlers Museum and having some lunch. There were graduations on whilst we were there and the city shut the main road off through the centre and the graduates paraded down the street with a band with bagpipes and drums leading them. Dunedin is known for its Scottish heritage and was a predominately British place when people originally settled in the city. It is known in NZ as the Edinburgh of the south and it has all old British architecture and buildings and the first church of Otago, as well as NZ's only castle. It felt like walking through a city at home and we fit right in with the locals- not one bit out of place with all the British! It was a nice place though and we had a nice day exploring there.
After a full day in the city, on the way out to head up north, we stopped at 'the worlds steepest street' that people live on. It was crazy steep with no cars parked on it as they would have rolled down! We didn't even attempt to get up it as we saw didn't think we would make it! We then headed off to our campsite for the night further up north about an hour away.