We’re all settled into the Kiwi pace of life now and kick stared the day with a bit of skateboarding and a supermarket visit in town. Today we were heading to the Catlins to spend time with an amazing bunch of girls on Camillas hen do. The itinerary includes surfing, paddle boarding, penguins, dolphins, and a lot of drinking and eating.
We left Wanaka in Big Red early in the morning. Big Red (not the car above!) was already old when abandoned in Wanaka a couple of years ago by Claire Hughes. The old Subaru Legacy car from the 90’s was dug out from under the snow by Camilla and Tim who decided to give it a new lease of life. Big Red is a now and gives friends and visitors in NZ freedom to explore. However on this occasion we were scared it may choke attempting to get us all the way to the Catlins, so we headed to Queenstown to swap Big Red for Sexy Kate. Kate had just arrived from Australia and had a spanking new hire car.
We stopped off to sample some organic food in the Vudu Café in Queenstown and then dropped off some sample Faction Skis in a well-known ski shop in town of which we of course delivered in our Douchebags. We looked a little strange walking through town in the summer with ski bags!
Then the road trip began; From Queenstown the drive to the Catlins runs 258km and takes around 3 hours. However, we would be stopping off for photo opportunities along the way, so of course it would take longer. We drove along the Wakitipu Lake (Finger lake), which is New Zealands longest and third largest lake. It stretches a massive 80km with a maximum width of 5km. At 230m deep it is an immense body of water and is spectacular to look at. It is surrounded by mountains and is renowned for its scenic beauty. The well-known Remarkables mountain range lies along its southeastern edge. It did remind me of Loch Ness and apparently has doubled as it in a movie.
We passed farmland, mountains, rivers, sheep, sheep, more sheep… Finally we arrived at the Catlins where we stopped by a little church in the middle of nowhere and picked up some fish and chips from a road-side chip van. How convenient!
We made our way to the spectacular and rugged Curio Bay. The sound of the ocean in the open expanse of windswept coastal trees and ocean swells crashing over the rocks just outside the bay is impressive. Walking along the beach you feel so small and so far away from the modern world.
We stayed at a selection of the ‘Catlins Surf’ best holiday houses along the beach. But really we spent most of our time at Camilla’s ‘Dolphin View holiday house’ on the beach. It’s called Dolphin view as the Catlins are famous for the dolphins enjoying the surf and are regularly spotted in the bay.
It wasn’t too heavy a night as we had passed a long day. However I did manage to run a few timelapses and shoot the night sky. A perfect finish to a perfect day.