The scenic route

There’s been so much beauty in the past few days as we’ve wended our way along The Southern Scenic Route in NZ.

After swinging by Dunedin Farmers Market on Saturday morning – nestled beside the quaint and stately train station – where we nibbled on delicious cheeses and licked ice creams made by the stall keeper’s grandfather, we hit the road for The Catlins.

Along the way, we made a brief stop at a seaside village called Brighton, where the hardy locals were splashing in the 12C surf in bikinis. Brrrrr … but I was secretly wishing I’d packed my wetsuit.

The Catlins are situated on the windswept south eastern tip of the South Island. We were staying at a dinky little motel with a balcony looking out at the sea and Nugget Point – our post-dinner destination.

Dinner itself was a mixed affair – my marinated prawns were delicious, but DD ordered the beef schnitzel with peppercorn sauce. It tasted just as bad as it looked (pic in gallery below).

Nugget Point was sublime – it’s the site of a lighthouse that looks out on the swirling turquoise sea, which is dotted with rocky outcrops populated by lazing seals.

The wind had dropped when we arrived, the sun was shining and it felt glorious to be alive as we gazed at the stunning view.

On the way back we stopped at a penguin hide to watch a lone and highly endangered yellow-eyed penguin preen itself on the shore.

The next morning we drove to the glorious Purakanui Falls, which star on the cover of many NZ guidebooks.

It was a very special spot and DD was delirious with excitement as he experimented with capturing the cascading beauty on his camera.

Next we arrived at Cathedral Caves, which are on a beach just off the Chasland Highway. We arrived for low tide, the only time of day they’re accessible. The water was still knee deep in parts, so I borrowed a pair of DD’s boardies.

The ocean was so icy cold that my legs ached, but it was worth it for the adventure – we waded in one entrance and wandered out the next as the waves gently crashed around us.

Then it was time to make the trek to Te Anau, our stopping place before today’s big moment and highlight of the trip – Milford Sound!

We had a bulk fun night in Te Anau, relaxing over delicious venison steaks in a local tavern, before heading across the road to the Black Dog bar for a glass of Wet Jacket rose and snapping a few sunset pics before bed.

No blog tomorrow as I’ll be out of mobile range, but I’ll bombard you with photos soon.

In the meantime, here are some highlights from the weekend:

 

 

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