The Catlins coast

As soon as breakfast was over we had to go, bread in hand, to feed the sheep. After that we decided not to do the short walk to Slope Point, the most southerly point on the island. Our Spanish friend told us it was just that, the most southerly point on the island, with nothing much more than a signpost. No great views, seals or anything. Though apparently the walk is through some nice farmland. I used to be really into these sorts of things, but I am slowly weaning myself off pointless landmarks. I remember Esther being most unimpressed when we all went to the triple point (where three countries meet) at Roraima. Yes, it's fun to visit Brazil, Guyana and Venezuela in 3 steps, but not worth a 4-hour trek.

So we got in the camper and went to Porpoise Bay. Again we were unlucky with the animals but lucky with the weather. We didn't spot any dolphins or sea lions, and the penguins only come back from fishing in the evening, but the views of the bay are lovely. Right next door is Curio bay, where we saw a petrified forest just being covered by the rising tide (not that impressive really, but worth the 5 minute detour).

Stopped at the holiday camp on the way to the McLean Falls to use their dump station. 10 bucks, ouch! Oh well, it makes you appreciate all the times you do it for free. The falls are a short walk through another fairytale forest (I never tire of them) and are definitely worth the hike. Lucas and Aisha both walked the whole thing on their own, it's amazing what walking right after lunch can do to them. They were so full of energy they forgot the promise of sweets until we were back at the camper.

We had to miss out on the Cathedral Caves. They are only visitable at low tide, which today is too late. We could get up tomorrow morning at 7am, but somehow I suspect we will give them a miss. We are not far, at a DOC campsite at Papatowai. We actually have to go a few kilometres back tomorrow anyway, to visit Tautuku bay (which we had skipped as it was getting late). But that will probably be after messing around the beach here: we went to the beach next to the campsite when we arrived in the evening and the kids had such a great time (they got in a fine mess with the sand) we promised we would return with towels and bucket and spade when it was a bit warmer. I think I will visit it a bit before, at daybreak, for a spot of early morning photography.

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