Today we drove south out of Queenstown, leaving the snow-slapped mountains on a jaunty rolldown to Catlins Forrest Park and the rugged southern coast.
We stopped in the tiny location of Lumsden for a coffee. Not much of note here except for a Route 6 cafe (done up in the style of US route 66) and a self-serve laundromat right on the side of the road. Now that is something useful.
Kelly has this longstanding thing about visiting lighthouses, and combined with a local tip that there was a resident Sea Lion who would literally come up out of the surf and pose with you for a selfie, and we were off down a remote c-road to check out Waipapa Point for lunch.
The point was bitterly cold and wild and windswept (which come to think of it would be a prerequsite for locating a lighthouse there wouldnt it?…duh) and we snapped a few hurried pics of the neat wooden structure before splitting up, I ran like a frilly pillow back to the warmpth of Newt to make pumpkin soup for lunch, and Kelly went searching for sealion selfies. She was gone a considerable time and returned with a fuzzy somewhat dubious picture of a distant flipper in the surf. Or was that a lump of seawead?
The highlight of the day was a short 40min return hike up to see the McLeane waterfalls, where the Tautuku river drops over a series of stone terraces. The approach trail wound through rich rainforrest of Rimu, Kamahi, and stands of olearia and podocarp. Tree trunks green with mosses and lichen and other opportunistic plant life.
As I walked up to the waterfall propper I stumbled across a young couple doing some kind of weird dance on a large flat stone. As soon as they saw me they stopped and there was this akward, sheepish moment of silence before they walked back past me down the track. I dunno, perhaps some celtic pagan spirit dance, or perhaps they were just really happy to be at the waterfall.
Tonight we are staying in a pretty little campsite at Tahakopa Bay. Eight bucks each for the night. No power, but a toilet and kitchen facilities. The weather remains overcast, cold and frequently raining.
Tomorrow the prediction is for totally sun. Onwards.
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