Visited April 2012
Day 7: Caitlins
Having visited the majority of the attractions in South Island, we were at a loss on what to do for the last day. As much as we would have loved to visit Dunedin, not having our own transport was difficult on our part. And even though I’d prefer to join Wanaka’s Ridgeline Adventures Nature Tours, the price was a little too steep for us being based in Queenstown.
Thankfully, my sister managed to discover RD Tours, and we chose to visit the Catlins on our last day. Picking us up from our hotel, our host, Charles, was a great guide. Not to mention that the food his wife made personally for tea was extremely delicious!
With a long trip down south, our first stop was Nugget Bay, in which I loved how the lone white lighthouse stands out against the lovely blue skies. And although it was autumn, the sun was pretty warm, so much so that coats and warm jackets were not necessary.
After taking many pictures at Nugget Point, we moved on to Cannibal Bay, where we came across many sea lions. We were told however, not to get too close to them as we admired them from afar while the guide set up another wonderful spread for our lunch picnic. Our last seaside/beach stop was Surat Bay, where we stopped atop a hill to enjoy the bird’s eye view of the beach.
The subsequent stops were mainly land-based, as we began bush walking at Lake Wilkie, a regenerating forest. Nestled away in the Tautuku Forest, it is populated by a tiny frog called “The Whistling Frog”. No whistling was heard when I was there though.
Our last stop for the day was Purakanui Falls, a lovely cascading waterfall. Surrounded by towering beech trees, the 10 minute walk to the falls was a nice relaxing experience.
Thereafter, it was a long 3-hour journey back towards Queenstown, which was a little overwhelming for my family given that we had a long journey back from Milford Sound just the day before. Hence, for those who are keen on the Caitlins as well, it will be good to spread out the two trips, such that you’ll get a day’s break from long car rides.