Thursday, April 2, 2015

Curio Bay, Pounawea to Otago Peninsula

8th March 2015
The view from our campsite at Curio Bay in the Catlins
From our most southerly NZ exploration (The Bluff), we travelled NE through the less frequented, wild and appealing Catlins, up towards Dunedin.

Our rustic "facilities"
We camped at the unusual Curio Bay campsite, where one is sheltered within a maze of Flax bushes. Curio Bay is home to the Hector Dolphins, a species unique to the East coast of the South Island, with an unusual shaped dorsal fin. Sadly, they weren’t at home for us!!

The back of our campsite looked over the Petrified Forest, which are exposed at low water. 

The rare Yellow eyed penguins also nest on this beach, and we saw a couple in the distance, and watched the return of a single fellow at dusk. The closest we came to one, apart  from the poster, was one moulting, looking a trifle worse for wear, and not his handsome best!

Our route took us past the Tautuku beach, and the McClean falls, and on to the Pounawea Motor camp, where we treated ourselves to a cabin on the edge of the estuary, given the heavy rain forecast!

We enjoyed the luxury of our tent free stay, and were quickly on the road the next morning, only to experience a unique NZ traffic jam!!!

We drove through the unappealing southern suburbs of Dunedin, and on to the Otago Peninsula, where we stayed at the Portobello campsite. One look at the dormitory style accommodation, and we elected to pitch the tent, despite the heavy rain predicted! Here we really did learn to respect the waterproof quality of our tent, as well as how to use all the pegs and guy ropes to keep it in one place in gusty squalls!!
In search of a TV to watch the RSA vs India ICC match, we headed down to the local pub, only to find a Regional Blues Festival in progress. This group of geriatric hippies were not the slightest bit interested in the cricket, and after seeing how the match was going, we too abandoned the effort!

Fush and chups for supper
The Royal Albatross Observatory, perched on the end of the Peninsula, offers one the chance to see some chicks and nests through windows and hides…. for a fee. We watched the magestic birds soaring around the cliffs in the wind, and decided that the extra R500 would not have made a world of difference to our lives!

The Royal Albatross Centre, Otago Peninsula
Instead we explored Allan’s beach, where we nearly tripped over Sea Lions on the path, and slogged our way up and down to Sandfly Beach, in an icy gale, in search of a better sighting of Yellow eyed Penguins. All to no avail, except our own good cardio vascular exercise!

Seals on the path to Allans Beach
Letting it all hang out!!
The Sandfly Beach slog

Yellow eyed penguin that we were hoping to see

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