May 28

This morning Zhoel and I headed to the Catlins. He had wanted to take me here for months. Caitlin in the Catlins.

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I had been anxious to see more coastline and to hear the dawn chorus (when the birds are deafening at daybreak).

The most major fact that I have come to recognize during my time on South Island is that everything is so massive that it cannot be captured on camera. To appreciate the landscapes, cliffs, islands, and mountains, in person is an entirely different experience than seeing the photos. When you look at the pictures it will seem that, although large, many of the sights are uninspiring. It is the immediacy, sensory overload, and humbling strength of nature that combine to form the experience. I cannot do them justice with my words or my camera, although I will try.

Our major stops for the day were Kaka Point, Nugget Point and Jack’s Blowhole. Kaka Point is an overlook where you can appreciate the sea views. Unfortunately, the weather left something to be desired and we only stopped briefly due to the rain.

Nugget Point features a lighthouse that overlooks rock masses in the sea. These resemble gold nuggets, giving the area its name. The lighthouse itself is similar to the one at Moeraki, small and unremarkable (to be fair, it was built in 1869 and it was probably pretty neat then). The views of the sheer cliffs behind the outcropping and the huge rocks in the sea were much more captivating. There were seals playing on the rocks, but we were at such a height that we could barely see them.

Jack’s Blowhole is a large crevice in farmland that is fed by an underground cave. With the waves and tidal changes the water comes charging in and creates a huge spray and a thundering crash. I suppose I shouldn’t dissuade potential visitors by saying that it is a hike in, that’s uphill both ways. I would definitely suggest timing the visit for high tide so as to see the most impressive results; we did not time our visit correctly, but it was still pretty amazing.

We spent the night at a DOC site, Purakaunui Beach, known for its sea lion inhabitants.

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