When I returned to Cuzzie in the early hours of this morning the support crew dared to ask me, "What is it like outside?" My answer was, "it is blowing hard." There was a small sign of relief from Jase as our location at the campsite was rather sheltered and it seemed calm to him, but it was not at all. Calmness remained in Cuzzie as I settled down to plan my lay day, we were off to see the Catlins sights as tourists. The plan was as follows:
Jacks Bay Blowhole
Matai Falls, Horseshoe Falls & Rail trail walk
Lighthouse at Nugget Point
Owaka to see the wood fired pizza outdoor rustic restaurant (open only 4 weeks)
A dip in the ocean and some sunning on the rocks.
We did stuff around the campsite first, got some washing out on the line to be blown dry in this wind and sunshine, made some calls and generally get sorted for our days outings. Then we were off, Cuzzie racing along the dusty roads with numerous other camper vans. Jacks Beach and the blowhole were a nice, short trek across some farm and bush. The walk and the outlook were amazing, the colour's; browns, greens and the blue ocean are such stunning contrasts, really impressive. The blowhole was rather awesome, the tunnel from the ocean is 200 meters from the sea to the opening, the blowhole is 50m deep and from the viewing platform way up high was a cool sight to see. I imagined trying to paddle into it on a calm day, (do not panic people I only thought it, it will not be on my to do list on this trip) pics were taken and then we headed back to the beach where we sat outside Cuzzie and had lunch, watched the ocean and enjoyed the sunshine and the warmth of the day, tucked away from the wind.
On the way we stopped to grab some fresh veges from the roadside stall for our supplies and our fellow kayakers back at the campsite. I love getting produce like this and made the most of what was on offer.
Then on to the Falls. We arrived, packed our gear and togs. Maybe we would go for a swim in the fresh waterfall. We walked and talked about the bush and the amazing sights, the bird song and just the beauty of our surroundings. When we got to the falls I did have to paddle in and stand next to the water, but no swimming today, just lots of wading. We then climbed back onto the path and power walked back to the van, off towards the lighthouse and Nugget point.
As we passed through the town of Owaka, we stopped for a coffee and a look at the outdoor pizza oven and cafe that was there. What a really cool and rustic place. The coffee was great and owners were really fun, cool people, we wished them the best of luck.
The lighthouse and the walk out to the end of Nugget Point are beautiful. This is like looking out at two opposite worlds, on one side it was calm and the steep cliffs were keeping the winds away, we watched seals in the rocks swimming and sunbathing. But on the other side the sea was covered in whitecaps and swell and craziness from the winds. Polar opposites, it was very sunny and lots of fun on the cliffs and the Nugget Point lookout. The lighthouse, as always was pretty magical. It seemedt o me a shame that there is a fence around the entire lighthouse, we could not get up close and take great pictures. As the building is on some rather steep rock formations it is truly far safer to stop than have any access at all. I found it interesting that up until 1989 this lighthouse still had a resident lighthouse keeper living onsite, but none now, what a shame. I would have liked to live in this light house.
Back down the hill to a fav little bay we have found for a refreshing swim and a hunt in the rocks and kelp for Paua. We are both always hopeful to find some, but not today. We were also a little soft and the water was a tad chilly today with the wind blowing so we tucked into a cove on some warm rocks to dry out and warm up. I smiled at a large seal that was sunning himself out on a rock we had just been clambering over, we had not even noticed him.
Today had raced along and what an awesome day we have had. Catlins you have rocked! I was ignorant on how gorgeous and unspoilt the Catlins are and it is a true NZ gem. Can I come back and live? I am not really sure what I would do, but I am loving the place. Loving the feel and just loving the remoteness of the coastline. There are rather a lot of camper vans and other tourists but there are still places to go and be on your own, on remote beaches or in the bush on walking tracks.
Back at camp we cooked an amazing dinner, chicken drumsticks, baby chargrilled carrots, potato hash and broccoli accompanied with cups of sweet hot tea. We are now all tucked up in Cuzzie away from the wind and the chill.
The scenery, the warmth of this place, the absolutely gob smacking beauty of this coastline. NZ you do have some very special places, I am so privileged to be able to see and experience them, so my day has been full of smiles.
My thoughts today: One bad day seems to move into a really good day, I have been blessed with today. Today on my walk up to Nugget Point Lighthouse I located this very special plaque. It says it all. "He wahi taoka" a special place.