Tuesday, September 23, 2008

The Epic Catlins Day Trip

We rented a car and left at about 8 in the morning on 20 September to be at a horse trek at 10. Hannah drove. It turned out to take a lot less time to drive to Owaka than we thought, so we first went down to Surat Bay. We could see the beach in the distance and were walking along a river to get to it. However, we found out we wouldn't have enough time to make it there and turned back. But not before seeing some pretty scenery:

We then went to Te Taunga Farm for our horse trek. It turned out they only took cash but they were willing to let us get it afterwards. We were first matched up with our horses. I was on a horse named Vachi, a 15.3hh TB/Clydesdale cross mare.

We then walked out into their fields. We went up a big hill, with some magnificent views along the way. Hannah and I got to split off from the others a couple of times to canter.
rollings hills
sheep and lambs

view of Cannibal Bay and Surat Bay
Here you can see Cannibal Bay and Surat Bay.

Here's everyone on horseback (except you can't really see Amy that well).

After the horseback ride, some of us had to go into town to use an ATM. Owaka is really tiny and we couldn't actually find a bank. Instead, we bought stuff at the supermarket and got cash out. We went back and paid and then headed out for Cathedral Caves. We got there, only to find them closed due to high seas. So we went on to the next destination, which was McLean Falls. It was down a long unsealed road in the middle of a farm. We walked down a Jurassic-park like path covered in ferns to get to a little waterfall.

"are we in Jurassic Park?"
Jurassic Park?

small waterfall

We said, ooh, a waterfall! Then noticed the path went up. We thought, oh, maybe to get a better view? And you're damned right, there was a better view.

McLean Falls

We went out on the actual waterfall, and it was fun.

After that, we worked our way back towards Nugget Point. First we did a 5 minute walk at Lake Wilkie. We then went to Purakaunui Falls, the more well-known but less impressive Catlins waterfall (okay, there are lots of Catlins waterfalls). After that we stopped at Tunnel Hill, an old hand-carved railroad tunnel. We had forgotten torches, but when presented with this tunnel, we thought, let's walk through it! At first I was keen on it, but about 2 meters in I realised it was going to be really terrifying. We went through anyway, using camera flashes to light the way. It was really dark, and I was terrified. We made it out and I was not sure I could walk back through - but I had to, there was nowhere to go on the other side. And so, that fear was not at all conquered, but I got some spooky as pictures.

We then went to Kaka Point and sat in a cafe with a whole bunch of bikers and had coffee/hot chocolate. Then went over to Nugget Point just in time for the sunset. It was so beautiful - Amy proposed to me, jokingly. We went to nearby Roaring Bay to look for penguins, and sure enough they were right there on the beach!

We made our way back to Dunedin and returned the rental car, and failed at finding somewhere to eat. It was a good day!


Rachel said...

About that night: "This evening I saw a guy with the best costume I have ever seen ever. He was dressed up as the Joker dressed up as a nurse from Dark Knight. I know you haven't seen it, but maybe you will still enjoy how fantastic it was. It was contemporary and topical, and also just really well done."

Rachel said...

And a cooking triumph: "I was just really inventive with food. i cooked the rest of my pasta (not a lot) and used the rest of my creamy sauce. But the sauce was not nearly enough for the pasta. So, I added a bit of butter and the end of a block of cheese (so a good amount but not a ton) and made it into mac and cheese. And it turned out to be some of the best mac n cheese of my life! I'm real impressed with myself."