In the morning we were picked up by Bottombus. Our driver was Chris.
We had a small bus and a small group of about eight people. Chris was driving
fast, so it didn't take us long to arrived at Nugget Point. The weather
was great, sunshine and blue skies. At Nugget Point, where we enjoyed a
nice view, Chris brought some cups, hot water, tea bags, coffee and some
cookies and we all enjoyed the view while having a cup of tea or coffee.
It was a great place to hang out and do that! As we made our way along
the coast towards Invercargill we stopped at several places. One nameless
beach in Surat Bay, where we went through private farmland, was a famous
spot for sea lions and we saw a couple of them laying on the beach. They
didn't care about us, so we could went right up to them and saw them very
close. In Owaka we stopped for lunch at a small cafe. Another spot was
beautiful Tautuku Bay. We stopped at an outlook and everybody wished they
were down on that wonderful beach. Back in the bus, Chris asked if we want
to take a walk along the beach and everybody was keen on going! Chris dropped
us off at a nature walk. We had to walk through the forest for 5 to 10
Minutes to get to the beach. On the beach I took my shoes off and walked
into the water. It was freezing cold but very nice. The sand was soft,
fine and golden - wonderful. We went to the other end of the beach where
Chris picked us up and we got back into the bus. The best spot to go in
the Catlins was Porpoise Bay, which is very close to Curio Bay. In Porpoise
Bay there are Hectors Dolphins surfing in the waves and when you go swimming
there (for free, or you can hire a wetsuit for 5NZ$) the Dolphins may come
to you to check you out -- and some of them came! They came with the waves.
It's exhilarating when they surf in the waves coming directly towards you
Some of them were swiming very close to us, just one or two meters
away. At one time I saw a dolphin jumping away from us "on" the water,
flapping with it's flippers to jump over the waves - it looks really funny.
A truly great experience.
After that we had another cup of tea, which was very nice after swimming
in the cold water. From there it was just a minute's drive to Curio Bay
(which was not really worth the drive.) First, we had a look from above
and saw a Yellow Eyed Penguin sitting on the rock face. Second, we went
down the stairs to explore the petrified forest. Chris showed us some good
examples of petrified trees but he watched to make sure nobody went too
close to that penguin.
That was it, thats the Catlins Coast - a great area, and we had a great
We just stopped in Invercargill to pick up some people and we ended
up in Riverton, a little fishing village. There is the largest Paua shell
in the world but I'm not sure if it is a real shell or just man-made. The
beach in Riverton is not bad either, we had a little walk there in the
evening. Most people from the Bottombus stayed the night in "The Globe".
We were the only two people who stayed in the Rock. That is definitely
a good place to stay! Our Room was so nice and the showers are great, as
well as the kitchen. Also, the staff is very friendly and helpful and they
organised this great Stewart Island Trip for us - another highlight of
our tour ...