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Southern Scenic drive 1st half, Manapouri – Porpoise Bay

NEW ZEALAND | Wednesday, 31 October 2007 | Views [883] | Comments [1]

Firstly, SORRY to our family & friends who have been texting etc' for the delay in putting another story up, we are both ok but have been in some 'strange' places; no phones, Solar or Hydro power that sort of thing. Please read the new stories and you will hopefully understand why we were delayed. Em' and Andy. 

After the Freestone experience, unfortunately we had to head off on our trip; unfortunately because Jimmy made this place somewhere to stay and relax. Heading out of Manapouri we decided to take the ‘scenic’ route, mostly farmland so not that scenic after the Sounds and Mountains; but it did have its charms. The farmland was full of Sheep and Lambs at various stages of life, from the larger Lambs with doc’d tails down to the very new born; some just born and still being cleaned by mum. Seeing the very newborn Lambs is worth a stop and look, no getting out of car; turn everything off and just look from a very long distance. We even seen a small Lamb with another Lamb skin ‘coat’, a technique used to ‘foster’ an orphaned Lamb to a new mother who has lost the Lamb which the skin belonged too; this little thing was still with wobbly legs but the ‘mum’ seemed to be looking out for her ‘newborn’. There’s not much to see along this section really, farmland and rolling hills. We did call into Dean Forest to have a look at the huge 1000 year trees, these trees are up to 2.5 mtr’s dia and are good to go and see; BUT worth the ½ hr’ drive over gravel track and hills to get there not really. Next stop for us was Monkey Island, no idea why Monkey Island? No Monkeys and not really an island, but fun getting there and a welcome break. Then came Cosy Nook, this was or rather is a very strange place. So small, only 10 – 12 houses or huts but all lived in at some point; most are weekend retreats but why? Em’ loved it, sheep walking anywhere they wanted at their own pace; sleeping under the houses and around this small ‘town’. Further along the ‘scenic route’ we entered Riverton, at last Em’ has seen surf; not big 2-3 ft but lovely and clean. We thought this a good place to grab a bite to eat and watch the surfing, Fish and Chips wrapped in newspaper overlooking the 3 surfers get some lovely waves made Em’ get withdraw symptoms for her Surfboard at home in the UK. Heading on our way into Invercargill, Em’ had hers eyes glued to the town shops to spot a Surf shop; NOTHING not anything around. We couldn’t understand it, Surfable beaches but no Surf shops. When we arrived at our hostel, we asked about Surfboards or Surf shops; the answer made Em’s jaw hit the floor ‘ Nothing here mate, only one closed 6 months ago; closest place Dunedin’ You can only imagine Em’s disappointment, and mine as they had not even heard of Kite buggying; let alone know where to buy one. Invercargill has a poor reputation with backpackers over here, but Em and I enjoyed it. A great museum / Art gallery free to enter; even has a Retile house with NZ rarest Reptile. They look like a Lizard, but apparently they are an entirely different species and are not Lizards at all. Then to ‘rub salt in the wounds’ we found our way to Oreti beach just 10km from Invercargill, clean beach break surf and at least 10km long hard packed sand; just begging to be Kite buggied. A strange thing here in New Zealand, your allowed to drive onto and around the beach; they are classed as highways and have a speed limit of 30 kph. Andy was ‘gutted’ to say the least, the thought of racing a car on the beach and possibly getting speeding ticket for buggying made him smile. After this ‘insult’ by Invercargill we continued along the wildlife coast of the south, stopping into Waipapa Point in the hope some Sea lions maybe taking a break on the beach; we were in luck. We walked a short way along the beach and we came across a large male protecting ‘his’ female from a couple of other smaller males, no fighting just loud grunts and chest flashing to intimidate the smaller males; it worked on the males as well as us. Seeing these males up close you understand all the warning signs, stay at least 10mtr’s away and do not go between them and the see; they see it as a threat and are dangerous if they think they are cornered. On the walk back to the car, one of the smaller males just ‘popped’ out of the surf to our left; scaring the living daylights out of us both. He just sat there with no interest in us at all, until that was; a couple got a little too close and he reared up and snorted at them. The couple parted, he went one way and she the other. The Sea lion was not happy with them and started his way down the beach towards the women, she was walking a little faster by now with this male slowly heading her way. She backed away to the dunes and the male Sea lion just gave her a look and snort and passed on by heading our way, he must have sensed we were not a threat and even stopped in front of us for a great close photo; almost like he was posing and saying thanks for not hassling him like the others. We headed out down the coast again too Slope Point, the most southern point on main land New Zealand; not a lot to see just 1000’s of miles of ocean in front of you. We then headed off for a couple of nights in Porpoise Bay to stay at The Curio Bay Backpackers hostel, the hostel split into two building; doubles and dorm buildings. The Doubles building had not yet received it’s planned updating as it was being sold, but never mind that; yet again we had landed a stunning view right on the beach front. Em got to try her Surf board that we found in a second-hand shop in Invercargill, sad to say it was just too short and of no use to her; BUT she enjoyed every second of finally getting into the freezing ocean. She came back to the Hostel after a massive 20 mtr’ walk from the ocean (it really was that close) full of smiles, and steaming from the body heat that her 5.3mm wetsuit held in; the board may be too small but at least she had a couple of hours of pure fun. That evening the phone rang, it was the owners informing us that the Yellow eyed Penguins were landing at Curio Bay, so off we went in the van on a rain filled evening to watch them potter around the rocks (fossil trees, but more about that later) cute little things. At first only one out and calling so loud for such a small thing, then its mate landed on the shore and hopped in; watching every movement we made. We had to back off a long way as even though we were at least 50 mtr’s away, you could see they didn’t like it; we all retreated to at least 100 mtr’s. Then a couple more came out, about 6 – 8 in total hopping around; all calling loudly for their mates. Fun to watch, but the rain and the thought of a log fire made us go home after a good hour watching these lovely little things. The next day we awoke to a beautiful day, just very cold and windy; a day to wrap up warm and take a walk around the bay. We also went to see the amazing Fossilised forest, this is a whole bay (Curio bay) that is full; or is a Forest that has ‘Fossilised’ into a rock formation over millions of years. You can actually walk and stand on these rocks and it’s not until you take a look and take in your surroundings that you can clearly see it. When you look closely at the rocks you can see the trunks and how they have laid, all the rings in the stumps and even the larger pebbles are pieces of tree with grain and rings. I hope you can see it on the photos, but it’s a place of wonder. We went to a local Café and the gent informed us that people actual go there and break off the rocks to take home, WHY? You can’t even get out of the country with any organic materials etc’ He told us that customs call him to collect, he then returns the pieces to the bay while they receive a very large fine.

Tags: On the Road




Having a good read,you have made up for lost time, this was really exciting to read, all the different things and places you have seen, glad to her Emma got on the surf i thought you might be missing that, hope when it gets a bit warmer over there you will make up for lost time.
Love the chocolate van(i want one)its cute,all of our transport vans have lost that fabulous look.
Love and kisses, Mum,John,Jess,Ben.

  Mum Nov 1, 2007 3:19 AM

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