2008 01 08 – Big Trip – Day 252 – New Zealand – The Catlins

Newhaven Holiday Park, Surat Bay, South Island, New Zealand 5825km

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On the way to Jack's Blowhole, The Catlins

A beautiful sunny day in the Catlins began with the knowledge that we won’t be driving too much today. After a hearty breakfast with the grandparents, we took 10 steps from the campground to the beach and went to look for the hooker sea lions that inhabit the area.

We didn’t have to walk too far before spotting a few lying around in the sun and playing in the water. A huge sea lion, probably the alpha male, was bossing around some younger males and making scary noises. Ron and the girls were a bit frightened and we made sure to keep our distance. Very quickly the kids started to play in the sand, while we watched the live performance courtesy of mother nature.

We walked back to the campground and prepared a hot lunch, forgoing our usual sandwich solution when we are on the road. After mulling about for a while we decided to take a scenic loop drive and visited some landmarks not too far away. We began with Mitai Falls. The girls fell asleep while driving there, and I stayed in the RV to watch over them, so I can’t tell you if the falls were nice or not. We drove to another set of waterfalls, Purakaunui, that were very impressive. This time we all walked over to see them.

We then drove to Jack’s Blowhole walk, an interesting phenomenon. We parked at a small beach and proceeded on a trail through private farmland where sheep were grazing on grassy cliffs overlooking the sea below. Sensational oceanfront living for livestock, no doubt they produce better wool and meat. After walking for about an hour, and after circumventing an overly eager pack of bull calves, we reached the blowhole. This is a hole in the ground, 55 deep and 100m wide, which is connected to ocean 200m away through a tunnel. The tide was low so there was no real water blowing. There was a local there who told us that he uses a dingy to travel the tunnel but that it is very scary when a swell comes in and you see the ceiling coming at you…

Shir walked almost all the way back to the RV, estimated at 2km. Way to go, Shir! We spent a pleasant evening at the campground although the kids are giving us a hard time when it comes to going to sleep.

Good Night!


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